Walking is one of the safest forms of exercise known today. Depending on how often you walk, you can manage to easily lose one pound per week or more. Think about it, in less than five months you can be 20 pounds lighter without spending hours at the gym and without going on a diet.
While you shed the pounds and inches from your body, you are also toning your muscles and improving your health. Once you learn how to implement the principles of walking to lose weight into your lifestyle, you will surely be hooked on this easy and beneficial exercise routine.
How to Lose Weight by Walking
The number of calories you can burn by walking is determined by your body weight and walking pace. On average, if you walk at a pace of 4 miles per hour (a common pace) you can burn roughly 400 calories per hour.
You don’t necessarily need to go 4 miles a day. As an example, if you commit to walking 3 extra miles, they would be burning an extra 300 calories a day. You can even walk a shorter distance than that and combine it with your daily schedule. You can use a device called pedometer to help you burn extra calories while walking and doing your daily schedule.
Pedometers and Weight Loss
If you are trying to lose weight through walking, one of the best things that you can do to boost the chances of success for your efforts is to go out and buy a good quality pedometer (like this one) or a wrist band that can track your daily activities (like this one).
Pedometer is a helpful device that you attach to your clothing near your hip area. It is light weight and has a variety of features. The main feature is counting the number of steps you take during your workout or throughout your entire day.
In order to find out how many miles you need to cover to drop extra pounds, you need to find out how many you are currently covering. This way, you will know by how much you need to increase your steps, or distance each day in order to be able to see a difference in the number on the scale.
For example; if you currently take 8,000 steps with your existing routine and daily habits and are maintaining weight, the number of steps that you need to increase your daily distance to lose weight is simply a matter of mathematics; increasing your mileage according to the number of calories you want to burn (more details on that below).
How Many Steps To Take to Lose Weight?
To lose weight the average person needs to take about 2,000 steps in the average mile. One mile burns about 100 calories. This means your pedometer will help you keep track of your steps, how many miles you reach each day and how many calories you burn. It will also help you if you don’t have time to exercise. You can simply add steps to your daily routine.
- 1 Mile = 2,000 steps and 100 calories burned
- 1 Pound – 3,500 calories
- 1 Pound weight loss per week = 500 calorie deficit per day
- To lose 1 pound per week you need to add 10,000 steps to your day.
If 10,000 steps sounds a lot, here are a few ideas on how to fit all that walking into your busy day (remember – you don’t need to start from 10,000 steps. Start gradually – you will just lose less weight).
- Get off the bus early and walk the rest of the way home or to work.
- Park your car further away from your destination and walk the extra distance.
- Walk to the station instead of taking the car or bus.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Walk the children to school.
Depending on the style or type of pedometer it may have advanced features including keeping track of the number of pounds you lost and how many calories you burned. This information helps you keep track of your progress by giving you a clear picture of what you have physically achieved during your walk.
Due to the important details recorded you will want to invest in a good quality pedometer (like this one) to assure every step is counted. According to the American Medical Association, wearing a pedometer is essential to long-term weight control and successful weight loss.
How to Keep it Interesting
- Walking the same old track can become boring so keep your routine interesting by switching things around.
- Walk outdoors at different parks, different neighborhoods and bring along music to enjoy, motivate and energize you to complete your daily walk.
- Don’t let cold winter weather hold you back from your daily walk. Invest in a treadmill and place it in front of a window or television. You can enjoy viewing nature by glaring out the window during your routine or point the treadmill towards your television and savor every minute of your favorite show.
- You can also invite a family member or friend along. Even if they join you only once a week, it is still a beneficial way to mix up your routine. Often, dedicated walkers will become bored with the same old routine, so don’t let it happen to you.
- Keep it interesting and switch up your routine as much as you like.
Everyone knows how to walk and have been doing so since they were a small child. However, over the years bad posture and habits may have caused you to have less than desirable walking standards.
When walking for exercise you will want to keep your chin up, focus your eyes about 10 feet forward, keep a long stride, pull in your abdomen towards your spine and squeeze your glutes. This style of walking will help you achieve maximum benefits from your workout.
How Often to Walk
Before you begin your walking routine you will want to consult with your primary physician to assure you are healthy to participate in the activity.
Once you receive your physician’s approval, you will want to begin walking three days per week for 15 to 20 minutes. Then you will want to gradually increase the frequency until you are walking 30 to 60 minutes per day almost every day of the week.
Don’t forget that walking is just one way of losing weight. For more tips and helpful advice on how to boost your weight loss, read my other posts.
You can find a detailed program on how to lose weight in my Book 3 Week Diet. I’ve created this program specifically for losing belly fat but you can follow it as part of your weight loss diet.