person walking on stairs

Best Advice When Walking for Weight Loss


The beauty of walking for weight loss is that it is so accessible. It is an all-ages activity because of its low impact on the body, no special training or equipment is required, it can be done almost anywhere, and it costs nothing. Brilliant!

However, while all of this makes walking sound like an easy option (because we know weight loss is not easy) the key is intensity and frequency. There’s no such thing as a free lunch and so if you are serious, both intensity and frequency will need to be amped up considerably if you wish to walk your way to weight loss.

Health Benefits of Walking

We are all well-versed in the benefits of walking by now, but let’s just march on the spot for a quick moment to truly admire the advantages of walking regularly.

  • Heart – increases the blood flow required to pump the heart effectively, promoting cardiovascular health
  • Brain – increases blood flow to the brain elevating mood, decreasing stress and releasing those happy hormones, endorphins
  • Blood – balances energy levels by keeping blood sugar levels even, as well as decreasing blood pressure
  • Cholesterol – decreases LDL or bad cholesterol and increases HDL or good cholesterol
  • Bones – maintains bone health due to light weight-bearing activity
  • Digestion – moves food through the digestive system, promoting regularity

And always be mindful of your posture: back straight, chin up, shoulders back, core engaged and swing your arms to ensure you’re getting the benefits you deserve.

Walking Intensity

This is where the rubber meets the road, or where your suitable footwear meets the footpath!

The key to successful weight loss through walking is intensity. You need to increase your heart rate to a moderate level (approximately 50%-70% of your maximum heart rate.) You need to become aware that your heart is beating faster.

Take 5 minutes to warm up at a regular walking pace then in order to increase your heart rate you need to walk with purpose. Consider you’re late for an appointment, so you’re moving with intention. Initially, this pace may be hard to maintain. Apply a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) approach. Walk with purpose for 400 metres, then ease off for 100 metres and repeat this strategy as you build endurance. You’ll find you will be able to increase the length of your moderate intensity walk until you don’t need the recovery walk and can leave that for your cool down.

For more interval training ideas, you may also like to break up the walk with a few squats, tricep dips or lunges, but get back into the walk while you have the momentum. Or consider switching up the track or terrain for additional benefits. The more often you challenge your body, the more agile it becomes.

Walking Frequency

If you are looking to drop a decent amount of weight, then you will need to increase the amount of times you walk each week. That’s not just physiology, that’s common sense.

2.5-5 hours of moderate activity is recommended, so if you are serious about losing weight through walking, the 5-hour recommendation should be the minimum target you need to achieve. You should also be walking at least 5 days per week.

You do need to push yourself in order to lose weight. Initially, if you find it easier to complete shorter walks on a more frequent basis, that can definitely be of benefit. Whatever it takes to build the habit. Initially, 15 minutes walks, 3 times each day may be more manageable than a 45 minute walk.

How Many Calories Does Walking Burn

Weight, speed and distance are all factors in determining your calorie burn, but walking at 5 kilometres per hour is considered moderate intensity and the pace you need to be at in order to burn calories. If you want a more precise idea you can always use a calorie burning walking calculator. Then multiply that number by the amount of times your walk per week for a respectable total.

Walk Into A Better Lifestyle

The reason why we’re here is for the calorie burn. When it comes to weight loss, we’re obsessed with the maths… but take a moment to reposition your thinking. If you are only doing it for the numbers and not the lifestyle, you will find yourself back where you started sooner than you think. If you change your body but not your mind, you won’t sustain your results. Start walking for weight loss, but continue walking everyday for your wellbeing.

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