Walking can promote weight loss, and it is often quite easy to maintain a walking program, especially since the cost is minor, and a walk can begin as soon as one steps outside one’s door. The amount one loses depends upon metabolism, consumption of calories and the type of walking. A ten minute walk daily will not likely result in much weight loss. Walking an hour, five days a week, at a pace of about 2-4 mph (3.21-6.43 kph) can, however, burn quite a few calories.
If you don’t plan to change your diet, walking may still allow one to lose weight. Studies usually find that a combination of reduced calories and increased exercise are most effective in promoting weight loss. Walking alone may still provide some weight loss benefits, particularly if your calorie consumption is not overly high to begin with. If you add calories to your diet because you are exercising more, you may not see weight loss benefits.
Walking at 2 mph (3.21 kph), a relatively slow pace, burns about 26 calories per 10 minutes. In 30 minutes the benefits increase and the average person burns about 79 calories. Walking at least 30 minutes is considered better than taking three ten minute walks a day because greater time means elevating one’s heart rate. As one’s heart rate increases, more calories are consumed.
Picking up the pace to about 3 mph (4.82 kph) almost doubles the benefits of a half hour walk. One burns about 125 calories in a 30-minute period. As one gets more comfortable with slower paces, one can begin to burn even more calories by including a few minutes of extra fast walking to increase heart rate. When one can walk a mile (1.6 km) in 15 minutes, one burns about 370 calories in an hour.
Walking more quickly and for longer time periods also contributes to greater calorie burning abilities for the rest of the day. Any type of cardiovascular exercise that gets the heart pumping at maximum heart rate for your age and health means the body treats calories differently for the rest of the day. Generally, even if one is sedentary after a walk, one burns calories at a higher rate.
Most fitness experts recommend beginning a walking program slowly, and further, most say it helps to use a pedometer to measure speed and distance. The first week, the only goal is to walk 30 minutes a day, five days a week, at a comfortable speed. Week two should include a minute of fast walking each day in one’s 30-minute workout. Week three should include two minutes of fast walking or jogging. One continues week by week to build ability to walk very quickly to increase calorie burn. As fitness increases, one can also increase time of walks, with an ideal goal of one hour, five days a week.
Even without diet changes, walking is likely to result in some weight loss, particularly when one walks regularly. At the very least, regular exercise is likely to help one not gain any weight. For best results, it helps to reduce calories as well as increasing activity.