Does Walking For Weight Loss Really Work?

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walking for weight loss
walking for weight loss

Walking for weight loss does work as long as long as you’re not consuming more calories than you burned. When it comes to weight loss you probably have visions of hardcore cardio and extreme weight lifting in mind.

 After all, you need to blast through hundreds of calories at a time in order to burn the fat and obtain the body you’re desiring, right? While these are all great ways to burn calories, you don’t always need to go to extreme lengths to burn calories. In fact, you may be able to take advantage of walking to help with weight loss. 

Does Walking Really Lead To Weight Loss?

The first thing you need to know about weight loss is it all comes down to calories. The more calories you burn the faster you’ll lose weight. If you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in, you will lose weight. 

With that in mind, walking for weight loss does work as you can burn calories by walking. Yes, you won’t burn as many calories walking for an hour as you will be running for an hour, but you’re still burning calories, and that’s the entire point. 

When it comes to walking and weight loss the two can go hand in hand. You won’t see results as quickly because you may only burn 100 or 200 calories for an hour of walking, but something is better than nothing. However, walking shouldn’t be your only form of attacking your weight loss. 

If you want to burn more then 100-200 calories walking, try walking on an incline or up hills. This will drastically change the number of calories you burn.

Your Body Is Made In The Kitchen

Walking for weight loss will help you burn calories, but when walking is your main source of cardio for the day you’ll need to aid your weight loss with what you eat.

Burning 200 calories in a day from walking is great, but it doesn’t do you much good if you get back inside and then eat something packed with calories. 

The ranch salad dressing you put on an otherwise healthy salad can have just as many, if not more calories, than what you just burned after an hour of walking. It’s pretty frustrating to know you just consumed as many calories as you burned by adding a simple dressing to a salad.

So, if you want your walking to make an impact on weight loss you’ll need to find ways to cut out calories from your diet. 

Thankfully, cutting calories from your diet doesn’t need to be difficult. You can start by cutting out a handful of caloric intakes you don’t need during the day. This includes removing sodas from your diet, as well as putting cream and sugar in your coffee.

If you remove heavy cream sauces from your intake you’ll cut another few hundred calories from your diet. In fact, without even really changing what you eat, you can easily chop off 1,000 calories from your diet, which, combined with your daily walking, can help you cut your weight. 

More Benefits Than Just Burning Calories

Walking for weight loss do come hand in hand. Whenever you’re burning calories you will aid your weight loss goals. However, there are more benefits to walking than just burning calories. 

For starters, walking will improve your heart rate, especially if you walk at a faster pace. By improving your heart rate you’ll bring in more oxygen to your body, which will push more energy, oxygen and nutrients to every other cell in your body. 

By sending more energy to your body you’ll experience an improved metabolic rate, which also helps you burn more calories throughout the rest of the day. 

According to the Arthritis Foundation (2019),there are a number of benefits your body will experience when getting out and walking. In addition to boosting your circulation, you will improve bone strength while also improving your joint health. Joints begin to fail the older you become because of a lack of blood flow. To maintain a spongy consistency, which reduces bone on bone contact, the joints need to fill with fluid. During extensive periods of inactivity, the joints will dry out, leading to arthritis and other problems. 

Walking helps prevent these negative issues. Additionally, the Arthritis Foundation found that walking daily helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer (in a study conducted of men between the ages of 71 and 93 walking more than a quarter of a mile per day). 

Walking every day can even help reduce other health issues you might be suffering from. According to the National Walkers’ Health study (2013), people who walked on a regular basis experienced a seven percent reduction in the risk of high blood pressure. It also found it helped lower fasting blood sugar levels while also lowered a person’s overall body mass index (BMI). 

Boost Your Walking Benefits

If you’re eyeing walking for weight loss, there are a number of ways you can maximize its potential and your overall ability to shed the weight. For starters, according to the University of Warwick (and reported by Consumer Reports), the ideal walking amount per day is 15,000 steps. This equates to about 7.5 miles in total. You don’t need to do all of this at once. 

In fact, combined with taking a dog for their daily walk and moving about work you might be surprised as to how easily it is to reach this daily goal. The Warwick study suggests 15,000 steps because those who hit this level on a regular basis have a smaller waist, improved BMI and lower blood pressure than those who do not hit this level. 

However, what happens if you want to maximize the effect of each step you take? Perhaps you are hitting your desired step goal but you want to make each step count more toward your weight loss. After all, if you’re going to be walking, you might as well maximize the effect it has on your body and burn even more calories, right? Well you can do that without changing your walk to a jog. 

One way to improve your weight loss through walking is to walk uphill. If you live in a hilly area this is great because your body will work harder when you walk uphill. This will help you burn more calories and put in more energy into your legs. If you have a treadmill at home you can increase the incline for your walk as well. This will assist with your caloric burn potential. 

You can also add in some weight resistance if you’d like. There are a number of ways you can go about doing this. Ankle weights allow you to add a few pounds to each foot. This forces your lower body to work harder whenever walking. 

By simply adding two or five pounds to each leg you may not burn a ton of additional calories, but you will force your heart to work harder, which boosts your blood circulation and metabolic rate that much more. 

You can take the weight resistance to another level by investing in some kind of weighted vest (or, if you have free weights, put a few free weights into a backpack with reinforced straps as cheap backpack may break or the plastic buckles might snap). This forces your legs to walk as if you were 10 or 20 pounds heavier, which helps you burn more calories during your walk. 

Interval Training

Just because you’re walking doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of interval training. You don’t even need to go from running to walking. According to Today, one of the best ways to get the most out of your walking routine is to alternate between 30 and 60 seconds of slow walking and speed walking. 

The interval training will help increase and decrease your heart rate while keeping your muscles guessing as to what you’re going to do next. This muscle confusion ensures you burn the highest level of calories possible. Plus, it helps keep your daily walking routine interesting. 

Now, it is important to not push yourself if you are unable to. If you’re just getting into more physical activity you may want to simply start with a walk around the block and increase on a daily basis. Once you feel comfortable increasing your speed, this interval training method will only supercharge your workout experience.

You may be surprised as to just how many calories you burn by the slight adjustment. According to the same Today article, a 150-pound man or woman who walks at 2 miles per hour will burn about 150 calories in that time. 

However, if you pick up the overall pace to 3.5 miles per hour (which is a moderate walking rate), you’ll end up burning twice as much. That’s an additional 150 calories every day. Or, if you go walking every day, about 1,000 calories per week. 

This increased pace will help you burn more than an additional pound and a half after a single month. If someone told you that, by walking just a little faster, you’d drop 15 or more pounds by the end of the year without making any other changes, chances are you’d take it, right?

Grab The Walking Poles

Did you know walking poles can not only help reduce the impact on your knees but increase the number of calories you burn during your walk? Well it’s true. 

Now, you may not need walking poles when going around the block (plus if you’re walking your dog you won’t have the option to use poles to begin with), but if you’re doing any kind of hill walk or hike, poles are a great addition. 

When you use poles, you’ll be including your upper body into your workout. By adding your upper body in addition to your lower body, you’ll dramatically increase the number of calories you burn. 

By using walking poles you’ll reduce some of the impact placed on your knees. It may make your hike feel easier, but it’s not. It’s simply reducing the pressure placed on your knees. This is a must if you have any kind of knee pain or soreness, or if you just want to burn even more calories and really get serious with walking and weight loss. 

Who Should Consider Walking For Weight Loss

In reality, everyone should try to walk a bit more during the day. Even if you go to the gym for your cardio and weight lifting, walking is the secret weapon for weight loss. 

You will probably count the calories you burn during a cardio session and you look toward weight lifting for working your muscles and improving your metabolic rate. However, walking accounts for a large number of calories you’re probably not counting. So, by adding more steps into your daily routine you’ll see vast improvements in your weight loss. 

However, beyond the fact that everyone should walk more, if you have joint problems or suffer from sore knees, walking may be your best option. Many people suffer from knee pain caused by other forms of cardio like jogging. 

The body was never made to withstand feet slamming down on cement for miles at a time. Instead, this is a low impact way to cut out hundreds of calories from your daily life. It’s also a nice way to get your morning started and to bring the day to a close. So whatever fitness level you currently are at, now is the perfect time to add more walking to your daily routine. 

Get Shredded Diet

Conclusion

You don’t always need to spend hours at the gym in order to burn calories. In fact, you can get a pretty good workout in by simply walking. 

Whether you’re hitting the local mountain trail or taking your pup for a stroll around the block, there are all kinds of ways to get outside and blast calories away. 

Walking for weight loss is a fantastic low-impact form of exercise that can have a far greater impact on your overall health than you might think. Whatever fitness level you’re in, try to get in as much extra walking as possible. It’ll do your body good and your waistline will thank you for it.

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Terry Asher

Owner & Founder at Gym Junkies LLC
After changing his best friend’s life by helping him lose over 70lbs, dropping him down to an amazing 7% body fat, Terry was inspired to be a full-time internet trainer knowing he could do the same for many more. In 2010, Terry published his own diet and fitness e-book that can be purchased on this website. Let Terry help you change your body for the better!
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