Walking for Weight Loss: 11 Tips for Success
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Exercise is an essential component of any healthy lifestyle. However, many people find it difficult to get started — scheduling problems and current fitness levels tend to be significant barriers. Walking for weight loss may be the perfect solution.
Walking is quite possibly the simplest way to begin adding movement to your routine. It’s a low-impact activity, so it’s easy on the joints. You also don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership. You can walk just about anywhere and with any amount of time. With a few minor changes, you can transform this everyday action into a weight loss jumpstart.
1. Stretch It Out
No matter what fitness level you’re starting at, stretching is essential to prolonged physical activity. Without it, your muscles won’t be loose enough to work effectively, and you could injure yourself. Spend at least a few minutes warming up your muscles before each walk. Cool-down stretches after your walk are equally important because they’ll help your body recover for next time.
2. Wear Supportive Shoes
Extra steps here and there are fine in whatever shoes you’re already wearing. However, longer walks necessitate more supportive shoes. You need good ankle and arch support to prevent injury. Purchase a pair designed for exercise rather than fashion sneakers, which won’t hold up or help you in the long run.
3. Be Consistent
Walking only when you remember to isn’t going to help you reach your weight loss goals — making it a habit will. Start with a schedule you can stick to. Walking every day might not be doable if you’re just coming out of a sedentary lifestyle. Try once a week, but schedule it, so you stay consistent. Others may be able to walk a few times a week. The ultimate goal of walking for weight loss is to do some every day.
4. Have a Backup Plan
Don’t let bad weather keep you from maintaining your healthy habit. Have a few backup ideas so you can still get your steps in. You could head to the gym and use a treadmill, walk in place at home to a Youtube video or head to the mall and walk laps.
5. Get Some Accountability
Sharing your goals with someone else will help keep you accountable. You’ll be much more likely to succeed with people to cheer you on and ask how your walking is working. You may even be able to find a loved one who’s willing to walk with you.
6. Stay Hydrated
Like stretching, hydration is crucial for long-term walking and weight loss success. Dehydration leads to weakened muscles and a lack of energy, among other symptoms. Feeling that way won’t support your goals and will make keeping up with your walking habit much more difficult.
7. Use a Fitness Tracker
If your budget allows, a fitness tracker is a fantastic piece of equipment that will accentuate your walks. You’ll be able to track your distance, the number of steps taken, heart rate and calories burned. You can use these metrics to ensure you’re meeting your goals and keeping your heart rate in a fat-burning range.
8. Change Speeds and Location
Walking on rough terrain is more demanding on your muscles and burns more calories than on a flat surface. Adding inclines and declines to your route can also intensify the health benefits. Change your routine regularly to test your body in different ways and keep your habit from getting boring. Maybe one day you walk around town and the next you go for a hike with friends.
9. Add Weight
The more weight you carry, the harder your body will have to work to keep pace, and the more calories you’ll burn. Your starting weight will dramatically affect this, but you can add more by walking with hand or ankle weights. Some people even enjoy wearing a weighted vest, but those can get very hot in the summer.
10. Find Little Ways to Get More Steps
Many women avoid adding walking into their routine, claiming they don’t have the time. One of the best parts about walking is you don’t have to do it all in one go to see the benefits. Add extra steps throughout your day for an overall increase. You could go on a few shorter walks rather than one long one. Park at the back of the parking lot and take the stairs when possible. These little habits will add up to one big change.
11. Walk at an Optimal Time
You may wonder what’s the best time of day to walk for weight loss. While there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer, there are benefits to walking at different times of the day. A morning walk may curb your appetite and amp up your energy levels the rest of the day, while a mid-day walk may help you digest food post-lunchtime.
Walking during the evening hours may aid in weight loss if you struggle with the urge to overeat at dinnertime after a long day at work. The key is to listen to your body’s hunger signals and walk during periods when you’re the hungriest. Secondly, finding a time of day you’re likely to walk consistently for weight loss is key.
Walking for Weight Loss Is Part of a Healthy Lifestyle
Walking is a great way to jumpstart your journey to a healthier lifestyle — requiring no additional equipment or fancy gym membership. You’ll see benefits like improved mobility, increased lean muscle mass, better moods and some weight loss.
However, this habit alone is unlikely to help you reach your goals if you aren’t addressing other areas of your life as well. You can’t outrun a bad diet. Along with your daily walks, hydrate appropriately and focus on whole foods. Well-rounded lifestyle changes will bring better, longer-lasting weight loss than crazy fad diets or extreme forms of exercise.