There are many benefits of walking, it is widely accepted to have a variety of overall health and mental health benefits however it is still sometimes not seen by some as a serious exercise that can help with weight loss goals.
In the article below, we’re going to walk you through why walking can help you reach your weight loss goal, show you the best way to increase weight loss and how you can calculate calories burnt.
Does walking help to lose weight?
Walking is a great way to start getting into shape and increase your activity level and the best thing, it can fit right into your routine so you can use walking daily to lose weight. You don’t need any special skills or fancy gear, just grab some comfy trainers, head outside and put one foot in front of the other.
As a broad generalisation, people lose weight by burning more calories than they eat. By increasing your level of physical activity, such as starting a regular walking routine, you’ll burn more calories than usual. If the increase in your calorie burn takes you into a calorific deficit, then over time it is likely that you begin to lose weight. But weight loss isn’t just about burning calories. Regular, consistent exercise like walking can also boost your metabolism, making it easier to maintain your weight in the long run. The key here is consistency. Stick to a regular walking routine, and over time, you’ll start to see results.
If you’re over your target body weight and you’re looking for activities to aid weight loss, then a brisk pace walk might be the best introductory exercise to start slowly with, as you’re not putting too much load on your joints.
Is losing weight by walking possible?
It’s entirely feasible to reduce weight by walking. Any activity that helps you burn calories and that you can maintain for long periods is likely to aid your weight loss. A study from Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise compared the changes in Body Mass Index (BMI) between runners and walkers who maintained their activity for six years. Even though the drop in BMI was greater for runners, the walkers still had significant benefits. And in the research paper The Role of Physical Activity for Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance it was suggested that consistency of activity (at least 150 mins per week) more than intensity was the biggest contributor to weight loss and weight control over the long term. So the key to long-term weight loss from walking is consistency and keeping a regular habit. If you feel you’re going to struggle to keep your walking habit consistent, consider joining a walking group to help keep you motivated.
How many calories does walking burn?
Going for a daily walk can burn a surprising amount of calories, which we look into in more detail in our article “How many calories does walking burn?“. The amount of calories that a person burns from walking depends very much on their walking pace, and also their weight. But it is estimated that the average UK male would burn around 185 calories by walking 3km on a flat surface, at an average pace of 5km/hour. If you built up a regular exercise habit and walked every day, in this example, there would be approximately 1300 calories burned in a week.
One of the easiest ways to see calories burnt is to use a fitness tracker or walking app to help understand how far you have walked each day, it will normally show you the figures in steps, miles or kilometers. The extra benefit of an activity tracker app means it will calculate estimated calories burnt during your walks, this is a great way to see what the difference is when doing a short walk, a long walk and walking at a moderate pace.
Understanding your walking speed
The pace you walk can influence your weight loss journey, including calorie burn and overall fitness levels. We have created the table below which has an overview of various walking paces, measured in both miles per hour and kilometers per hour. These ranges are a general guideline and can vary based on individual fitness levels and stride lengths.
|Walking Pace||Speed (miles/hour)||Speed (km/hour)|
|Easy Pace||2 – 2.5||3.2 – 4.0|
|Moderate Pace||2.5 – 3.5||4.0 – 5.6|
|Brisk Pace||3.5 – 4.5||5.6 – 7.2|
|Very Brisk Pace||4.5 – 5.5||7.2 – 8.9|
|Power Walking||5.5 – 6||8.9 – 9.7|
Walking Weight loss chart
To help your weight loss journey we have put together a chart to help explain how many calories you might burn and how many pounds you might lose from walking common distances. We have included steps and miles in the table below for easy reference. If you would like an even easier way to understand key stats you can use our Calories Burned Walking Calculator.
|Steps Taken||Distance Walked (miles)||Calories Burned||Weight Lost (pounds)|
The table below looks at things spread out over a week for common distances like 5000 steps and 10000 steps. e.g. if you do 10000 steps per day, you would achieve 70000 steps a week. This is a great calculation to make so you can see clearly how to reach your goal by sticking to a good daily routine.
|Steps Taken Per Day||Steps Taken Per Week||Distance Walked Per Week (miles)||Calories Burned Per Week||Weight Lost Per Week (pounds)|
How do I increase the amount of weight I lose from walking?
If you want to achieve your weight loss goals faster from walking, you need to burn more calories. One way to increase the amount of calories you burn from walking is to increase your walking pace. You can try and walk faster on your walk by matching your pace to the beat of a fast song. An alternative to ‘brisk walking’ is to try and vary your walking speeds. A study from Ohio State University suggested that varying the pace at which you walk could burn up to 20 percent more calories than walking at a consistent pace. Another way you can increase calorie burn from walking is to try more challenging routes, such as walking uphill. It’s suggested that for every 1% incline, there’s an increase of about 12% in the number of calories burned.
Diet is as important as your exercise
If you’re going to be successful in losing weight by walking, it’s important to remember that a balanced diet is just as important as your exercise. Alongside your regular brisk walk, it’s encouraged that you eat a healthy diet and watch your calorie intake. A calorifc deficit of about 500 calories each day is a good guideline for healthy weight loss, which should put the average person on track to lose around 1 pound every week.
Consider resistance training alongside walking
Another way to help you lose weight is to incorporate resistance training/strength training into your exercise routine. This is probably worth exploring in an article of its own, but as a general principle, strength training builds muscle – and muscle burns calories. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’re likely to burn on an everyday basis.
Look at increasing your Non-Exercise Activity
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is a catchall phrase for all of the activities we perform every day that burn calories but are not technically considered “exercise.” Housework, gardening, and simple fidgeting are examples of such tasks. It has been suggested that non-exercise activity thermogenesis may make a significant contribution to overall daily energy expenditure. To gain from NEAT, walk more frequently during the day – park your car further away, get off a bus stop early, and always use the stairs.
Regular walking, combined with a healthy diet and a calorific deficit of 500 calories each day will help you lose weight. It’s important to remember that consistency is key when it comes to achieving long-term success and you may be able to burn more calories by walking faster, or varying your pace as you walk. Combining your walking with resistance training, or trying to increase your NEAT can increase the amount of weight you lose.
Does walking slim your waist?
You can use walking to lose belly fat, the main thing you need to aim for is being in a calorie deficit. That means you are consuming fewer calories than you burn. Walking every day can help achieve this and therefore help you to lose weight around your waist.
How much weight will I lose if I walk 1 hour a day?
The amount of weight you might lose walking 1 hour a day can depend on several factors like your fitness level and how fast you walk. The best way is to track all your walking workouts and be consistent in your exercise. That said the average person walks at about 3-4 miles per hour, with an average 300 calories burnt per hour. Using those average figures you might be able to lose up to 0.6 pounds per week. This is an estimate and it is best to use a calculator or fitness tracker which allows you to input your weight, walking pace and distance covered.