Can Walking in Place Help You Lose Weight?

Marc Lindsay
by Marc Lindsay
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Can Walking in Place Help You Lose Weight?

Walking is an easy way to add more movement to your life and help you shed pounds. In general, walking at a brisk pace burns around 260 calories (for someone who weighs 150 pounds or 68 kilograms).

However, some days can be harder than others to get outdoors or hit the treadmill for an hour-long workout. Just because you have a hard time setting aside an hour for a walk, doesn’t mean you can’t still get in a workout indoors. When you’re strapped for time and space, get a little creative and consider walking in place.

Here, a look at how walking in place could be a viable alternative:

IS WALKING IN PLACE EFFECTIVE FOR WEIGHT LOSS?

The key to losing weight and gaining fitness is raising your heart rate. Whether you’re walking outside or in place, if you can raise your heart rate to zone 2 or 3 you’ll burn more calories.

In a study published by the Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise journal, participants who walked in place for an hour burned an average of 258 calories, compared to roughly 304 calories for people who walked on a treadmill. The study also found walking in place during commercial breaks burned about 148 calories in 25 minutes while racking up 2,111 steps.

HOW TO GET STARTED

If walking in place seems boring, remember you don’t need to do it for long periods of time to get results. Start by walking in place for 5 minutes several times a day. This could be a simple break you take every hour at the office to offset the harmful effects of too much sitting. Or, if you watch TV at night, stand up and walk in place during commercials. These efforts may seem small, but they will add up over time and make an important contribution to achieving your health goals.

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF WALKING IN PLACE

Here, seven tips for maximizing the benefits:

  • Use a marching technique. This means lifting your heels toward your butt and placing them back on the floor at a quick pace.
  • Swing your arms. Try to move your arms as you would normally when walking outdoors.
  • Use a heart rate monitor. This will make you aware if you’re raising your heart rate enough to get into zone 2 or 3 of your maximum heart rate.
  • Dress for it. If you’re going to march for an extended period of time, treat it as normal exercise. Wear walking shoeswarm up before you increase your pace and stretch afterward.
  • Up your calorie burn by adding in strength exercisesHolding light hand weights while you perform bicep curls and arm circles is a great way to tone your upper body.
  • Add higher-intensity intervalsWhen walking in place at a moderate speed, up the intensity for 20 seconds periodically. This helps you mix things up and keeps you from getting bored while also burning more calories.
  • Add burpeesAfter a couple minutes of walking in place, perform a burpee or two. It’s a great total-body move that helps build strength.

About the Author

Marc Lindsay
Marc Lindsay

Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.

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