What is the Best Way to Walk to Lose Weight?
The benefits of walking for fitness are long known but you may have wondered, what is the best way to walk to lose weight?
By using a specific pace and time, walking can help you lose weight and belly fat which is truly amazing.
Walking for fitness and health involves using a specific pace and time for walking to reduce cortisol (which can weight gain) and to get into your fat-burning zone.
Workouts that burn too many calories can actually be detrimental to weight loss because they increase hunger. However walking can help you lose weight and belly fat!
Can You Lose Weight Just by Walking?
While many people enjoy occasional walks, many people don’t realize that walking can be a powerful tool for weight loss too!
Like any effective exercise plan, it requires consistency and commitment.
However, to me, it is well worth the time.
The Benefits of Walking
Walking is usually safe, free, and easy to do! In addition, there are so many related benefits of walking:
- Improves your mood
- Boosts creativity
- Helps lower blood sugar
- Helps with weight loss
- Strengthens heart
- Burns calories
How Walking Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat
Walking provides two unique benefits that help you manage your weight. We often think that exercise needs to be hard or challenging to get us in shape.
The two main reasons that walking works, are directly related to the moderate pace and the length of the walk.
Walking Reduces Stress and That Reduces the Fat-Causing Hormone
One of the reasons, I think walking has such a positive effect on weight loss is that it reduces stress. Stress causes a rise in the hormone cortisol and cortisol can cause weight gain.
Cortisol is a known weight-gaining hormone and if you can reduce stress—you may also reduce cortisol.
Walking and especially walking outside in nature can naturally lower your cortisol levels.
I have discovered over the years that walking alone and at a steady relaxed pace not only make me feel better, my weight would just naturally regulate itself.
When I am able to get outside and walk four or five times a week, I can lose weight more easily than any other way. I knew that the more relaxed my walks were the more effective it was.
This summer, when our daily temperatures soared in the 100’s for weeks, I began doing Walk at Home workouts and that has provided excellent results as well.
It wasn’t until recently, in reading The Obesity Code that I learned about how cortisol affects weight. Now I look for ways to reduce stress and walking definitely helps with that.
Walking Gets You into Your Fat-Burning Zone
I still believe in a fat-burning zone! When I was in my twenties and having babies, I always did workouts that were long enough to get me into this zone. The fat-burning zone is about 45-minutes of moderate-paced activity.
The idea is that you have to work out long enough to get into the zone and stay there for enough time to actually burn some fat.
I’ve found walking effective even for reducing my love-handles. It helps burn fat all over. While sit-ups have their own benefits, they don’t melt the fat like walking can.
Walking easily allows you to exercise at this moderate rate for 45—60 minutes!
These days, I also like to do 2 to 3 higher intensity workouts a week that target specific body regions. This helps get so muscle strength and definition.
Is Walking as Good as Jogging or Running for Losing Weight?
I think it’s better! Most articles you see promoting running, talk about calories burned in a shorter time.
However, the benefit of walking is lowering stress and fat-burning. These are more hormonal related and in the long-term are excellent for your health.
In addition, walking is easy on your body and truly enjoyable. Most people don’t get injuries from walking. It’s not only easy on your joints, it’s good for them!
The best exercise for losing weight is one that you can do on a regular basis for long enough to see results.
Walking is something you can do at almost any age and in any condition. It’s an exercise that you can do as long as you can walk.
How Much Should You Walk to Get in Shape?
If you want walking to work for you, you have to commit to doing it on a regular basis.
I’ve found four or five times a week, for 3 miles or 45 minutes to work best for me. That being said, getting out for a walk anytime is good for you!
By adding in a few full body exercises you can maximize the time you spend walking and get in even better shape.
What is the Best Way to Walk to Lose Weight?
I’ve found that following a set route on a regular basis is the most effective way to get the most out of walking. I like to have two routes: one that is about two miles and one that is at least three miles.
That gives me options that I can use depending on how much time I have and how energetic I feel.
By following a set and safe route, you can really relax into the walk. My brain likes seeing regular landmarks along the way and knowing about how far I’ve gone and how far I have to go.
One of the benefits of walking is that it can reduce stress, and I feel less stress when I know where I’m going and how long it will take.
If you are fortunate enough to have hills in your walking area, you can plan these into your walk. I like to warm up with some level-ground walking before I do hill work.
A park that is along my walking trail, has a hill. I will go up and down that hill to get in some extra challenge to my walk.
For the most part, I like to keep a steady comfortable pace throughout the walk. About three miles an hour works best for me.
I have a friend who likes to walk four miles an hour and that feels miserable to me! However, she has lost weight and enjoys that pace—so that is what is best for her.
The important thing is to pick a length of walk and a pace that is comfortable and that you actually enjoy. Some people really do enjoy a more challenging pace.
Aim to walk for at least 45 minutes and at a pace that is about 60% to 70% of your maximum effort.
You definitely want to be breathing but you don’t want to get out of breath. Try to do this at least 3 times a week but 4 or 5 times is even better, when you are trying to lose some weight.
Is Walking Enough Exercise to Lose Weight?
Lowering stress and getting into a fat-burning zone are my primary reasons for recommending walking as a substantial part of any fitness plan.
Not too many other exercises or routines both reduce stress and promote fat-burning.
Yet, walking doesn’t do everything. I add other things in during the week such as stretching and strength training. But I also love to add some full body exercises to my actual walks!
To get more benefits from walking, you can add some specific exercises during your walk to get some more muscle definition.
If you are lucky enough to live by a park, make sure you walk through it and make use of some of the equipment.
Even without a park, you can find places at home or nearby to step up your workout.
Walking for Fitness: Add Push-Ups
First on my list is incline push-ups. I worked hard once to get to the point of being able to do full body push-ups on the floor. That was hard!
I still think push-ups are a mandatory exercise for any woman. However, you can get great results by doing incline push-ups.
And if you want to be able to do full-body push-ups someday, incline push-ups will help you get there.
However, the incline push-up in itself is a fantastic way to tone your upper body.
Incline push-ups can be done on your kitchen counter, the back of a park bench, playground equipment, or any other railing that is the right height and comfortable for your hands.
At home, I use a pool noodle that I cut to size and then slit down the long side to slip on my kitchen or bathroom counter.
It sounds weird but it really works to make doing push-ups more comfortable. I do three or four sets. You can vary how far apart your hands are and the angle of the push-up.
Start with sets of ten. To get more intensity, do more repetitions, more sets, or lower your incline.
Push-ups in addition to giving you beautiful arms, shoulders, and back also work your core. You have to do a lot of stabilizing of your core to do perfect push-ups.
I like to do the push-ups during the middle of my walk or at the end. In one park, I used to do them along the way on the backs of park benches.
I’d walk for about 15 minutes, do a set, walk another 10 minutes, do a set, walk another 10 minutes and do my final set. The walking would allow my arms to have a rest before the next set.
Walking for Fitness: Add Leg and Butt Exercises
You can also target your legs and butt while you walk by adding easy to do exercises that use your body weight. Squats, lunges, and step-ups are easy to do during a walk.
Step-ups are one of my favorites to do during a walk. Find a curb or low wall and start stepping up! I will do 15 steps ups using one leg first, then switch and do the other leg stepping up first. These are great for your butt.
Stand facing the wall or curb. Step up with your right leg and place it safely on the surface. Push off the ground with your other foot and place it next to your right foot.
Step down with your right foot and follow it with your left foot. Do 10 to 15 repetitions, then do a set starting with the opposite leg. Start with a low surface while you master your technique.
You don’t need to do this exercise every time you walk—allow a day or so in-between. But definitely do them at least twice a week to see results.
Can You Lose Weight Just by Walking?
You can, absolutely. To achieve this, it’s important to walk enough to get this result. To recap, here is what I have round most effective.
- Walk 3 to 4 miles at a time
- Walk at a comfortable relaxed pace, at about 60% to 70% of your maximum effort.
- Walk 3 to 5 times a week
More Posts About the Benefits of Walking
To learn more about the best ways to walk to lose weight, I have some related posts that can help.
I hope you’ll give walking a try!
Coach with Sara
Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.