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MOVE

Can you lose weight by walking?

Walking for weight loss is a common goal for many. And you may wonder, can I actually “Walk it off”? When you plan to add walking and other lifestyle changes to your routine, keep reading to learn how to maximize your efforts at every stride.

Create walking goals

Set realistic goals, track your progress, stay positive about your body image and build on your success one step at a time.

During your walking exercises, measure:

Distance

How many steps one needs varies from person to person. Many health experts recommend 10,000 to 15,000 steps, or about five to seven miles, daily to lose weight by walking. But finding time to walk during a busy week can be challenging. If you feel sedentary at work, explore quick and easy ways to build exercise into your day.

Time spent

Some days are busier than others. If your goal is to walk 30 minutes per day, but you only have 15 minutes, that’s OK. Walking for weight loss is about staying on pace and building healthy habits that last.

Body composition

A scale knows your weight, but weight management goes beyond shedding pounds. Body composition is another way to measure your overall health and help you identify any potential health risks. Your health care provider can measure your body composition, which is the ratio of lean muscle and fat mass.

Calories burned

Any physical activity can burn calories. If you’re walking for weight loss, you need to burn more calories than you eat to lose weight.

What affects how quickly you burn calories?

There are many factors affecting how many calories you can burn.

Some factors include:

  • Metabolism. Your metabolism uses calories to convert what you eat or drink into energy. Unburned calories can turn into fat. Walking exercises can increase your metabolism. A higher metabolism helps you burn calories quicker during exercise. People with a lower metabolism burn fewer calories with the same amount of effort.
  • Your assigned sex. Men often have a faster metabolism and burn more calories than women because they have less body fat and more muscle.
  • Age. As we age, our muscles shrink, metabolism tends to slow down, and we become less active. Your muscles help you burn more calories than fat can. In addition to weight loss, exercise can help you live longer.
  • Weight. The more you weigh, the quicker you’ll burn calories during walking exercises. That’s because heavier people need more energy to walk the same distance.
  • Outside temperature. You burn more calories exercising in extreme temperatures, hot or cold. Both extremes make your body work harder to stay warm or cool. Drink plenty of water and know the signs of dehydration, whether it’s extremely hot or cold.
  • Terrain. Consider switching the terrain to increase your physical exertion and burn more calories. Try walking up hills, explore a new trail or boost the incline on your treadmill.
  • Walking pace. The faster you walk, the more calories you’ll burn. Maintain a comfortable pace and, when you’re ready, gradually increase how fast you walk to avoid injuries.

How can you make walking more enjoyable?

You know how great it feels to reach your daily step count. But walking can get boring, especially if you’re on a treadmill or walk the same routes daily.

There are a few ways to make walking more exciting:

  • Walk with others. A walking buddy can keep you accountable and motivated.
  • Change your scenery. Try other routes to see new things during every walk. Be cautious and know your limits while navigating new the terrain.
  • Listen to music. Up-tempo music can keep your walking and breathing in rhythm. When you inhale, oxygen enters your body to help it function. A steady breathing pattern can improve your endurance and help your muscles work better.
  • Walking errands. If you live near your grocery store, post office or bank, walk instead of driving. That’s a win-win for your overall health and to-do list.

Your feet are your foundation like concrete is to a house. Wear comfortable and supportive shoes to prevent injuries and, in turn, stay on routine.

More benefits than weight loss

Losing a healthy amount of weight is only just one reason to start walking exercises.

Other benefits of walking include:

  • better heart and vascular health
  • reduced joint pain
  • improved immune function
  • increased energy levels
  • lowered risk of certain types of cancer and diabetes
  • increased lung capacity
  • reduced anxiety, stress and depression

Regular exercise can improve your mood and reduce pain when your body releases endorphins, the natural chemicals (hormones) in your brain . Modifying your diet can also help reduce stress. Explore the top foods to relieve stress

Does walking help you lose weight?

A walking plan can help you lose weight, especially in tandem with a healthier diet. Everyone’s body is unique, and it’s important to remember that many factors affecting weight management are out of your control. Some people with obesity and other health conditions can’t exercise their way to healthy weight loss without medical guidance.

Weight management on your terms

Walking for weight loss isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. When you’re ready to reclaim your best self, consider professional support from an expert team to create a weight management plan that fits your life. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Weight management that fits your life

    Learn more

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