You can lose weight by walking but it takes patience, persistence and hard work. To see results you must follow a consistent, moderately-intense workout regime and consume a healthful, reduced-calorie diet. Creating short-term goals and keeping track of your progress helps keep you focused and organized.
Other than a quality pair of walking shoes, little to no equipment is required. Consider using an inexpensive notebook or calendar to plan and log your workouts. Most fitness experts agree that adding ankle, foot, wrist or hand weights may cause strain, increasing your risk for injury. Adding weights burns few extra calories per mile, may slow you down and prevents you from swinging your arms, necessary for momentum. Though walking poles or weighted vests are options, these extras are not required. A pedometer helps you keep track of your steps per mile but you can also estimate this by using a walking pedometer step equivalent tool or chart.
The intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts play the most important role in the success of your efforts. The faster and longer you walk, the more calories you will burn, helping to create a calorie deficit. You need to expend 7,000 calories more than you need for weight maintenance to lose 2 lbs. per week. Trimming your diet and walking, at a brisk pace for about one hour, most days of the week, is the best way to create this deficit. Walk at a brisk pace, about 4 miles per hour (mph). According to the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), those able to maintain a significant weight loss usually engage in at least two sessions of total-body resistance-training exercise sessions weekly.
If you do not have a pedometer, estimate your pace using walking pedometer step equivalents. One mile is the equivalent of about 2,000 average steps. Count your steps for one minute every so often to make sure you are walking at your goal pace. For example, if you are striving to walk 4 mph, you should average about 152 steps per minute. If you clock 242 steps in one minute, your pace is closer to 5 mph. You can vary your pace by workout but keep in mind that race walking burns approximately 30% more calories per workout than walking at a moderate pace.
- Ainsworth BE et al. Compendium of Physical Activities: An update of activity codes and MET intensities. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000; 32 (Suppl): S498-S516.
- National Weight Control Registry Facts
- R Wing and Suzanne Phelan. Long term weight loss maintenance. Amer J Clin Nutr; Vol. 82, No. 1, 222S-225S, July 2005.