Walking is a simple, low-impact exercise that is great for losing weight. It burns a lot of calories whether you're walking around your neighborhood or using a treadmill at home. According to dietitian Shana Maleeff and fitness instructor Nicole Glor, walking can be a helpful tool in accomplishing your weight loss goals when combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet. 

Why walking is the best exercise for losing weight?

Due to its many health advantages, walking is one of the best exercises for losing weight. It speeds up metabolism, helps burn calories, and lowers stress hormones like cortisol, which can lead to weight gain.

walking is the best exercise for losing weight

Walking is the best exercise for losing weight

Walking also enhances sleep patterns, resulting in healthier food selections and more pleasant sleep. Additionally, it improves cardiovascular endurance, fortifies bones and muscles, and aids in fat loss and weight maintenance. With all these benefits, walking is a convenient yet efficient approach to losing weight.

How many calories does walking burn?

According to fitness expert Glor, the number of calories expended during your walking workout depends on parameters including age, height, weight, intensity, length, and pace. At a moderate speed (2.5 miles per hour), a 150-lb person burns roughly 100 calories per mile, but a 120-lb person burns roughly 85 calories per mile at the same pace.

A 150-pound individual will burn around 115 calories per mile at a speed of 3 miles per hour, while a 120-pound person will burn about 100 calories per mile. By including additional gear or changing the terrain while you walk, you can increase calorie burn even more.

How many calories does walking burn?

A 150-lb person burns roughly 100 calories per mile

Walking burns calories aiding weight loss, but genetics, age, gender, and lifestyle also influence overall weight management. Metabolism varies between individuals, and age-related muscle loss can impact calorie burning.

Increasing the number of calories you burn when walking

Glor suggests picking up the pace to walk faster for a higher heart rate and more energy expenditure. Beyond easy strolls, longer distances must be covered to increase endurance. You can increase the slope on the treadmill to 1.5 or higher to simulate the strain of outside walking while also working your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and core. When walking uphill, keep your core engaged and posture correct.

Increasing the number of calories you burn when walking

Picking up the pace to walk faster for more energy expenditure

Add resistance bands, dumbbells, or a backpack to your walking routine to increase the intensity. According to Glor, this strategy stimulates various muscle groups, increasing calorie burn and muscular growth.

Are you burning enough calories?

It can be difficult to tell if you're walking enough calories without a tracker. Your body, however, gives you cues to accurately assess your level of effort. According to Glor, feeling out of breath while exercising is a sign of exertion. Aim for a little layer of sweat and a mild sense of exhaustion that makes it difficult to carry on a conversation while walking. According to Glor, a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of about 6 out of 10 is suggested for slower, longer endurance walks.

Are you burning enough calories?

Difficult to tell if you're walking enough calories without a tracker

On a scale from one to 10, the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) gauges the level of physical activity. According to Glor, when performing higher-intensity walking workouts with additional exercises like lunges, incline hills, or dumbbell training, aim for an RPE of at least seven.

Maleeff emphasizes that although exercise is important for weight loss, eating is the most important factor. Consider your age, height, and weight when calculating your caloric requirements. You can also consult a professional for advice.

Apply the following guideline for instant healthier options: On your meal, Maleeff advises putting 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. Avoid hidden calories from sugary drinks, excessive alcohol, refined sugars, and coffee creamers, especially during the holiday season, and place a higher priority on lean proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Keeping track of Calories burned by walking

To calculate the number of calories burned during exercises or regular activities, you can utilize weight loss apps and fitness monitors. According to Maleeff, keeping track of macros and micros can have a substantial impact on weight loss and increase dietary awareness.

Fitbit and Apple Watch have suggested trackers for keeping track of several health indicators like calories, steps, and water intake. For tracking steps and calories, more helpful applications include Map My Run, MyFitnessPal, Strava, and RunKeeper.

Remember that the accuracy of these methods may vary, and the numbers are estimates rather than exact measurements. Factors such as your body composition, walking speed, terrain, and even weather conditions can influence the actual calorie burn. Nonetheless, these tools can provide useful insights and motivation to stay active and reach your fitness goals.

Also, keep in mind that you don't need to worry too much about burning calories when you walk. Glor emphasizes that walking is good for both physical and emotional wellness, and promotes a sense of well-being. It provides an opportunity to connect with nature, clear the mind, and improve overall mood.

A beginner-friendly workout

Biceps Curl and Kick

Biceps Curl and Kick

Step forward with the right leg, raise the left knee, and perform a powerful kick forward with the left foot flexed while raising the weights to shoulder level for biceps work. Alternate kicking and curling for 30-second intervals.

Related: What to drink while working out?

Stepping Triceps Kickbacks

Stepping Triceps Kickbacks

Place the left foot on the ground and pivoted to the side with a slight lunge, keeping the right leg behind. Start with elbows lifted, and weights pulled into the ribcage. Bring the right knee in and extend the arms for triceps engagement. Repeat this movement for a 30-second interval. Change the facing direction and repeat on the other side.

Shoulder Knee Lift

Shoulder Knee Lift

Step forward with the left foot, holding weights by your hips. Lift the right knee to hip level while raising the weights above your chest—alternate knees and weights for 30-second intervals.

Shoulder Lateral Raise with Lunge

Shoulder Lateral Raise with Lunge

March for four counts with a right leg lead and weights in hand. Lunge the right leg forward and lift the weights to the sides with a slight elbow bend. Return to standing and lower the arms. Repeat the lunge and lateral raise on the left leg. Continue for a 60-second interval.

Inside Biceps Cross

Change the march to toe taps with weights and palms facing away from you. Curl the left hand towards your right shoulder as the right toe taps, keeping the elbow close to your waist—alternate sides for 30-second intervals.

Triceps Overhead Press with March

March at your original walking pace, lifting both weights overhead. Bend your elbows so the weights are behind your neck, hands touching at the knuckles (starting position). Straighten your arms as you continue marching right and left. Lower arms during the march (two counts for feet = one count for arms). Repeat for a 30-second interval.

References: Nicole Glor,  Shana Maleeff, M.A., R.D.

August 03, 2023 — Four Leaf

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