Can you lose weight simply by walking? You absolutely can. I’m going to show you why walking is the ultimate weight loss exercise and how you can incorporate it into your own life to lose an extra 30lbs this year.
Can You Lose Weight Walking?
Of course you can. Anything that burns calories has the potential to aid in your weight loss so long as you maintain an energy deficit.
If you eat over your maintenance calories while walking you are going to gain weight. If you eat at your maintenance levels while walking you will maintain your weight. And if you eat in a calorie deficit you will lose weight walking. It’s as simple as that.
Why is Walking Good For Weight Loss?
I believe that walking is the best exercise to lose weight for the general public. Why? Because just about anyone can do it. That is an important fact. There might be other exercises that are more effective at burning fat, but if you can’t do it, it really doesn’t matter. Rule #1 for choosing an effective weight loss exercise is you need to be able to do it.
I coach a lot of clients to their weight loss goals and not everyone can strength train. Many people have injuries or mobility issues that prevent them from strength training. While it’s always a priority to eventually get these people lifting weights (or their body weight), in the interim many of them start off doing nothing but walking. And you know what? They lose weight just fine.
The reason is obvious – walking burns calories, and quite a few if you do it long enough and with enough frequency. I personally walk for 45 min to an hour every single morning. It’s how I start my day. I still strength train to build and maintain lean body mass, but walking is what gets me going in the morning.
Walking is a form of meditation. It’s a good way to clear your mind and de-stress. It allows you to eat more food each day, which leads to decreased hunger and cravings, increased nutrient ingestion, and increased satisfaction from your diet. All of these things improve adherence to your weight loss program, which is key to long-term success.
And because of its low-intensity nature, walking allows you to get in more physical activity without worrying about overtraining. You can sandwich it between strength training days without sacrificing recovery. Not everyone can strength train 3-4 days/week while doing sprint workouts on their “days off”. That’s a recipe for physical and mental burnout. That won’t happen with walking.
How Many Calories Do YOU Burn Walking?
You might be wondering how many calories you burn walking. Well, let me help you out with that question. Enter in your weight below and click ‘calculate’ to find out.
A Simple 8-Week Walking Program
So what’s the best way to get started walking? Many people will have no issues getting outside (or on a treadmill if you must) and walking for 45 minutes each day right from the start. These people are already physically active and walking will simply be a way for them to move their bodies more.
But many people also come from a sedentary lifestyle where they do zero form of dedicated exercise. For these people a structured program that tapers their activity levels will help them improve their adherence and give them a better chance at creating a daily exercise habit that will stick.
Going from doing nothing to walking for 60 minutes each day, even if you think you can physically do it, can result in mental burnout due to the sudden change in your lifestyle. Change isn’t easy and is best approached in a gradual manner.
Below is a very simple 8-week walking program. The #1 goal of it is to establish a daily walking practice. We’ll do this by starting off with only 10 minutes of walking per day. The walking isn’t the hardest part these first weeks – it’s actually getting outside and doing it.
That means scheduling time into your daily schedule to get it done. It means getting up a little earlier or making time after dinner for exercise. Once the habit of getting outside and doing it is established you can start extending the time and increasing the speed of your walking.
Week 1: 10 min/day @ 2 mph
Week 2: 20 min/day @ 2 mph
Week 3: 30 min/day @ 2 – 2.5 mph
Week 4: 40 min/day @ 2 – 2.5 mph
Week 5: 45 min/day @ 2.5 – 3 mph
Week 6: 50 min/day @ 2.5 – 3 mph
Week 7: 55 min/day @ 3 mph
Week 8: 60 min/day @ 3 mph +
If you can work your way up to 60 minutes of walking 6-7 days/week at a pace of 3 mph you will put yourself into a great position for losing up to 30 lbs or more this year without any changes to your diet. Not a bad deal at all if you ask me.