When you want to lose weight, many diet programs and health experts recommend brisk walking as a calorie-burning cardio exercise. But what is the right amount of walking each day to help you achieve your weight loss goals?
How Long to Walk Each Day for Weight Loss
Aim for a brisk walk of 30 to 90 minutes most days of the week for weight loss. You can walk more on some days and less on others, but the total time for the week should be at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours).
You should walk fast enough that you are in the moderate-intensity exercise zone at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. You should be breathing harder than usual and can speak in full sentences, but you couldn’t sing. You can use your heart rate and exercise zone reading from a fitness band, app, or heart rate monitor to ensure you are exercising at moderate intensity.
While you can break up your walking time into periods of 10 minutes or longer, you get an added benefit of burning fat when you walk at a brisk pace for longer than 30 minutes at a time after warming up.
If you’re new to walking, get started with shorter periods of walking and steadily build up your walking time. You might want to take longer walks every other day at first.
Try not to skip more than one day in a row. Consistency is good for burning calories and improving your metabolism, as well as for building new habits. On your non-walking days, try strength training exercises. If you find yourself worn out, take a day off. But be sure to get back walking the following day.
If you’ve hit your weight loss goal and are working on maintaining your weight, the CDC recommends you should spend 60 to 90 minutes most days of the week in moderate-intensity physical activity while not eating more calories than you expend all day.2
How Far Can You Walk in 30 Minutes?
If you walk at a brisk walking pace for 30 minutes, the distance you will cover would be:
- 1.5 to 2.0 miles.
- 2.5 to 3.3 kilometers
- 3,000 to 4,500 pedometer steps.
What If You Can’t Walk for 30 Minutes at a Time?
Life can be busy. If your schedule doesn’t permit walking continuously for 30 minutes, break it up into walking two or three times a day for shorter periods of at least 10 minutes at a brisk pace.
Always warm up for five minutes at an easy pace no matter what duration you will be walking. You can use higher-intensity intervals, stairs, and brisk walking to get the most out of shorter walking workouts. Research published in 2017 shows that high-intensity intervals are at least as good as continuous moderate-intensity workouts and can be a good way to fit exercise into your day.
Calories and Fat Burned in 30 Minutes
At a brisk walking pace, you would burn 100 to 300 calories in 30 minutes (depending on your weight) or 200 to 600 calories in an hour. By walking for 30 minutes or more at a time, some of those calories will be from stored fat.
During the first 30 minutes of exercise, your body is burning sugars stored as fuel. These are used up after about 30 minutes. To keep going, your body releases fat from your fat cells and burns it for fuel. This stored fat is exactly what you want to lose, and it’s a good reason to build up your walking endurance so you can walk for more than 30 minutes at a time.
Walk most days of the week for at least 30 minutes to burn an extra 1,000 to 3,000 calories in total for the week and to improve your metabolism each day.
A Word From Verywell
You’ve taken the first step towards a healthy weight and an active lifestyle. It may sound a little daunting to think of how much physical activity is needed to burn calories. But it’s also the amount recommended to reduce your health risks for diabetes, heart disease, and more.
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