How Much Should You Walk to Lose Weight?

Walking for Weight Loss and to Burn Fat

Taking a Walk
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When you want to lose weight, many diet programs and health experts recommend brisk walking as a calorie-burning cardio exercise. But what is the right amount of walking each day to help you achieve your weight loss goals? Learn how to make brisk walking a part of your healthy lifestyle to lose weight.

How Long to Walk Each Day for Weight Loss

Aim for a brisk walk of 30 to 90 minutes most days of the week for weight loss.

You can walk more on some days and less on others, but the total time for the week should be at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours).

While you can break up your walking time into periods of 10 minutes or longer, you get an added benefit of burning fat when you walk briskly for longer than 30 minutes at a time after warming up.

If you're new to walking, get started with shorter periods of walking and steadily build up your walking time. You might want to take longer walks every other day at first. The 30-day quick start walking plan can be used to build up your time and endurance.

Burning Calories and Fat

At a brisk walking pace, you would burn 100 to 300 calories in 30 minutes (depending on your weight), or 200 to 600 calories in an hour. By walking for 30 minutes or more at a time, some of those calories will be from stored fat.

During the first 30 minutes of exercise, your body is burning sugars stored as fuel.

These are used up after about 30 minutes. To keep going, your body releases fat from your fat cells and burns it for fuel. This stored fat is exactly what you want to lose, and it's a good reason to build up your walking endurance so you can walk for more than 30 minutes at a time.

Walk most days of the week for at least 30 minutes to burn an extra 1000 to 3000 calories in total and to improve your metabolism each day.

Weight Loss Walking Workout

  • A walking workout of 30 to 60 minutes at 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate is recommended for walking for weight loss. Use the target heart rate chart to find the right heart rate, which varies by age.
  • Start with walking at an easy pace for five to 10 minutes.
  • Stop and do some stretches and flexibility exercises.
  • Walk at a brisk pace at your target heart rate for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Cool down at a slower pace for 5 minutes.
  • Finish with some gentle stretches.
  • For longer walks, walk for 30 to 60 minutes at your target heart rate and slow a bit to complete 90 or 120 minutes at a comfortable pace.
  • Maximize your 30-minute walk with these tips, including posture, walking form, and using intervals to add intensity.
  • See a suggested walking workout schedule for weight loss.

How Far Can You Walk in 30 Minutes?

If you walk at a brisk walking pace for 30 minutes, the distance you will cover would be:

  • 1.5 to 2 miles.
  • 2.5 to 3.3 kilometers
  • 3000 to 4500 pedometer steps.

What If You Can't Walk for 30 Minutes at a Time?

Life can be busy. If your schedule doesn't permit walking continuously for 30 minutes, break it up into walking two or three times a day for shorter periods of at least 10 minutes at a brisk pace.

Always warm up for 5 minutes at an easy pace no matter what duration you will be walking. You can use intervals, stairs, and brisk walking to get the most out of shorter walking workouts.

How Long Should You Walk Each Week?

  • For weight loss, it is recommended that you walk most days of the week. You should walk five days per week at a minimum. If you can walk every day, that is even better.
  • Try not to skip more than one day in a row. Consistency is good for burning calories and improving your metabolism, as well as for building new habits.
  • Your total time spent walking per week should be 5 to 10 hours.
  • On your non-walking days, try strength training exercises.
  • If you find yourself worn out, take a day off. But be sure to get back walking the following day.

Watching What You Eat Is Also Essential for Weight Loss

An extra candy bar or bag of potato chips each day will eliminate any weight loss you may hope for from exercise alone. To lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than you burn. Most people cannot estimate their calorie intake accurately unless they keep a food diary (on paper or with an app) for a few days and do the totals. Weight loss success is due to eating fewer total calories than you burn off each day.

The American Heart Association and CDC recommend at least 2.5 hours a week of moderately intense physical activity (such as brisk walking) to maintain weight and reduce health risks. For weight loss, more physical activity and reducing the calories you eat are necessary. Aim to eat 500 fewer calories per day to lose weight.

How to Keep Weight Off

Don't stop physical activity once you reach your goal weight. The CDC recommends that to maintain weight loss you should spend 60 to 90 minutes most days of week in moderate-intensity physical activity while not eating more calories than you expend all day.

A Word From Verywell

You've taken the first step towards a healthy weight and an active lifestyle. It may sound a little daunting to think of how much physical activity is needed to burn calories. But it's also the amount recommended to reduce your health risks for diabetes, heart disease, and more. Your weight loss journey can also bring you better health through an active lifestyle. You may also find that you prefer bicycling, or swimming, or playing a sport. It's good to mix it up. Get moving and keep moving for a healthier life at any weight.

Sources:

CDC. Getting started with physical activity for a healthy weight.

CDC. Keeping It Off.

American Heart Association. Losing weight.

CDC. Physical Activity and Health: The Benefits of Physical Activity.

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