If your goal is a slimmer silhouette, walking 20 minutes a day can be a healthy addition to your weight-loss plan. Along with a reduced-calorie diet, 20-minute walks increase the calories number of calories you burn each day, which can add up to pounds lost over time.
As you get comfortable walking 20 minutes a day, you might find you want to increase your total minutes or walking speed for even greater results.
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Yes! As long as you're burning more calories than you're consuming, a 20-minute walk can help boost calories burned, jump-start weight loss and meet your minimum recommended physical activity. But longer or faster walks will help you reap even more weight-loss benefits.
More Reasons to Take a Walk
Weight loss isn't the only benefit of walking 20 minutes a day. A brisk 20-minute power walk could cut your risk of heart disease by 30 percent, according to Harvard Health Publishing. It may also help reduce your risk of diabetes and certain types of cancer as well as potentially lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Taking daily walks can also help improve your focus and enhance sleep. Even 10 minutes a day of walking can improve your sleep quality and promote mental alertness in your waking hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Read more: 20 Reasons to Go for a Walk Right Now
How Much Should You Walk for Weight Loss?
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), you should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity like walking. If you're walking 20 minutes a day, that adds up to 140 minutes a week.
Based on that minimum, you may wish to increase your total minutes on one or more days, perhaps walking at least 30 minutes a few times a week. Or go really big by doubling your total weekly minutes to 300, enhancing your results even further.
You can also boost the intensity of your walk by going up a hill, increasing incline on the treadmill or adding in short bursts of power walking, jogging or running. In fact, the HHS guidelines say you only need 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise a week or a combination of moderate and vigorous activities throughout the week.
Read more: How to Tell if Your Walking Speed Counts as Cardio
Calculate Calories Burned by Walking
The calories burned walking depends on the steps you take, the distance covered and your weight. The heavier you are, the greater the number of calories burned per mile. For example, an average 160-pound person burns about 105 calories per mile, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
A pedometer can help you track your number of steps and the corresponding calories burned walking for 20 minutes. Most people take about 2,000 steps per mile per mile and can walk about a mile in 20 minutes. You can also use an online calculator to estimate your calories burned walking.
Next, you can calculate how much walking you need to do in order to lose weight. To lose one pound of body fat, you need to burn about 3,500 calories, according to the Mayo Clinic. So let's say your 20-minute walk burns about 100 calories. In that case, it would take you 35 days of walking 20 minutes a day to lose one pound (assuming no other exercise or dietary changes).
Boost Your Walking Weight-Loss Workouts
Walking 20 minutes a day or more is a low-impact activity that's easily incorporated into your daily routine. There's no equipment required other than a good pair of walking shoes!
To increase the number of steps you take and calories burned walking, seize every opportunity to walk throughout the day. Park farther away, take the stairs, walk to your destinations instead of driving whenever possible, and add a few minutes onto your daily 20-minute walk to boost calories burned.
Read more: 35 Creative Ways to Reach 10,000 Steps a Day
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "How Much Cardio Should You Do?"
- Mayo Clinic: "Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics"
- National Sleep Foundation: "How Exercise Impacts Sleep Quality"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Walking for Health"
- Walking With Wendy: "Pedometer Steps to Walking Calories and Distance Calculator"
- Harvard Health Publishing: Get Smart About Treadmills
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Walking: Your Steps to Health"