Walking to lose weight: Best tips to burn fat

Megan Smith
 min read

Walking to lose weight is not only doable, it is easy to incorporate in your day-to-day activities.

Walking to lose weight: Best tips to burn fatWould you like to lose some weight and fat? Walking is a cheap and extremely way to attain that.

As a general rule, walking to lose weight only works if you expend more energy than you consume. You can do this by eating less (taking in fewer calories) or by exercising more. The best method is a combination of moving more and changing your diet.

Read on for more detailed information and tips to burn fat while walking.

Walking to lose weight and enjoy the benefits of walking

Walking is a great way to get some exercise. All you have to do is step out of your front door, and what’s more, it’s relatively inexpensive.

Other than a pair of hiking boots that fit comfortably and comfortable clothing, you don’t really need anything.

Tip: Check out our top walking shoes guide for plus-size hikers and our helpful information on breaking in your new shoes: How do you break in new walking shoes? Essential advice

Plus, you’ll be outdoors and see a lot of your surroundings while hiking. That’s much more fun than the machines at the local gym, isn’t it?

Because walking (compared to running, for example) is easier to maintain for a long time, you can end up burning more energy.

In addition, walking is less risky for injury, which is why you can easily do it several times a week, even if you suffer from obesity.

Lastly, walking has many health benefits, too. Read all about them on Mental health benefits of walking outside: Overview

How many calories do you burn hiking?

This depends on your pace, the length of your walk, and your body weight.

On average, you’ll burn about 310 calories with an hour of walking at medium speed.

Walking is healthy. Besides being a great way to clear your head and enjoy the outdoors, walking is also great for working on your physical health and fitness.

You strengthen your muscles, you work on your fitness and at the same time you burn calories. But how exactly does that work?

Walking to lose weight, how does that work?

To move and walk, your body needs energy. Your body gets that from food, which is then converted into energy.

Every body is different so for everyone the need for energy is also different.

Factors that influence it include age, gender, weight, but also, for example, your build, the extent of your daily activity, the duration and length of your walk.

If you want to consume more calories, you should walk longer and faster in theory.

But in doing so, remember that lengthening distances and increasing pace increase the risk of overuse and injury.

So the choice to walk faster or longer is very personal.

You should also consider the external conditions. Now you have plus-minus an idea of what a walk costs you in energy.

But external factors also have a major impact on your energy consumption.

Are you experiencing stress, are you not quite fit, are you getting sick or are you facing extreme weather conditions?

In these cases, your body also uses more energy.

Tips on walking to lose weight

Walk several times a week

Walking once a week will not produce many results. Therefore, schedule several walks per week.

Progress slowly to minimize injury

Build your walking pace and distance slowly to minimize the risk of injury.

Make it easier by combining with other daily activities

Is it hard to fit hikes into your busy schedule? Then try to combine walking with your daily activities. For example, get off  the bus, a stop earlier to walk the last leg to work or take a walk during your lunch break.

Adjust your diet to burn more than you take in

Make sure you take in fewer calories than you burn. Don’t overdo it.

A crash diet will cause you to run out of energy pretty quickly. Moreover, this is usually not sustained for long.

Eat smaller but varied portions so you get all the nutrients.

Lose weight sustainably, not quickly

It is wise to lose a maximum of one-half to one pound per week. Losing more weight is not good for your body and it is also much harder to maintain. Focus on long-term sustainable weight loss.

Drink plenty and regularly

You also lose moisture while hiking. Replenish your fluid levels in a timely manner.

Don’t choose high-calorie beverages. Preferably drink water or herbal tea. On longer hikes, be sure to bring a bottle of water.

Bring a snack to keep you going

On long walks, also bring something to eat, such as fruit or a brown sandwich (whole wheat). If you get a hunger pang, you can take some quick energy (an energy bar, for example) to continue your walk.

Mind your walking technique

While walking, pay attention to your technique. For example, don’t drag your feet, or expend unnecessary energy through a pronounced heel strike or due to swinging your arms sideways.

Keep an upright posture, don’t slouch forward, and look ahead, not at your feet. Also, try not to bounce up and down too much, you want to use most of your energy to go forward, not upward against gravity.

Make yourself accountable by walking with a buddy

Do you find it difficult to stick to your walking schedule? Then find a hiking buddy. You then have a reason to show up for your walk at the appointed time and place.

Not wanting to disappoint your walking partner creates some social accountability and will make it easier to actually show up and get your steps in.

Enjoy the walk and introduce variation

Then you’ll more easily keep up with putting on your walking shoes several times a week. For variety, pick different routes and areas.

Walk and burn fat in a sustainable way

Do you think you are overweight and want to lose weight? Then you will need to change a few things in your life.

By handling food differently, you’ll get fewer calories and make sure you do get the right nutrients.

In addition, you burn calories with exercise.

If you want a long-term effect and not to fall into the trap of crash diets, then changing your lifestyle is the way to go. But how do you do that in a sustainable way?

Reduce your calorie intake

Let’s start with your nutrition. You are what you eat and every pound goes through the mouth are well-known sayings and they are quite true.

If you are gaining weight and fat mass, it means you are taking in more calories per day than you are actually consuming.

Eating too much once a day is not a problem, but if it happens regularly you will notice it when you stand on the scales or when you can no longer close your pants.

How many calories you need per day is different for each person. But you can make a rough calculation of what you need in calories based on gender, age, height and daily activities.

To reduce your calories you will need to make choices in what you eat in a day. Choose healthy and nutritious products and leave sugary products out as much as possible.

Choosing nutritious products will also keep you feeling satiated longer, which will reduce cravings for sweet snacks.

Did you know that obesity can also have a medical basis?

If that applies to you and you want to lose weight, contact your doctor or a nutritionist/lifestyle coach who can help you personally.

How to burn fat by walking

In addition to reducing your calorie intake, you can boost weight loss by burning more calories. You do that by being active.

Now, it’s not that the harder you exercise, the more fat you burn.

Burning fat by walking is possible by keeping your heart rate below a certain value which causes your body to tap into its fat reserves. The more intense your exercise, the more your body calls on carbohydrates from your diet instead of your fat reserves.

In short: Walking is the ideal sport to tap into your fat reserves and burn calories!

The ideal heart rate zone for fat burning

You can calculate your ideal heart rate zone for fat burning. To do this, you need to know your resting pulse and your maximum heart rate.

Your resting pulse is best measured in the morning when you have just woken up by feeling the pulse in your wrist for a minute. The number of beats in a minute is your resting pulse, say 75 heartbeats.

Your maximum heart rate is a little trickier to determine. If you want to know exactly, you can take an exercise test during a sports medical examination.

You can also roughly calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, a 45-year-old person would have 220 – 45 = 175 as their maximum heart rate.

Now that you know your resting pulse and your maximum heart rate, the next step is to calculate the heart rate zone in which you should walk to have the most fat-burning effect.

Karvonen method

To calculate the ideal heart rate zone for fat burning, you can use Karvonen’s method. But there are several calculation methods available so you are free to choose.

Karvonen’s method assumes 5 different heart rate zones that increase in intensity.

This method is mainly used by runners but the fat-burning zone can of course be calculated for walkers as well.

The formula used here is the following:

Resting heart rate + (Maximum heart rate – Resting heart rate) x Y % = Optimal heart rate for fat burning

The Y represents the percentage belonging to the desired zone.

  • Zone 1 = fat burning zone: 55 – 65% of maximum heart rate
  • Zone 2 = fitness zone: 60 – 70% of maximum heart rate
  • Zone 3 = condition zone: 70 – 80% of maximum heart rate
  • Zone 4 = performance zone: 80 – 90% of maximum heart rate
  • Zone 5 = match/turnover point: 90 – 95% of maximum heart rate

Calculation example

The same person from above with a maximum heart rate of 175 has a resting pulse of 75.

The optimal training heart rate for fat burning (zone 1) for this person is a heart rate between 130 and 140:

  • 75 + (175 – 75) x 55% = 130
  • 75 + (175 – 75) x 65% = 140

If the person walks at a heart rate that is between 130 and 140, this person will be able to burn maximum fat.

If you want to get serious about heart rate walking, it’s helpful to wear a heart rate monitor so you can read during your walk if your heart rate is too low or too high.

Nowadays, this can be done very easily with sports watches with integrated heart rate monitor in the wrist or with a separate chest strap.

Strength exercises for additional fat burning

If you add strength exercises to your program in addition to exercising in the fat-burning zone, you will kill two birds with one stone.

By doing strength exercises, your body creates muscle fibers. Not only will this make you stronger and help you avoid injury.

The biggest advantage for those who want to lose weight is that muscles burn calories even at rest.

Do you want to start training with weights? Then sign up at your local sports club or gym and get guidance in this to avoid serious injuries and wrong techniques.

Lifestyle changes for weight loss

Changing lifestyles is not always easy. It takes time to break free from old habits and teach yourself new ones.

Set yourself goals and be sure not to forget to set smaller intermediate goals. If you put achievable steps first, you’ll see that it’s easier than you think!

And say, if walking in nature is a good way to lose weight, then that’s double enjoyment, right?

Walking to lose weight: Conclusion

It’s not too hard to do, although you will need to be somewhat disciplined to make sure that you are burning more than you are taking in through food.

Take baby steps, and with consistency, you’ll reap great results in much less time than you thought possible.

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded PlusSizeZeal.com to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More