6 proven strategies to lose weight through walking

Regular walking can help with weight loss, but to burn calories and torch fat more effectively you’ll need to add to your weight loss walking routine. Weight loss walking is easy to work into your daily routine, and you can increase the intensity gradually while minimizing the impact on your joints. Having the right strategy helps you avoid common weight loss walking mistakes, and keeps you motivated and focused on your walking goals.

Use these 6 proven strategies to burn more calories, get healthier, and build strength and endurance. Turn your daily walking plan into a calorie-torching weight loss routine!

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Multiple Walks for Consistent Fitness

Businesswoman taking a quick walking break
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If you can’t work in a single 30-minute walk daily, break your walking up into multiple shorter walks. 30 minutes of daily brisk walking is important for improving your heart health, building muscle and bone strength, and even boosting your mental clarity. For the most part, it doesn’t matter if you do that 30 minutes all at one time or do several walks that add up to 30 minutes total.

Studies have shown that to get the full walking benefits; you should be walking for at least 150 minutes a week. Taking a bunch of shorter walks may have additional benefits to both your steps and your waistline. Walking after eating has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar levels, and may help encourage you to eat a smaller meal. If you work at a sedentary job, standing and moving for even 5 minutes every hour can help to undo the health risks of sitting for prolonged periods.

Higher Intensity for More Calories Burned

Man walking up stairs as an intense workout
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A moderately paced walk is excellent at relieving stress and anxiety as well as improving the cardiovascular system. However, if you want to ramp up that weight loss, then high-intensity fitness walks can burn more calories, get more steps, and get you more fit fast.

Here are some ways you can increase your calorie burn without necessarily increasing your walking speed.

  • Walk on an incline: Walking on an incline, either by adding hills to your walking route our a treadmill on an incline setting, can burn 50% more calories than level walking. You can work hills into your daily walk or set aside a day or two for more intense walking. Incline walking is higher impact on your body, and don’t forget that walking down hills can be intense as well!
  • Walk stairs: Walking stairs may be the most intense form of walking you can do, burning up to double the calories of level walking. Stair walking is more intense on your body and joints, however, so be careful!
  • Walking poles: Nordic walking, or walking with poles, can add an upper body workout to your walking routine. Nordic walking burns additional calories, and the poles can help prevent slips while taking some strain off of your joints.

Walk Faster for More Steps

3 women power walking on a city bridge
Rido / Shutterstock

One of the easiest ways to make your walking routine more challenging, intense, and productive is to increase your walking speed. The faster you walk, the more calories burned while walking. What’s great about increasing the speed of your walks is you don’t have to walk at super-fast speeds for the whole length of time to reap the benefits, even short bursts of speed walking will get you the results you want.

  • Interval training: Interval training combines short bursts of fast walking with longer recovery periods of regular-speed walking. Begin at a reasonable pace for five to ten minutes and then increase your speed to almost an unsustainable pace for 10 to 15 seconds before you return to your average pace again. Repeat this sequence for as long as you can handle it. Here’s a 15-minute interval workout to get you started.
  • Power Walking: Power walking uses exaggerated arm motion to help you walk faster and get a slight upper-body workout while you walk. If you can perfect your power walking form, you may be able to walk faster for longer periods of time.

Eat Better for Faster Results

Woman eating a healthy oatmeal breakfast before a walk
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While fitness walking is a great way to lose weight, to unlock its full potential you will want to improve your eating at the same time. The biggest mistake most people make when they start an exercise routine to lose weight is they think that they can eat whatever they want and be able to lose weight just by walking. In reality, you would have to walk 3 to 5 miles just to burn a candy bar. However, you don’t need a drastic diet overhaul to see results; simple changes in your daily nutrition can leave you feeling and looking amazing.

  • Drink More Water: Swap out the sodas and juices and grab a bottle of water instead. Not only can water fill you up, so you end up eating fewer calories, but you will be reducing your sugar intake significantly.
  • Eat Fruits & Veggies: Aim for 5-10 servings of fruits and veggies per day. Green, leafy vegetables especially are high in fiber and can help keep you full longer.
  • Know your portions: Take some time to learn the correct portion sizes of your favorite foods and snacks. This can also allow you to eat many things you love without overdoing it on the calorie front.
  • Make at home: Cooking at home can save you money and calories. While it may take more effort than eating out, you can learn some basic cooking techniques for fast and healthy meals.
  • Snack better: Make your own low-calories snacks and keep them close by and easy to grab. Swap out candy or chocolate for veggies and hummus or some low-cal air-popped popcorn.

Get More Steps for More Fitness

Father and son fitness walking in park
hedgehog94 / Shutterstock

A 2016 research study showed that those that are wanting to lose weight by walking should aim to get at least 10,000 steps a day, which is roughly equivalent to five miles. The more steps you take, the more calories you burn, so walking even more than 10,000 steps can get you even better results. Huge steps counts don’t have to be challenging or tedious, either. Getting creative and working more steps in your day can increase the number of steps you take with minimal effort, including:

  • Park farther away.
  • Walk to lunch, school, or any other activity that you can.
  • During work or school, take short walking breaks instead of heading for the break room.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Wake up earlier in the morning and get an extra walk done
  • Walk in place and pace during commercials or do other forms of in-home cardio

Strength Training to Boost Metabolism

In addition to walking and other forms of cardio, most health organizations also recommend doing at least some strength training on a weekly basis. Strength training not only helps you burn more calories, but it can help prevent injuries and preserve muscle mass for older people. That is why combining strength training with a walking routine is perfect for those wanting to get leaner, toner, and stronger while building muscles all at the same time. Here are some bodyweight exercises you can try.

  • Bodyweight Squats: You can do bodyweight squats during a break in your walk. A great thing about squats is they’re easy to do and you can perform them at any time during a walking workout.
  • Push-ups: Push-ups are excellent for building upper body strength as well as maintaining a strong core. Even 10-15 push-ups a day will work all those muscles. You may want to try these at home, but you can still drop to the ground in a park if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty!
  • Lunges and Burpees: If you’re more experienced with strength exercises or feeling adventurous, these are great for building leg muscles. They can also help to improve endurance while increasing your heart-rate so that you will be burning maximum calories. Make sure to find a resource to make sure you’re doing these correctly

There are many resources online including videos and detailed descriptions on how to perform these moves correctly (we’re partial to our Pacer workouts by we may be a bit biased). Take the time to learn the moves and do them slowly to reduce your risk of injury.

Final Thoughts

If you’re exercising for fitness, you’re probably looking an activity that they can do almost daily that doesn’t take much time and money, and can leave them with amazing results. What most people have a hard time believing is that they already have this activity available to them, and all it takes is a good pair of walking shoes.

Losing weight doesn’t have to be difficult, confusing, or expensive. With the right technique, tips, and game plan, your walking routine will be all that you need to get the results you want.

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How Much to Eat When You Are Walking to Lose Weight. (2018). By Wendy Bumgardner. VeryWellFit.

How Much Should You Walk to Lose Weight? (2019). By Wendy Bumgardner. VeryWellFit.

Effects of 10,000 steps a day on physical and mental health in overweight participants in a community setting: a preliminary study. (2016). By Yuenyongchaiwat K. Braz J Phys Ther. 2016;20(4):367–373. doi:10.1590/bjpt-rbf.2014.0160

Greater Weight Loss from Running than Walking during a 6.2-yr Prospective Follow-up. (2013). By Paul Williams. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: April 2013 – Volume 45 – Issue 4 – p 706-713. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31827b0d0a

Does Walking Help with Weight Loss? (2020). BY MARTY MUNSON AND MELISSA MATTHEWS. Men’s Health. 

What to know about walking for weight loss. (ND). Medical News Today.


4 thoughts on “6 proven strategies to lose weight through walking

  1. My understanding is that when you walk before or after eating can be dependent upon your gender. It was explained to me that as a female, my physiology responds differently than a male’s physiology. Therefore, as a female, I would walk before eating not after. I would appreciate more information in reference to the information I have. Thank you

    1. Hi Louise. We didn’t see any research showing that walking before dinner is better for women than men, but if you have some please share it with us. In general, getting more steps is good no matter when you get the steps. If walking before eating works better for you then definitely go for that!

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