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Here's How Long You Need To Walk Every Day for Weight Loss

Don’t miss out on one of the best types of exercise!
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

"Walking is man's best medicine," said Hippocrates. And in many ways, he's spot on—walking is incredibly valuable and underrated. It has so many benefits and, if you want to lose weight, it must be a staple in your exercise routine. (Plus, considering how expensive everything is these days, it offers pretty excellent benefits for something that's 100% free!) We're here to break down exactly how long you need to walk for weight loss, taking any guesswork out of the equation. All you need to do is lace up your sneakers, keep track of the time, and get in those steps!

There are plenty of questions and even myths about walking and how it can help you slim down and look your absolute best. Don't worry, because we'll break down the key things you need to know so you can get the best possible results. Keep reading to learn the benefits of walking for weight loss, along with how long you need to walk every day to lose weight. And when you're finished, don't miss the 6 'Power Foods' That Helped This Woman Lose 100 Pounds.

The benefits of walking for weight loss:

mature woman on brisk walk on trails, concept of low-impact exercises to melt belly fat

There are many powerful reasons why walking can aid in your fat-loss efforts.

  • It helps you burn calories. This is critical to create a caloric deficit—where your body burns more calories than you consume through diet. While walking might not burn as many calories as, say, a run or a workout, you're still burning something (which is always better than nothing).
  • It helps you melt fat—namely, belly fat. According to a study published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, walking can help speed up your fat-loss efforts, specifically in the belly region, in a way separate from your exercise capacity and calorie intake.
  • You can do more of it without tiring. Unlike running and working out, you can walk every day for long periods of time without feeling the same level of stress, exertion, or fatigue. This allows you to do more of it and reap more benefits. This is great for beginners, sedentary individuals, and those dealing with injuries or pain who want to change their bodies in a safe and relaxed way.
  • It's gentle on the body. Because walking is a gentler form of exercise, it's an easy way to burn more calories on top of the training that you're already doing. So for example, if you're working out three times a week already, adding a fourth workout might add too much stress on your body and make it more challenging to recover. Instead, simply add a daily walk for an easy bonus calorie burn, and you'll see more progress without the excessive fatigue.

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How long should you walk every day for weight loss?

close-up of sneakers, woman walking, concept of how many daily steps to lose weight

The duration of your daily walks depends on multiple factors. For example, how fit are you? How many calories are you consuming every day? What does your exercise routine look like (besides walking)?

If you want to lose weight and improve your body, you still need moderate-to-high intensity training every week from resistance training, sports, and more. The reason is that, unless you're severely out of shape, a walk just isn't strenuous enough to create massive changes. That's why it should be a part of a well-rounded exercise program.

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Next, while some people claim "XX minutes" is perfect, the best way to find your sweet spot for fat loss is to start slowly and track your progress. For example, walk 20 minutes, five times a week to start. After a few weeks, if you're not losing fat, then gently increase it to 30 minutes, and check again. If you lose weight, then continue at that pace.

Finally, as you get fitter, you can increase the intensity of your walks, instead of merely walking for longer durations. Try walking at a faster pace or wearing a weight vest. By adding resistance, you can improve your muscle, bone, and joint strength. Start with 5% of your body weight, and slowly increase from there.

The #1 Best Type of Exercise for Weight Loss

How walking is a perfect addition to a healthy lifestyle:

woman on morning walk, concept of healthiest morning habits

Sure, walking is a great way to help you torch calories, lose fat, and get lean, but it also has tons of additional benefits that make it an amazing addition to any healthy lifestyle.

First, walking regularly offers incredible benefits for your cardiovascular health, your mood, your cholesterol levels, and even your brain health, according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, studies show that walking over 7000 steps a day—roughly 70 total minutes—significantly reduces all-cause mortality by 50% to 70%!

Second, walking is tremendous stress relief. Whenever you have a tough day, rather than watching television, a brisk walk will do far more for you. Research shows that just a 10-minute walk can give you a major mood boost.

Finally, it's a great way to disconnect. In the modern world, it can be challenging to turn away from the screens and reconnect with nature and your thoughts. Walking gives you that much-needed opportunity. When you take a stroll, I recommend you put the music away, set your phone on Airplane Mode, and simply enjoy your surroundings.

Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS
Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert featured in Esquire, GQ, and Men’s Health and the founder of GroomBuilder, the destination for men who want to transform their bodies for their weddings. Join the free 5-day course to burn fat and build muscle for the big day! Read more about Anthony
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