How Much Should I Walk For Weight Loss? Every Step Counts

How Much Should I Walk For Weight Loss? Every Step Counts

If you’re looking to start your weight loss journey, or you’re about to enter a shredding cycle, and you shiver at the thought of running, then you may want to consider walking.


Walking is an underrated form of cardio that comes with many health benefits including weight loss, increased endurance, and improved cardiovascular and mental health.


Once you reach your weight loss goals, walking can help maintain your weight and the fitness level you’ve reached.


So how much should I walk for weight loss? We’ll unpack this and more in our article.

How effective is walking for weight loss?

If you’ve ever thought, ‘Should I walk for weight loss?’, the answer is yes.


Walking can be an effective weight loss tool, and the best part about it is that all you need is comfortable clothing, supportive shoes, a safe place to walk, and a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated.


But like many forms of exercise, it’s more so about how you do it rather than what you’re doing.


Walking or even running at a steady pace isn’t going to leverage the results you’re looking for.


What will encourage weight loss when you’re walking is a diverse workout session; one that gets your heart rate fluctuating between high and low.


Below are a few ways to make the most of your walk to maximise weight loss.

Pace and inclination

When you walk for weight loss, you should consider your pace and inclination. A good rule of thumb is to change up your pace and inclination every ten minutes or so.


If you’re walking on a treadmill, leverage the different functions to create a walking workout that elevates and lowers your heart rate. You can either select a pre-designed workout session, or create your own as you go.


If you prefer to walk on the footpath or surrounded by nature (which your mental health will thank you for), then pick a route that includes hills too, rather than just flat terrain.

Focus on form

A slower walk with better form and posture will garner better long term results than a brisk walk with poor form.


When you’re walking for weight loss, aim to lift your head so your gaze is focused on the road ahead, and keep your abdomen and glutes tight and activated.


Once you get the hang of the correct form, you may even find your pace increases.

Add some weights

How much you should walk for weight loss will be determined by the intensity of your walks.


If you feel like your walks are getting easier, or you’re afraid your circuit of choice doesn’t provide enough inclination to challenge you, then you should consider adding some weights to your workout rather than extending the length of your walk.


You can utilise equipment like a weighted vest and ankle strap weights, or something a little more casual like free weights or even just a heavy drink bottle in each hand.


Whichever way you choose to add additional weights to your walk, make sure you’re still maintaining your form and posture. This will help avoid any unnecessary strain or injury.

Include resistance training

A fun way to mix up your routine when you’re walking for weight loss is to include some resistance training. This can help achieve that fluctuating heart rate that is the key to a successful workout.


Incorporating exercises like squats, lunges, pull ups and push ups help add some intensity and challenge to your workout, and really ramp up the heat.


If you’re walking in a park, challenge yourself to a set of tricep dips each time you pass a vacant park bench.

Achieve a calorie deficit

It’s important to note that walking for weight loss will only be successful if you take a holistic approach.


As you walk for weight loss, you should also be eating for weight loss too. That means eating a balanced diet while including a calorie deficit.


You may also find it useful to take supplements like Creatine, which will help you make the most of your workouts and ensure you have a balanced intake of nutrients like amino acids.


Why is walking good for weight loss?

Walking is an underrated form of exercise that is useful for a number of reasons, including weight loss.


Below we’ll unpack four reasons why walking is good for weight loss and overall health, and hopefully you too will consider walking when you’re planning your next workout routine.

Walking burns calories

The number one reason why you should walk for weight loss is that it burns calories, just like other forms of cardio do.


Burning calories is an essential component of weight loss, as long as it’s combined with eating a balanced diet in a caloric deficit. When you burn more calories than you consume, you begin to lose weight.


Walking can help you shred through calories and lead to weight loss. As it’s not as intense as other forms of exercise, it often means you can walk for longer without any fear of overdoing it or causing strain or injury on your body.


You’ll find you can burn just as many calories with a one hour walk as you can in a 20 minute jog. So it’s a useful exercise to do if you’re still building your stamina.

Walking improves endurance

Which leads us to endurance. You should walk for weight loss because it helps build up your endurance and stamina.


Regular walking that gets your heart rate up and pumping can improve your cardiovascular health, leading to lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels.


It can also help build your fitness level, increasing your endurance and tolerance while also improving your posture and supporting your muscle health.


This makes walking a powerful tool to use in conjunction with other exercises like weight lifting.

Walking supports mental health

Another reason you should walk for weight loss is for the benefits it has on mental health.


Mindset is everything. It not only dictates how your day goes, but can be the difference between staying committed to our fitness goals or avoiding the gym on hard days.


If you tend to turn to food when you’re feeling low or anxious, you may be interested to find that regular walks can help boost your mood and alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression, even if it’s just a 12 minute walk.


While walking may not curb your sweet tooth completely, it can help you redirect your behaviour from overeating, and provide some much needed mental relief when you feel challenged or overwhelmed.


Walking has also been found to boost self-confidence, which may make sticking to your fitness and weight loss goals that little bit easier.

And, if you experience overthinking, then you may want to consider taking your walks in nature, as it’s found to significantly decrease rumination.


How much should I walk a day for weight loss?

When it comes to how much you should walk for weight loss, you should aim to walk a minimum of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week to see weight loss results.


A 2016 study found that 10,000 steps across one day will lead to weight loss in people who are overweight. That rounds out to be 8 kms a day.


It’s important to note that you don’t need to walk 10,000 steps in one go to see weight loss results, but over the course of 24 hours.

A good way to reach 10,000 steps is by modifying your daily habits. Opt for stairs over escalators or elevators, break up your working day with 10 minute walks, and if you know you have to wait for an appointment, take a walk around the block rather than sitting in the waiting room.

Wearable technology, like a pedometer, can be helpful in tracking your step count for the day, and can give you an estimate of how many steps you should aim for on a treadmill to cross over into the 10,000 step mark.

Is bike riding or walking better for weight loss?

If you’re worried about how much you should walk for weight loss, and are wondering if bike riding would be the better option, there are a few things you should consider.

On face value, bike riding burns more calories than walking does, so it’s easy to see how bike riding can be more effective when it comes to weight loss.

But if your long term goal is to lose weight healthily, and you aren’t a fan of bike riding, then you can still achieve your weight loss goals through walking.

As we’ve previously established, it’s not just about what you do, or how you do it. It all comes down to how you’re walking.


If you’re keeping your walks versatile and including plenty of high intensity moments by varying your pace and inclination, then walking can be just as effective for weight loss as bike riding at a low or consistent pace.


Of course, you will have to walk for a longer period of time to burn the same amount of calories as bike riding, but because walking is less impactful on your body, you’ll find it easier to go that extra mile.


And, if you’re susceptible to injuries or you’re still healing from a knee or ankle injury, then you should consider walking over bike riding.


While bike riding is relatively low impact when performed correctly, it can be easy to lose your form and overwork your joints, causing additional strain and pain in the process.

Is walking better than running for weight loss?

Similarly, if you’re worried about how much you should walk for weight loss when compared to running, you’ll be surprised by what you discover.


While the two forms of cardio shouldn’t really be compared as they’re quite different, rest assured that walking can be just as effective in weight loss as running.

On average, running uses more energy, greater force and more muscle recruitment. But if you aren’t a fan of cardio or you're new on your fitness journey, it can be hard to maintain your stamina and run for a long period of time.

You’ll find that you can burn more calories from a one hour walk (you’ll roughly burn 210-360 calories) than you can on a 20 minute run that leaves you gasping for air (you’ll roughly burn 100-150 calories).

And a 2013 study found that you can achieve the same health benefits from moderate walking as you can from vigorous-intensity running, which shows harder doesn’t always mean better.

People who choose running as their method of weight loss may also experience a plateau. As they often run the same distance at the same pace and intensity, they reach a point where they no longer see results.

Therefore, if running doesn’t strike any form of inspiration and enjoyment in you, and you’re just doing it because you feel like it’s the only way to get lean, then you’re better off finding a form of cardio you do enjoy, like walking.

And, if you do have any mobility issues, like knee, back or ankle issues, or you suffer from obesity, then walking is the recommended form of exercise.

The take away

In summary, if you hate the idea of running and you don’t intend on joining a spin class anytime soon, walking is an equally powerful form of exercise for weight loss.

Not only does it improve your cardiovascular system, posture and mental health, but it also helps increase your endurance and stamina.

So, how much should you walk for weight loss? You should aim for 10,000 steps a day. This can be broken up into daily tasks, like walking to work, alongside a minimum of 30 minutes on the treadmill or nature track


Remember, the key is in how you walk. Make sure to add some versatility to your walks by changing the pace and inclination, and challenge yourself by adding body weights or including resistance training intervals into your workout.

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