4-Week Walking Plan For Weight Loss

Emily Abbate
by Emily Abbate
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4-Week Walking Plan For Weight Loss

The great thing about walking is it has a low barrier to entry: All it takes is a pair of sneakers and some determination to get going. Not only can incorporating it into your regular routine help boost mood levels, but researchers also found moderate-intensity walking showed a similarly visible reduction in risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes when compared to vigorous-intensity running.

“While walking may not seem like a glamorous form of exercise, something is always better than nothing,” says Lindsey Clayton, co-founder of Brave Body Project and a New York City-based run coach. “If you’ve made it a habit of skipping the gym and the only exercise you get is walking from your house to the car and back, adding in 10-, 20- or 30-minute sessions will make a difference.”

To help you get started, we’ve created this 4-week plan to help you burn 200–300 calories a session. (Please note: Calorie burn is a general estimate, this number will vary by individual, body composition, effort level, etc. For a more accurate reading, a heart rate monitor or other tracking device may be helpful.)

YOUR GOAL

Each of these walks should burn roughly 200–300 calories and, at the end of the month, you should feel comfortable increasing the walk’s duration, mileage and speed. You can also find ways to make it more challenging, such as adding weights, once you’ve mastered the plan.

STRETCHING

By incorporating simple, dynamic stretches into your pre-walk routine (Clayton suggests knee pulls to your chest, butt kicks without hopping and lateral leg swings for starters), you’re helping your body prepare for the upcoming effort by increasing blood flow to your muscles.

STRONG PACE

By picking up the pace, you will naturally increase your cardiac output and intensity. Start this workout with a 5-minute warmup to get your body moving (3 out of 10 RPE — or rate of perceived exertion), followed with 20 minutes of effort and a 5-minute cooldown.

4 minutes: Walk at a steady, brisk pace (intensity: 5 out of 10 RPE); you should be able to talk, but your breathing will be quick).

4 minutes: Move at steady, brisk pace (intensity: 7 out of 10; you should be able to answer short, brief questions, not carry on a full conversation).

2 minutes: As fast as possible. You shouldn’t be able to hold a conversation at this point.

STEADY STATE

Start this workout with a 5-minute warmup to get your body moving (3 out of 10 intensity), followed with 30 minutes of effort and a 5-minute cooldown. During your steady state walk, intensity should be between a 6 and 7 and you should be able to hold brief conversations. As the month goes on, this walk will feel easier.

STRENGTH TRAINING

Strength-building movements like lunges, squats, planks and pushups can be incorporated into your routine, using only your bodyweight, dumbbells, resistance bands or other gym equipment of your choice.

INCLINE

It’s easy when you have a treadmill available to find a specific incline, set it and get climbing. However, it’s also great to try this one outside. Find a hill in your neighborhood that will take an estimated 3 minutes to walk up. Going at an intensity of 7, walk the hill. Return to the start (going down the hill) at an intensity of 5. Ideally, you’ll be able to complete this cycle at least four times during the day’s workout.

TIPS

It’s important to let this program meet you where you are. Maybe cranking out a 30-minute start-to-finish walk on the first day feels impossible, and that’s OK. “If you tire easily, start slow and work you way up to a higher level. Begin with 5 minutes the first day, 10 minutes the next and up the volume from there,” says Clayton. “Little changes and additions to your walking program will make a big difference.”

On the other hand, if this feels like a breeze, then add resistance with weights. Whether it’s your actual walk or in the strength-training movements, make sure you’ve got the basics of each exercise down before upping the difficulty.

TELL US YOU’RE IN!

Ready to pick up the pace? Tell us you’re in by leaving a comment below. We’re here to help hold each other accountable and offer support.

Make progress on nutrition and fitness goals with our “Plans” feature in the MyFitnessPal app for daily coaching and easy-to-follow tasks.

About the Author

Emily Abbate
Emily Abbate

Emily has written for GQ, Self, Shape and Runner’s World (among others). As a certified personal trainer, run and spin coach, she’s often tackling long runs or lifting heavy things. In addition to that, she’s working on Hurdle, a podcast that talks to badass humans and entrepreneurs who got through a tough time —a hurdle of sorts— by leaning into wellness.

Related

41 responses to “4-Week Walking Plan For Weight Loss”

  1. Avatar Katherine Lucia says:

    Sounds great! I’m in!

  2. Avatar Kraig Elliott says:

    I’m in!

  3. Avatar NicolasaLeDoux says:

    I’m in!

  4. Avatar Ron says:

    In please

  5. Avatar Rita says:

    I’m in from Monday getting fitter after holiday over indulgence

  6. Avatar Richard Brown says:

    I like the weight loss plan Emily. It follows the principles of the running / jogging plans I used to use for building up to rum 10Ks etc. Increase time and ability level of training sessions gradually. The rest days are vital to allow the body to recreate, ready for the next session.

    Now, a bit of trans Atlantic English translations are needed here. By sneakers, do you mean pumps or deck sports type shoes. Ones without too much cushioning. The selection of the correct type of running shoe / trainers to suit your gait when running and too provide adequate cushioning to absorb shocks from feet striking the ground is essential. Try to avoid injuries through impact. I guess the principles work for walking, but not as critical as for the runner / jogger. 🙂

  7. Avatar May Tove S-Svendsen says:

    I’m in from March (long-time-planning)
    Studio in February
    Because of snow and ice, it is not easy to plan walking

  8. Avatar martyn hopkins says:

    I’m joining from monday.

  9. Avatar Kaitlin Vickers Edwards says:

    I will start Feb 1.

  10. Avatar Sherry Dyer says:

    I am in

  11. Avatar Lindsay says:

    Im in! Will start Monday too

  12. Avatar Judith says:

    I’m in too…..

  13. Avatar Kim VanDrisse says:

    I had to trade walking for the bike and strength training due to blowing a tendon in my foot – I averaged 12k steps per day plus an hour on the treadmill 4 days a week.

  14. Avatar Jim Harris says:

    I’m in.

  15. Avatar Roxy Carvalho says:

    I’m in starting February 1st. Question… Can I do my walking and weight training at two seperate times? It’s hard for me to fit all of that in one session?

  16. Avatar Danielle Greer says:

    I’m in. Starting February 1. Do any others have Fitbit’s? We can get on there and do weekly challenges. add me dgreer619@gmail.com

  17. Avatar Chrstine Hollis says:

    I’m in. Will probably start on February 1st as well. I’m in Kansas so may not be able to do the walking outside, but have a treadmill.

  18. Avatar Creshinda Buford says:

    im in

  19. Avatar Michele says:

    My name is Michele I am in!!! 1 Feb

  20. Avatar Holly Adams says:

    I am in! Starting TONIGHT!!

  21. Avatar Holly Adams says:

    I am in! Starting TONIGHT!!

  22. Avatar Richard Schmidt says:

    im willing to try-but with my emphysema and 54 lbs overweight i dont think i can achieve a ‘strong pace’ im moving more slowly every day-its frightening-plus i just turned 77

    • Avatar Leia says:

      Every little bit counts! Just starting is a great deal. Do what you can and push just a hair more… increase speed for a few minutes or squeeze in an extra minute. Don’t give up; work at it every day and it will become easier

  23. Avatar Nancy says:

    I’m in.

  24. Avatar Kathleen Christie says:

    Count me in!

  25. Avatar kmag says:

    I’m i

  26. Avatar Christina says:

    I’m in!

  27. Avatar Delumi Preston says:

    Is there any way that I could walk in place at home? I have a one year old and a 4 month old. On top of that, there’s snow every where!

  28. Avatar aawills says:

    I’m in February 1st.

  29. Avatar Deb Siebel Lower says:

    I started today. I have to do all my walking on the treadmill now since it’s -14 and lots of snow. If i just increase my speed for 5 minutes and then back down for 2 then repeat, will i get a good workout? Each day i would increase the time i spend at the higher speed. Good or not?

  30. Avatar john bain says:

    john bain

  31. Avatar john bain says:

    i starrt today and am pumped to have a group to support and from whom to receive support

  32. Avatar Darlene Smith says:

    Hey I’m in…will have to be indoors, as I’m watching a snow squalls raging outside.

  33. Avatar SayNo2Caging says:

    I’m in but at the maintain don’t gain stage until late February early March. I find from past experience it’s just too hard to lose weight when it’s this cold outside. Much easier when it warms up and you don’t need that extra weight for insulation.

  34. Avatar jonas grumby says:

    I’m out. Why try? 95% of people who lose weight gain it back within a year. Be honest with yourself. When was the last time you were in the top 5% of anything? So grab that comfy chair and have some cake. YOU KNOW YOU WANT SOME!!!

  35. Avatar Miranda Palle says:

    I’m in! Took me a while to get here. I would rather lay in bed and binge watch Netflix. I want to feel better and have more energy. I will feel better.

  36. Avatar Deacon Ted Schreck says:

    I’m in

  37. Avatar usa anon says:

    studies of cold weather walking have shown that a high percentage of the populations owns coats, hats and gloves

  38. Avatar Meena Bhujang says:

    I like this plan and it is perfectly doable. I am in. Looking for success stories for inspiration.

  39. Avatar AtroposZ says:

    Hi guys,
    This is coming months after the original post, but I’m hoping some of you (maybe even the author!) have this on notify-of-new-reply.
    My question for approximate walking speeds, like on a treadmill. I know that it’s going to be different for everyone because of fitness levels, but anyone want to throw a guess at treadmill speeds for “steady”, “strong” etc pace? Lets say this a person who’ll huff a little going up a flight & a half a stairs – not badly enough to gasp & be unable to talk, but enough so it takes some concentration/small breaths to disguise the huffing.
    Maybe.. 3mph, maybe 3.5 for steady, 4.5ish for strong & … jeeze, 2.5 mph & 8% incline for the uphill?
    Thans a bunch 🙂

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