For all of the attention that running, circuit training, and balls-to-the-wall boot camp classes get, sometimes all you need to do to lose weight is put one foot in front of the other.
“Walking can be a simple, super-accessible way to lose weight, especially if your lifestyle keeps you chained to a desk or your car,” says Tennessee-based personal trainer and strength coach Hannah Davis. That’s because, apart from helping you boost your daily caloric burn, walking more is a great way to slash your stress levels, she says. Less stress = easier weight loss.
Here’s exactly how ramp up your calorie burn by walking toward your weight-loss goals.
1. Hit 15,000 Steps A Day
No matter your current step count, increasing it is totally possible. Davis recommends racking up 15,000 steps per day, seven days a week, to lose weight. “Don’t worry about slowly increasing your step count. Just go for it,” she says. Unlike increasing your workouts overnight, doubling up your step count won't stress your body or make you prone to injury, she says.
2. Go On Three 20-Min Walks Per Day
Taking at least three 20-minute-long walks per day should help you reach your step goal and lose weight, says Davis. In fact, in one study from George Washington University, people who walked for 15 minutes after each meal had better blood sugar control (which can crush cravings for more food after you just ate) than those who walked for 45 minutes at any point in the day. That means a lunchtime walk can prevent your normal 3 p.m. slump and the sugar cravings that go with it, she says.
3. Walk Uphill Three Times A Week
Upping the incline on the treadmill, walking uphill, or climbing a staircase will help you build more muscle, which increases your metabolic rate, says Davis. That will help you burn more calories even when you’re in your desk chair, she says. Add incline intervals to your walks three days per week and steadily increase from there, says Davis.
4. Use Power-Walking Intervals
Picking up the pace for one-minute intervals gets your heart rate up and burns more calories, says Davis. After you start incorporating one-minute intervals into your regular walking routine, you can increase the pace and duration from there.
While walking faster, focus on swinging your arms, says Davis. The extra arm movement will help you burn more calories and build strength in your shoulders and core.
5. Add Bodyweight Exercises To Every Walk
Walking to lose weight shouldn't be all about walking, says Davis. “Stop every block and do 15 to 20 squats, perform incline pushups or triceps dips on a park bench, and do walking lunges down the sidewalk.” All of these exercises increase your heart rate, help you build muscle, and keep your walking workouts from going stale, she says.
7. Take The Long Route
Yep, you've heard this one before. But all structured walking workouts aside,integrating more steps into your daily tasks (like parking farther from the door, taking the stairs, etc.) can help you hit your daily step goals and lose more weight, she says. “Over time, the little bursts of movement here and there really do make a difference,” says Davis.