Walking is one of the most basic motor skills of human beings. Even with such a simplistic nature, it holds great mental and physical benefits. Not only is it a great way for you to cover distances, but it also allows you to think while muscle groups and fat cells are being stimulated.
The allure of a healthy body is undeniable, and many have decided to quite literally walk a path to weight loss. As it is not the most strenuous of exercises, walking is an exercise that many people look forward to doing daily.
Perhaps you are one of these avid walkers and you are considering making use of one of your favorite past times for its health benefits. This is a companied by the thought of just how much walking is necessary to achieve notable weight loss.
To assist you in your planning process, this article goes through the daily walking requirements for weight loss.
Understanding the Relationship Between Walking and Weight Loss
The first thing to understand is how weight loss is achieved. The key factors at play are exercise, nutrition, and rest. For the purpose of this article, the focus is the exercise component. Calorie burn is triggered whenever exercise is done. These calories are initially obtained during the nutrition process. Once the number of calories burned through exercise exceeds the number that is consumed by a satisfactory amount, weight loss is usually achieved.
As stated before, walking is not the most strenuous of exercises, so achieving the calorie burn required means that more time must be spent walking, than the time spent on other fat burning exercises, to achieve similar results.
Bearing all this in mind, you must be prepared to undertake lengthy spells of walking. If you’re a true lover of the exercise, this is no problem. The question of just how much walking is needed daily cannot be answered all at once. To get to the answer the following must be considered:
- The distance required daily
- The required daily step count
- The amount of time that should be dedicated to walking daily
Note that all of these are daily metrics and the combined answers of all of these yields the required information for your daily walking needs.
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Before exploring each of the four areas listed above, consider these baselines. Using average measurements, one mile can be equated to 2,000 steps. These 2,000 steps burn 100 calories if an average pace is maintained. It is believed that 3,500 calories need to be burned to lose one pound. These figures assume a proper 3,000 calorie diet daily. Finally, it is believed that three miles can be walked in an hour.
The Required Daily Distance
Based on the metrics presented above, you can already start to picture the kind of distance you need to cover daily. This depends on your weight loss target in not only pounds but also time. Typically, persons consider the number of pounds they wish to lose, but they do not consider the period in which they wish to do so. Ensure that both the number of pounds and the period are set realistically based on your fitness level. Once you know those figures, use them to calculate the required calorie burn, to get the required distance. See the example below.
Imagine your weight loss goal is 10 pounds. Now, imagine you want to lose that 10 pounds in a single month. One month gives you four weeks. This means that you need to lose 2.5 pounds weekly. If one mile only burns 100 calories, and it takes 3500 calories to lose a pound, then 35 miles are required to lose a single pound. This means that 87.5 miles are required in a week to lose 2.5 pounds. This results in 12.5 miles of walking daily.
The Daily Step Count
The good thing about these metrics is they feed into each other, and so by shifting your focus slightly, you can arrive at different aspects of your requirements. Your step count is simply the number of miles multiplied by 2,000 as that is the number of steps that make a mile on average.
Using the example above, 12.5 miles means 25,000 steps are required daily.
The Daily Duration Requirement
Consistency is key in any workout regime and walking is no different. Your walking regimen must be regular to keep the body in a state of both active and passive burn as your metabolism increases. Try to spread your walking quota evenly across at least five days of the week. Also, ensure your targets allow for at least one hour of walking daily.
To help you along your walking journey, consider the following:
- Don’t start off at the pace you plan to maintain throughout the walk. Build up to it instead from a slow starting pace
- Ensure your natural pace is about 60% of your maximum so you can get a good burn for an extended time.
- Use the same slow starting pace to finish.
- Remember to stretch when it is over to avoid soreness and promote muscle regeneration.
With all the information presented, there should now be no doubt in your mind about what your daily requirement is, once you have established your goals.
Now, let the walking begin!