Disclaimer: We assess fitness products through an unbiased, multi-step process. If you decide to buy something using the links we provide, we might receive a commission. Check out our disclaimer page for more information.
Walking on a regular basis can help by burning off extra calories and developing lean muscle. Routine activities like walking can help you lose weight and belly fat as well as offer other health benefits.
It’s essential to keep up regular exercise for sustaining optimal health and well-being.
Exercise not only contributes to a longer, healthier life but also helps effectively manage your weight. Study 1
Walking doesn’t just offer health benefits. It’s among the simplest exercises to blend into your daily lifestyle.
This article digs into the ways of how increasing your walk frequency can help you lose weight and belly fat.
How walking can help you lose weight
Walking burns calories
Your body requires energy, in the form of calories, to perform a myriad of complex chemical reactions that enable you to move, breathe, think, and function.
However, everyone’s daily caloric requirements differ based on factors such as age, height, weight, gender, genes, and activity levels.
It’s commonly known that to lose weight, you need to burn a greater number of calories than you consume. Study 1
Additionally, individuals who are more physically active burn more calories compared to those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Study 1
Regrettably, contemporary living and work conditions might result in prolonged periods of sitting, particularly in desk-bound jobs.
Such a sedentary lifestyle can not only lead to weight gain but also elevate the risk of health complications. Study 1
Attempting to walk more frequently as a means to increase physical activity can help burn additional calories and mitigate these risks. Study 1
In fact, an estimated 100 calories are burned when you walk a mile (1.6 km), depending on factors like your gender and weight . Study 1
A study evaluated the calorie burn in individuals of average fitness level when walking at a brisk 3.2 miles (5 km) per hour or running at 6 mph for roughly a mile. Results revealed that those walking at a brisk pace burned around 90 calories per mile on average. Study 1
Moreover, while running did burn considerably more calories, the difference was around just 23 additional calories per mile on average, suggesting both types of exercise significantly contribute to total calorie burn.
To increase the intensity of your walk and burn additional calories, consider walking paths with hills or slight inclines. Study 1
It helps preserve lean muscle
When individuals reduce their calorie intake and lose weight, they often lose muscle mass along with body fat.
This can be counterproductive as muscle is more metabolically active than fat, meaning more muscle mass helps in burning more calories daily.
Physical activities, including walking, can counteract this effect by helping maintain lean muscle during weight loss.
Additionally, regular exercise can reduce the muscle loss that comes with aging, thereby enabling you to maintain more of your muscle strength and functionality in your later years. Study 1
Walking reduces belly fat
Having an excess amount of fat around your belly area is linked with an elevated risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Study 1
Specifically, men with a waist measurement over 40 inches (102 cm) and women with a waist measurement exceeding 35 inches (88 cm) are deemed to have abdominal obesity, which carries health risks.
In a small study, obese women who committed to walking for 50-70 minutes three times a week over a period of 12 weeks managed to noticeably decrease their waist size and overall body fat. The fat just beneath the skin (subcutaneous) and the hidden fat in the abdominal cavity (visceral) were both significantly less in the exercise group compared to the control group.
Furthermore, another study showed that individuals on a calorie-controlled diet who walked for one hour, five times a week over a 12-week period lost more inches off their waistlines and more body fat than those who solely followed the diet.
It improves your mood
Exercise is known for its mood boosting effects.
This happens as exercise enhances your brain’s sensitivity to serotonin and norepinephrine hormones. These hormones help relieve feelings of depression and stimulate the release of endorphins, known as “feel-good” hormones. Study 1
This benefit alone is noteworthy. However, the mood improvement from regular walking could also make the habit more sustainable.
People tend to exercise less when they don’t enjoy it, often due to the exercise being excessively demanding. Study 1
That’s why walking, which is a moderate-intensity exercise,is an excellent choice. It’s likely to motivate you to walk more rather than giving up.
Walking can help you keep weight off
Many people who manage to lose weight eventually regain it. Study 1
However, consistent exercise plays a vital role in maintaining weight loss. Study 1
Regular physical activities such as walking not only boost the amount of energy you burn daily but also help in building lean muscle, thereby increasing your calorie burn even while at rest.
A review suggested that to maintain a steady weight, one should aim to walk a minimum of 150 minutes per week.
In fact, research has found that individuals who exercise the most tend to be the most successful at maintaining their weight loss, while those who exercise the least are more prone to regaining the weight. Study 1
By adding more walking into your daily routine, you can increase your exercise volume and contribute to your daily activity targets.
How to incorporate more walking into your lifestyle
Becoming more physically active offers numerous benefits beyond weight loss, including:
- Enhancing fitness and mood
- Lowering disease risk
- Boosting the chances of a longer, healthier lifespan
Due to this, it’s recommended that individuals engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly.
In terms of walking, this translates to roughly 2.5 hours of brisk-paced walking per week (in increments of at least 10 minutes each). Engaging in more exercise than this can provide even more health benefits and further decrease disease risk.
There are numerous strategies to increment the amount of walking you do and meet this goal.
Here are some suggestions:
- Use a fitness tracker and record your steps to inspire you to be more active. Study 1
- Establish a routine of brisk walks during your lunch break and/or after dinner.
- Invite a friend for an evening walk.
- Go for walks with your family and children.
- Take your dog for daily walks or join a friend on their dog walks.
- Conduct walking meetings with colleagues, rather than sitting at your desk.
- Run errands like dropping off the kids at school or shopping for groceries on foot.
- Walk to work. If the distance is too great, park your car farther away, or alight from the bus a few stops early and walk the remaining distance.
- Choose new and challenging paths to keep your walks engaging.
- Join a walking group.
Every bit counts, so start small and aim to gradually increase your daily walking distance.
Walking is a moderate-intensity activity that can be seamlessly integrated into your everyday routine.
By merely increasing the frequency of your walks, you can help yourself to lose weight loss and belly fat, along with countless other health advantages such as reducing disease risk and boosting mood.
In reality, a single mile of walking can burn approximately 100 calories.
If your aim is to manage your weight more effectively, combining a rise in physical activity with a nutrient-dense, balanced diet presents the optimal strategy to reach your goal.