Walking for Weight Loss: How Much Do You Really Need?

Although walking at any pace or distance is beneficial for health, you may wonder how much you really need to walk to see any noticeable weight loss.


For healthy adults looking to maintain their weight, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends partaking in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day — or 150 minutes per week. Although running can be more time-efficient for burning calories, walking poses less of a risk for injuries — and many people enjoy it much more.

Moderate-intensity exercise will raise your heart rate to 50–70% of your maximum heart rate. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, this can be measured by how fatigued you get — your breathing should quicken, but you're not out of breath, and you will likely develop a light sweat after about 10 minutes of exercise.

However, people who are looking to lose weight may want to aim for a bit more. A good goal to shoot for would be 200 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity walking per week, which breaks down to a one-hour walk, 4 to 5 days per week. Any additional exercise above this would likely boost your weight loss more, as long as you are not over-exercising, which can be detrimental to your health. Adding other forms of exercise, like resistance or strength training, stretching, and yoga, can round out your physical fitness routine.

No matter which routine you implement, starting with a small micro-goal — like walking twice per week, for example — can be a great place to start before working your way to your ultimate fitness goal.

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