Walking exercise legs on a footpath in forest
Lose Weight Walking

There’s so many reasons why walking is excellent exercise for weight loss. Here’s some facts, figures and tips to get you motivated, moving and losing

Walking for Weight Loss (and Fitness!)

Walking is a fantastic activity to help boost weight loss and feel fitter. It’s free, low impact and you can do it anywhere.

US National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) data* shows that people who stay slim incorporate walking as part of their exercise routine. So, turning walking into a regular activity and focusing on the pace and distance covered will not only increase your fitness but will help you shed the pounds too.

Once you get going and build your pace you can easily burn an additional 1000 calories in a week. That's the equivalent of a stone in a year.

See the tables below for some examples of how many calories you can burn walking at different speeds.

What are the benefits of walking?

Don't underestimate the benefits of walking as a physical exercise.

It's a great all round exercise with very real health benefits. Load bearing for your bones and muscles and aerobic for your heart and lungs. Walking's also a brilliant way to de-stress, and can lower your blood pressure.

Walking is low impact and low intensity, making it an easy and accessible way for people of all ages and fitness levels to get some exercise. Plus it can be a sociable activity, fun to do with family and friends, and a great way to make new friends!

  • It burns calories
  • It can help towards maintaining a healthy weight
  • It helps to boost your metabolism
  • It helps to reduce body fat
  • It boosts your energy levels
  • It strengthens your legs
  • It helps to strengthen the immune system
  • It improves your circulation
  • It lowers your blood pressure
  • It helps to prevent and control diabetes
  • It promotes positive mental health, including higher levels of self-esteem
  • It helps you to manage stress and release tension
  • It helps to improve the ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep well
  • It may motivate your children to walk more if that’s what they see you doing and provides an activity to share with family members and friends
  • It can be done almost anywhere
  • It’s more environmentally friendly than driving
  • It’s free

Getting Started

As with any form of physical activity start off slowly with small goals and build up gradually. Try to aim for four to five, 30-60 minute walks, in a week.

  • Before you set off make sure you do some warm-up stretching which will improve your stride and pace.
  • Assume a straight posture - shoulders down, back straight.
  • Breath deeply
  • Set a brisk pace - you should feel warm and slightly breathless. You can alternate your pace between fast and moderate to build fitness.
  • Ease back to a slower pace for the end of the walk to cool down.

Incorporate walking as much as possible into your daily routine and plan longer walks at the weekend.

Try different routes and lengths of walks and involve your family and friends. Browse maps, magazines and guides, online or in your local bookshop, for inspiration on walks in your area and further afield.

Fit More Walking Into Your Day

At Work:

  • Park your car in the space that is the furthest away and walk to the office
  • If you take the train/bus get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way
  • Walk to work
  • On your lunch break go for a walk around the block
  • If you need to speak to somebody in the office, walk over to them instead of phoning them
  • Walk to the local shop to buy your lunch
  • Don’t take the lift, use the stairs

With the Kids:

  • Walk the children to school/playgroup
  • Walk to the park and back with the kids at the weekend
  • Find the time for one walk each week with each child - make this your special time when the two of you are alone and you can chat and catch up
  • Plan fun exploration walks for the kids - get out and explore your local neighbourhood
  • Make it your mission to plan a new walk for each weekend - look out for local parks, country walks, etc
  • If you drop your children at clubs or parties, don't spend the time driving back and forth, go for a walk instead

With Friends:

  • Plan to go walking for fitness once a week with a friend
  • If you plan to meet friends, walk to their house, or get them to meet you half way
  • Offer to join your friend when they are walking the dog
  • Rather than meeting your friends for coffee, suggest going for a stroll

At Home:

  • Get up early and go for a walk
  • Cancel the paper / milkman and walk to the shop instead
  • If you run out of essentials, walk to the local shop to buy them - don't take the car
  • Walk whilst talking on the phone
  • Set yourself a goal to walk up and down the stairs a certain amount of times per day
  • Use the upstairs bathroom
  • Whilst watching T.V. always get up and walk around during the adverts

Why not get walking and start losing weight right now by joining the Walk the Weight Off Challenge 2016 – remember, you can try Weight Loss Resources absolutely free for 24hrs

How many calories will you burn walking?

To give you an insight of how many calories you could be burning by taking part in this challenge and getting some extra walking into your life we have worked out a couple of examples of how well you could be doing.

Female, Age 40, 5ft 5in tall, Weighs 12st 7lb and has a Moderately Sedentary lifestyle.

Walking Speed Calories Burned In
10 Mins 20 Mins 30 Mins
2 Mph 26.4kcal 52.7kcal 79.1kcal
3 Mph 42.7kcal 85.4kcal 128.1kcal
4 Mph 61.4kcal 122.7kcal 184.1kcal

 

Male, Age 40, 6ft tall, Weight 14st 7lb and has a Moderately Active lifestyle.

Walking Speed Calories Burned In
10 Mins 20 Mins 30 Mins
2 Mph 21.6kcal 43.3kcal 64.9kcal
3 Mph 40.6kcal 81.8kcal 121.7kcal
4 Mph 62.2kcal 124.5kcal 186.7kcal

What's My Walking Speed?

When you enter your walking into your Exercise Diary be sure to select the correct walking speed (you can choose 2mph - 4mph). If you are walking to improve your fitness 4mph will be more appropriate.

You can calculate your walking speed in two ways:

  1. Time how long it takes you to walk a mile (pre-measure it in the car)
    or
  2. Count the number of steps you take in 1 minute

Look up your figure on the chart below and read across to find your walking speed:

Steps/Minute* Minutes/Mile Mile/hour
70 30 2
90 24 2.5
105 20 3
120 17 3.5
140 15 4

*Based on a 2½ foot stride

Ideas to make walking more enjoyable

  • Walk your dog and let him take the lead
  • Plan a route so that you can visit friends/family along the way
  • Stop off half way at the park if you are walking with kids/dogs
  • Arrange to meet a friend half way
  • Take a music player with you
  • Treat yourself to walking equipment, this may motivate you to walk more
  • Contact local walking associations and join in
  • Plan fun exploration walks for the kids - get out and explore your local neighbourhood
  • Make it your mission to plan a new walk for each weekend - look out for local parks, country walks, etc
  • Pick different routes each week so that you don’t risk getting bored
  • Walk at various times of the day. The sights to see first thing in the morning are bound to be different to those of the afternoon or early evening

Safety tips for walking

It is very important that you keep safe and don’t put yourself at risk when walking:

  • Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your walk, especially if it’s a warm day
  • Make sure someone knows where you are and what time you are expected home
  • Think ahead and be aware of your surroundings
  • Always carry a small amount of emergency money and a mobile phone
  • Make yourself as visible as possible. Wear bright clothing during the day and white or reflective clothing at night
  • Wear appropriate footwear
  • Always walk facing oncoming traffic if you have to walk on the road

Why not get walking and start losing weight right now by joining the Walk the Weight Off Challenge 2016 – remember, you can try Weight Loss Resources absolutely free for 24hrs.

Walk Your Way to Weight Loss

See how many calories you can burn through walking, and how many you'll need each day to lose weight - simply register for free access to WLR Start Now

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References and Resources

Check out 100s of UK walks in our Walking Events Guide

The Ramblers, the UK's biggest charity for walkers.

*US National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) data

 

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