Walking is an excellent choice for fitness novices who want to become more active, and it can even help you achieve your weight-loss goals. A mile and a half a day is a good start but won't yield much immediate weight loss. Over time, however, you may steadily lose weight or build sufficient stamina to cover more distance.
For each pound of fat you want to lose, you'll have to burn 3,500 calories. This relatively large number typically requires a combination of calorie-burning aerobic exercise and cutting excess calories from your diet. If you can eliminate a few hundred calories from your diet each day, then walking can help you reach a weekly goal of a 3,500-calorie deficit. Without cutting calories, though, you're unlikely to see a rapid change in your waistline.
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Calories and Walking
The number of calories you burn when walking depends on the intensity of the walk as well as your current weight, because larger people require more calories to move their bodies. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 125-pound person will burn about 120 calories walking 1.5 miles, while a 185-pound person will burn about 170 calories.
Slow and Steady Weight Loss
If you walk 1.5 miles each day and weight 125 pounds, you'll burn a little over 800 calories a week. This isn't enough to lose weight if you're not also cutting calories from your diet or doing other forms of exercise. However, if you stick to this schedule for a month, you'll lose about a pound a month. If your goal is to steadily and slowly lose a few pounds rather than dramatically cut your weight, this rate of walking may help you meet your goals.
Revving Up Intensity
If you want to lose weight more quickly, you'll need to walk longer distances for longer periods of time. A 185-pound person walking at 4.5 miles per hour, for example, will burn about 440 calories in an hour. If you cut 500 calories from your diet a week in addition to this walking schedule, you can lose a pound a week. For an even more intense routine, try interval training. Walk for two to three minutes, then jog or run for a minute or two. Continue alternating between the two paces for the entirety of your workout.