Can Simply Walking Really Help You Lose Fat?

Updated on May 28, 2016

Are you getting the most out of your walk?

Walking is the most popular form of exercise in the United States and rightly so. It requires no expensive equipment, it can be done by anyone from basically sedentary to athletic, and it can be done anywhere and anytime. It's the best form of exercise to get you started on the road to physical fitness, but can it really help you lose fat?

Yes, it can! You just need to make sure you are getting the most out of your workout. Read the tips below to set yourself up for fat loss!

1. Be familiar with your target heart rate.

In order to lose fat, you need to get your heart pumping. Walking at a slow pace without accelerating your heart rate will not result in significant fat loss. You need to stay in your target heart rate zone for at least 20 minutes a day. If you are unsure of your target heart rate, you may use a target heart rate calculator.

2. Stay in your target heart rate zone for at least 20 minutes.

Once you are familiar with your target heart rate zone, aim to stay within that zone for at least 20 minutes a day. You can check your heart rate periodically with a heart rate monitor such as the Fitbit Charge HR. However, it is not necessary to have an electronic device. You can find your pulse and count the number of beats for 10 seconds. Then, multiple the number of beats by 6. This will give you beats per minute. Once you've done this a few times, you will be able to recognize, without counting, what your target heart rate feels like.

3. If you are not able to stay within your target heart zone by simply walking, add some quick intervals or bursts to your walk.

If you are in moderately good physical shape, you may find it difficult to stay within your target heart rate zone by simply walking. Consider adding short bursts of one of the activities below to increase your heart rate periodically. Not only will this increase your heart rate, but it will also incorporate a variety of muscle groups.

  • Sprints
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Walking lunges
  • Squats
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers

4. Be sure to warm-up and cool down each time you walk.

Since you are aiming to increase your heart rate in order to lose fat, it is important to slowly ease into your workout and then gradually bring your heart rate back down to resting. An ideal walking workout consists of a 5 minute warm-up (casual stroll), at least a 20 minute walk (within the target heart rate zone), and a 5 minute cool down (bring your heart rate back down to resting).

5. Aim for 5 walks per week or at least 100 minutes in your target heart rate zone.

While simply walking 20 minutes per day 3 days a week may help you maintain your current level of fitness, it will not be enough to help you lose fat. In order to begin losing significant fat, you need to aim to be in your target heart rate zone for at least 100 minutes per week (not including warm-up and cool down). Beginners may want to gradually build up to 100 minutes per week, and advanced walkers may want to aim for more minutes per week.

Remember: It is important to do what you are comfortable with and gradually build up your minutes per week. Also, check with your health care provider prior to beginning an exercise routine.

Sample 30 Minute Walking Workout:

5 minute warm-up

3 minute brisk walk

1 minute jumping jacks

1 minute moderate walk

3 minute brisk walk

1 minute walking lunges

1 minute moderate walk

3 minute brisk walk

1 minute mountain climbers

1 minute moderate walk

3 minute brisk walk

1 minute squats

1 minute moderate walk

5 minute cool down

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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