When you think of torching major calories and body fat, walking probably doesn’t usually come to mind. But believe it or not, a good walk can really get you into major fat- and calorie-burning mode without having to hit the gym or put undue stress and pressure on your joints. You don’t necessarily have to participate in an intense workout to burn body fat.
Does walking burn fat and help you lose weight? Definitely! The key is to work hard and long enough to see results.
Of all exercises, walking is the one workout that most able-bodied people can do. There are no fancy exercise machines required, nor do you need a gym membership. You don’t even need to be in great shape to start a walking regimen! But the shape that you can be in after a few weeks of walking on a regular basis and following a sound walking plan can help you achieve weight loss success!
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In fact, walking is an awesome exercise for fat loss. Sure, there are plenty of other exercises that you can do to achieve the same goals, but walking is a very safe exercise that can still produce the same calorie-burning effects. If you can spend 45 minutes walking a few times per week, you can tap into your body’s fat reserves and burn stored fat.
As long as you walk long and fast enough during each session, you can experience incredible fat burning without any fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships!
Ready to get started? Keep reading to find out how and why walking is a great workout, as well as a handy and easy-to-follow 7-day walking regimen that will obliterate those fat stores!
How Long Should Your Walks Be to Burn Fat?
In order to maximize the effectiveness of your body to burn its stored fat, you should aim to walk for a minimum of 45 minutes. Allowing enough time to take a brisk walk will do your body a lot of good. And the longer you can walk, the better!
Don’t fret: you don’t have to jump right into a brisk pace as soon as you hit the pavement. Instead, the first 5-10 minutes should be spent warming up your body in preparation for a faster stride. During this initial warm-up session, you’ll help your body burn up any glycogen (sugar) stores in your body that you consumed in the form of food.
When these stores of carbs in your body have been depleted, your body will be in fat-burning mode and ready for the remaining minutes of your walk. Once all stored glycogen have been burned up, that’s when the real fat-burning begins. That’s why it’s so important to allow enough time for your walk in order to make this magic happen.
Before you begin, make sure that you have enough time to dedicate to your walk. While a 20-30 minute walk might be better than nothing, you’ll be minimizing the fat-burning effects of your time walking. Pencil in your walk so that you can be sure to get the full 45 minutes in.
Once your time is up, give yourself another 10 minutes to cool down and bring your heart rate back down to what it was at before you began your workout.
If your body is not accustomed to walking briskly for at least 45 minutes, be patient with yourself. Give yourself a few days to gradually work yourself up to the pace and time that you eventually want to walk for.
Start with 10-15 minutes per day, then increase your time by 5 minutes every session until you’ve reached that 45-minute mark, or beyond! Allowing your body to work its way up will minimize the chances of injury and will help keep you motivated with the small improvements you make every day.
How Fast Should You Walk to Burn Fat?
The actual speed at which you walk isn’t really the key. Instead, it’s your heart rate that you should be measuring. Whatever speed gets you into your target heart rate zone is what you should be after.
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In order to maximize your fat-burning capability, you’ll want to work at a moderate intensity pace that keeps your heart rate within 55-70 percent of your maximum heart rate. According to studies, maximum fat oxidation (which is the breakdown or burning of body fat) occurs within this range1.
So, what is your maximum heart rate? How do you calculate it, and how do you ensure that you remain working within your “fat-burning” zone?
As you would imagine, everyone has their own specific maximum heart rate. This will depend on your age and your fitness level. To find out what your maximum heart rate is, you can use a simple calculation by subtracting your age from 220.
If you’re 40 years old, for instance, your maximum heart rate would be 180. While this is a very simplified calculation that doesn’t take other factors into consideration, it’s a great place to start. Once you have your number, you can then calculate 55 percent and 70 percent of your answer to give you your heart rate range to work within.
To make things easier for you, consider getting yourself a heart rate monitor or fitness watch that will monitor your heart rate for you while you walk so you don’t have to constantly check for a pulse. If you find that your heart rate isn’t high enough, you can either walk faster or walk on an incline.
As long as you work within your fat-burning range, you’re good to go!
Does Walking Burn Belly Fat?
We’ve already mentioned that walking can certainly burn body fat, but what about belly fat, more specifically? Can walking target the fat around your midsection?
Absolutely! In fact, studies have shown that brisk walking on a regular basis is especially good for targeting belly fat2. Not only can this help you look and feel better, but it can also help reduce your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes that are associated with larger waistlines.
Does Walking Burn More Fat Than Jogging?
Both walking and jogging are great for burning body fat. But many people may believe that jogging is more effective at burning fat simply because of its higher intensity. It is true that if you work harder, you’ll expend more energy in a shorter period of time compared to lower-intensity exercises.
But walking at higher intensities can result in similar levels of fat-burning. Studies suggest that exercise performed at approximately 65 percent of VO2 max (or maximum oxygen consumption) burns almost twice as much fat as exercises that are performed at 25 percent of VO2 max.
As long as you’re working hard enough to stay within your fat-burning zone, you’ll be able to burn plenty of body fat during a walking routine. Consistency is key, however. In order to see results, you’ll need to adopt a routine and maintain it for the long haul.
Your 7-Day Walking Plan to Blast Calories and Fat!
To help you get started on your path to a leaner you, we’ve developed a 7-day walking routine that you can follow every day to reach your goals. But before you head outdoors, be sure to get yourself a decent pair of walking shoes in order to avoid any annoying shin splints or painful blisters.
Now, walking doesn’t necessarily have to be mundane and boring. There’s no reason why you can’t change things up every day that you walk to keep things interesting and motivating.
Test yourself out the first day that you hit the trails. Since you’re just starting out this new routine, you’ll want to take things slowly the first day in order to avoid overexerting yourself and even potentially getting injured. In order to prevent early burn-out, start slowly and work your way up.
Dedicate about 45 minutes to your walk and start off with a 10-minute warmup and walk at an easy pace. You don’t want your heart rate to jump right into the fat-burning zone. Instead, you want to ease your way in.
Once you’re warm and limbered up, quicken your pace a little. For the next 10-15 minutes, bring your heart rate up to anywhere between 55-70 percent of your maximum heart rate. If you find that it’s a bit much for you, slow down. But if you find yourself doing well, keep it up! After 45 minutes, you’ll get a feel of how quickly you should be walking and how hard you should be working to hit your target.
7-Day Fat Burning Walking Routine
The first day of your routine will involve a steady-state walk. You’ll want to maintain a steady pace that will keep your heart rate within 55-70 percent of your maximum heart rate to optimize your fat-burning effects.
To change things up on your second day, give intervals a shot. After your warmup, walk for 10 minutes at a brisk pace. Then, find yourself an area with an incline and walk uphill for five minutes. On your way back down, you should be able to cover the same distance in 3-4 minutes.
Repeat this round three times, then slow things down to bring your heart rate back to where it was before you started. Every time you repeat this 7-day walking routine, you should see an improvement in how long it takes you to complete these rounds.
This day will also involve intervals, some high intensity intervals, and some lower intensity. But these intervals will not involve the incline or decline of the terrain you’re walking on. Instead, you’ll be changing up your pace.
You’ll perform five intervals, each of which will last nine minutes:
- Moderate pace
- Brisk pace
- Slower pace
- Moderate pace
- Brisk pace
Cool down for about 10 minutes until you bring your heart rate back down to normal.
This is “active rest” day. No workout routine should really be done seven times per week. You need to give your body a break and rest. But rather than veg out on the couch all day in the name of rest, you’re going to “actively” rest your body by doing another light physical activity in lieu of walking.
Choose an activity that you enjoy but that will still lightly engage your muscles. For instance, you could do some yoga, stretching, or just a light 15-minute stroll to keep your body limber without exerting yourself and burning yourself out from your walking workout. You’ll pick up right where you left off tomorrow.
Today, you’ll get right back into brisk walking. This will be a rather straightforward day of walking and will involve a 45-minute stroll within your target heart rate range.
In addition to walking today, you’re going to throw in a few extra moves every few minutes to help strengthen your muscles while keeping things interesting. After every seven minutes, do the following:
- 10 Lunges
- 30 Seconds of high knees
- 15 Air squats
- 30 Seconds of lateral shuffles
- 30 Seconds of butt kickers (jogging on the spot, touching your heels to your buttocks)
- 30 Seconds of jogging
This should take you up to the full 45-minute mark to complete your session.
You’re going to finish off your week by adding a few more minutes to the clock. Rather than your traditional 45 minutes, try to go for 60. This is where you’ll really test yourself and push yourself a little more to help increase your stamina and endurance. If you don’t push yourself physically, you’ll never improve. Strides are made when you challenge your body, and going a few more minutes can help you do just that.
You might think that walking is a boring activity, but it doesn’t have to be. Not only that, but it can be the exact workout that will help you finally shed those unwanted pounds and burn that extra body fat you’ve been wanting to eliminate.
So, does walking burn fat? It sure does! Try our 7-day walking routine, and you’ll be hooked!