Walking is one of the best exercises to lose weight. You can do it anywhere, it doesn't take any equipment, and we've been walking since we were a toddler.
Sure, some of us may not be as graceful on our feet, but we know how to walk. Being relatively low-impact, this is an exercise that we can fit into a busy schedule and almost every fitness level.
Related - Walk a Day Keeps the Depression Away
So let's check out seven tips that will make burning body fat more efficiently.
7 Walking Tips
#1 - Add More Steps to Your Day
Whenever you can break a nice power-walk out, do it.
A 30-45 minute walk 4-5 days per week should be your goal. If your fitness levels are lower, do your best 4-5 days per week.
To reach your weight-loss goals, try to add in walking throughout the day when possible.
Here are a few ideas to get your mind going:
- Walk down the street to get lunch.
- Bring "mobile foods" that you can eat while walking - you can now use your lunch to get healthier.
- Take a walk around the block after you eat. This will help with blood sugar spikes and prevent cravings. Your metabolism will thank you.
- Stressed or mad? Walking off that extra energy is a great stress relief and you will burn some calories off.
- Try taking the stairs instead of using the elevator.
- Park towards the back of the parking lot - every step counts.
Even if it sounds stupid to do, taking those extra steps add up.
Buy a pedometer and start monitoring your steps. More on this later.
#2 - Walk Faster
Leisurely walking speeds are great to get up and moving. Increasing the intensity of your walking - even for a short time - will burn more calories.
For those who do not walk much, simply getting up and moving will be difficult at first; we've all been there.
Similar to a HIIT workout, researchers at Ohio State University have found varying your walking speed during your workouts can burn up to 20% more calories than a steady pace.
Include a 30-second burst of faster-paced walking every 5 minutes you walk. After your speed-walk session, spend 30 seconds on a "cool-down" before returning to your normal speed.
This is great news for someone who may not be very in-shape.
Find a regular walking speed that does not strain you. Time a 30-second burst where you walk just a little faster and then return to your normal speed. I had a bad ankle surgery and I know what it's like to not know if your next step will be painful.
#3 - Try Walking a Hill
Hiking on a trail or walking in a hilly area is a great way to add in intensity.
You'll burn more calories, get a decent leg workout in, and your metabolism will turn into a fat-burning machine. If you do not have hills around your area, walking up stairs or slogging along on a stepmill also works.
#4 - Involve Your Whole Body
Whenever someone says "use your arms" when walking, I have a flashback to the 90s, tracksuits, and ankle weights.
Exaggerating your arm swing while you walk has more benefits than you would think.
Along with speeding up your pace, the rotating movement works your core and can burn up to 10% more calories.
#5 - Set a Step Goal
Setting actual goals in your weight-loss journey is important to your success. Setting goals keeps you motivated, gives you an end result, and you have measurable progress.
Just like trying to lift heavier weights every time we walk into the gym, increasing the number of steps we take each day is the best goals you can have.
When starting out, making distance or speed goals may lead to injury if you push yourself too hard.
Strive to increase your steps every day and you will notice a huge difference in your physique and health.
#6 - Count Your Calories
Walking undoubtedly improves your heart health, helps you destress, and helps you lose weight.
In order to get the most out of your walks, you will need to count your calories and eat fewer calories than you burn.
Focus on eating foods that you prepare from fresh ingredients. You know, the fresh chicken, lean beef, veggies, and fruit. Boring, right?
Limiting your processed food intake is the best way to start. Slowly introduce other low-calorie drinks such as zero-calorie green tea, or invest in some Mio water flavors.
Keeping track of your daily calorie intake will ensure you shed pounds quicker. You don't need a fad diet to lose weight - just eat better choices of foods and walk.
#7 - Lift Some Weights
It's no secret that lifting weights helps you shed pounds, build muscle, and improve your physique.
Adding in a lifting routine two to three times per week will amplify your weight loss and build more lean muscle that will support a healthy metabolism.
Not interested in lifting weights? Here are a few things you can do during your walk instead of lifting.
- Pushups - Do them anywhere, use a park bench or wall to make them easier.
- Squats - Do a deep squat, grab a park bench or tree if you need balance.
- Walking Lunges - These will get your lower body working and improve hip and ankle mobility.
- Planks - Build a strong core and develop some mental tenacity.
Wrapping It Up
Movement is life. Many of us (including myself) sit too much and don't get up and moving enough.
Taking a short walk around the neighborhood will increase how much weight you will lose.
You can lose weight off of making better food choices, but walking amplifies your weight loss. Try to add in as many steps per day to improve your health.
A solid goal to work up to is 10,000 steps per day. Many of us will struggle with 3000-4000, and that's okay.
The goal is to improve daily - you don't have to do that many steps to impact your life.