Can Walking Help You Lose Weight?

Yes, walking burns calories. Simples.

I am certainly no expert when it comes to weight loss, but I have witnessed many of our walking club members lose weight over the years and walking has helped with the process.

Physical activity, such as walking, is important for weight control because it helps you burn calories. If you add 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn about 150 more calories a day. Of course, the more you walk and the quicker your pace, the more calories you'll burn.

In this article, I will cover a few reasons why and how walking is a great way to kickstart your weight loss.

#1 – Walking burns the same calories as running

It's true that walking a mile will burn the same calories as running a mile – it just takes longer. Proper results will be visible within a month of walking daily and also eating properly.

Talking of burning calories, walking definitely burns calories, but it is all relevant to your lifestyle choices and of course your calorie intake. It goes without saying that what you put into your body is just as important as what your output is.

MyFitnessPal is a smartphone app and website that tracks diet and exercise. The app uses gamification elements to motivate users. To track nutrients, users can either scan the barcodes of various food items or manually find them in the app's large pre-existing database. It's an awesome app and is one to download if you are serious about losing weight.

To help increase your pace to burn more calories, then try Nordic Walking.

#2 – Walking increases your feel-good hormones

Let's be honest, sometimes it is hard to get motivated to go out for a walk (even someone who loves walking as much as I do). But, if you make the effort to put on your walking boots and take a walk in the fresh air for at least 30 minutes then the feel-good hormones start to flood through your body. I never return home feeling down or depressed, I always feel good after a brisk walk. If you feel good then this increases your natural motivation. Motivation is needed if you are on a weight loss regime. It's a win/win!

#3 – Does 10k steps a day really work to help lose weight?

This was a question that someone asked me last week and my answer was yes. If you are simply sitting on a couch with no or very little exercise then every little helps. But there is a big difference between doing 10k steps of kitchen laps, to 10k steps in the outdoors with a few hills thrown in. It's all about pushing your limits a little bit further each day. Continuous improvement will help improve your mental and physical health, as well as lose weight.

#4 – Walking is free!

Walking is free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. I know it can be difficult to get motivated to go walking on your own but if you can find an accountability partner or walking buddy, then it is one of the cheapest ways of losing weight. There are lots of NHS health groups operating throughout the UK which offer health walks (that are free), and joining a walking club can be inexpensive and often free.

#5 – Walking requires very little equipment

Walking requires little in the way of equipment, it can be done more or less anywhere, and it's less likely to stress the joints in the way that running can.

But just because walking is an easy, natural way for humans to expend energy from the food we eat, it doesn't mean that we can't learn to do it better—and increase fat burn. The only equipment you will need is the correct footwear, a good playlist (or audiobook/podcast – if you are walking on your own), knowing your route is essential and having a bottle of water/snack with you.

Staying adequately hydrated is important in your weight loss efforts through walking. Proper hydration impacts our cognitive function and energy in a major way. Studies have found that even a mild form of dehydration, 1-3 percent, can impair brain function. This includes mood and energy which are vital to efficient and effective walking.

If you are serious about losing weight when walking then I would also invest in a fitness tracker (I personally use an Apple Watch, but any sort of tracker is fine). If you do have the Apple Watch then try the “Time to walk” feature.

#6 – Vary the terrain to help with weight loss

As well as altering your speed of walking, a great way to burn more belly fat is to switch up the surface you're walking on. Walking on grass or gravel burns more calories than walking on a track. Walking on soft sand increases caloric expenditure by almost 50%, provided that you can keep your pace the same.

Walking briskly up a short hill when interspersed with flat terrain walking is great for calorie burning. Your leg muscles with thank you if you lean forward slightly when walking uphill and your knees will be even more grateful if you slow your pace, bend your legs slightly and take shorter steps when you descend those hills.

If you want to increase your walking pace there are two ways you can do it. You can take longer strides or you can increase the speed of your stride. Experts say that it's better to do the latter because lengthening your stride can increase strain on your feet and legs.

Walking is a lifestyle change

As with anything, there is no point in “binge walking”. If you start on this journey then accept it as a lifestyle change. Make walking become part of your everyday routine. Starting your day with a brisk walk is a fantastic way to awaken the senses and achieve clarity on the day ahead.

For expert advice on weight loss, then I would highly recommend speaking with Jon Bellis from Life Force Fitness.