3 Ways to Lose More Weight Walking

by Aleisha Fetters
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3 Ways to Lose More Weight Walking

Walking can be a great way to improve your health and lose weight. Unfortunately, for many weight-loss warriors, walking doesn’t always move the needle on the scale. At least not like they were hoping it would.

Case in point: In one meta-analysis, University of Michigan researchers found that, on average, participants enrolled in pedometer-based walking programs increased their step count by about 4,000 steps per day (about a mile or two). But, after 16 weeks spent hoofing it, they only lost on average of 3.13 pounds.


First of all, most walkers drastically overestimate the caloric burn they get from their walks, explains Michael Jonesco, an assistant clinical professor of internal and sports medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. That’s because, first of all, people are just wired to overestimate their caloric expenditure and underestimate their caloric intake.

Second of all, this overestimation is generally reinforced through all of the gadgets exercisers use to keep their calorie tracking on point. For instance, in one University of California, San Francisco experiment, treadmills overestimated caloric burn by 13%. And, in one 2016 Ball State University study of four fitness trackers, they were particularly bad at accurately judging calories expended during walking.


According to research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, at an 18:36-minute-mile pace (3.2 miles per hour; a pretty brisk walk), calories burned per minute can be calculated by multiplying 0.03 X your weight in pounds. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, that works out to 4.8 calories per minute, or 144 calories during a 30-minute workout. However, increasing your walking speed drastically increases the number of calories you burn per minute — which is why running a 10:00-minute-mile pace burns roughly 2.3 times more calories per minute.

And that brings us to the most important matter of business: how to get the most out of your walking-to-lose-weight plan. Here are three ways to lose more weight walking:


Those walks to the bathroom and water cooler count, but it’s when you string steps together for 30 minutes or more — and really pick up the pace — that you’re going to get the biggest minute-per-minute weight-loss benefit, Jonesco explains.

“Ask yourself, ‘does this feel like a workout?’ If your heart isn’t pumping, and you aren’t breaking a sweat, you need to push it,” says Holly Perkins, CSCS, author of “Lift to Get Lean.” Try tracking your speed with an app such as MapMyRun. Every week, try to increase your speed.

Another option: Get off of the treadmill and paved trails for trails less traveled. Walking on surfaces such as grass, sand and gravel can increase the number of calories you burn at a given pace by up to 50%, Jonesco says.


To continue losing weight, you have to make sure your walks do more than burn calories. They have to build lean muscle, too. That’s because muscle is the key to keeping your metabolism as high as possible — and it can decline when you lose weight, especially if it’s through cardio alone, Perkins says.

Luckily, you can seamlessly incorporate strength training into your walks by heading uphill or taking on flights of stairs throughout your workouts, she says. You can also try interspersing bodyweight strength exercises, such as squats, lunges and incline push-ups on a park bench into your plan. Bonus: It can help you mix up your walk to prevent boredom.



“Whatever your body burns, it will want you to replace them and then some,” Jonesco says. “So be careful to pick a post-workout meal that doesn’t contain more than 70–75% of the calories you just burned.” (This is where knowing how many calories you actually burned comes in handy.)


Meanwhile, Perkins recommends establishing a caloric deficit — meaning you’re burning more calories per day than you’re eating — even before you factor in your workouts. “To effectively lose weight, try to create a mild caloric deficit by cutting calories and then use walking to create an even larger one,” she says. “Try to maintain caloric deficit of about 250 or so calories. Then, if your daily walking workouts burn an extra 200–250, you’re on track to lose roughly a pound per week.”


  • Nancy Christenson

    How does one who gets heart palpitations from caffeinated products use them anyway? Or just doesn’t…Matcha, alkali water, regular coffee and teas…

    • Nevena

      Alkali water is a butload of crap. This is NOT how the human body works, so you are better off spending your money or something that at least has a taste. 🙂 u can always use decaf but keep in mind that even that is not 100% caffeine free.

  • Sally Stickel Tofteland

    I love my walks for many reasons. MapMy Walk has been a godsend. Now, I put on an exercise video from youtube, start the mapmywalk app. and walk to the pace of the video. Leslie Sansone has a few great workouts. She pushes me through the hills at a much higher pace and with better posture. She is the little voice telling me to breathe, and keep proper alignment, makes such a difference. Not tired after the walk. I alternate days withe a cleansing walk. I am walking farther almost every walk.

  • Mark L. Hendrickson

    Fit or Fat by Covert Bailey boiled down to the essence, 80% max heart rate for 20 minutes three times per week. Reduce calories. More exercise, longer period more often is better. Walking is one of the best low impact exercises, the human body is well suited by design to walk.

  • Rosalba Ramos

    I love walking. I lost Weight just by walking after giving birth with each child. Now i am going thru menopause and it’s really hard not only that I also have a heel spur on my right foot, my 3 rd one to be exact. I used to weigh 130 now i am at 180. Stared walking again and haven’t seen anything go down maybe inches if lucky. Don’t drink soda don’t eat bread, tortillas i watch what i eat. Not giving up.

    • Raul Garcia

      good dont give up. same here. im not eating enough so my body stores fat. not good. i will be hiking now. slowly but surely. no tortillas for sure. lol Beans and nopales are great. cooked beans not refied. suerte

    • Maria Drattell

      No dairy, no tasteing, just a super interesting Salad (every raw vegetable you can think of) and lean protein (tonno in oil-the Cento brand is good, fish, chicken), every day for lunch and dinner (or blended soup) and chase it with a ginger tea and it’ll probably work. Perimenopause is easier with clean eating.