Trying to lose weight doesn't mean you have to be chained to the gym running on a treadmill or climbing a stair stepper everyday. Rather, walking indoors or out is a great fitness activity that can help you to lose as much weight as you desire. If you're looking to lose 20 pounds of weight, you'll need to follow a structured walking program and combine it with a healthy diet for long-lasting, successful results.
Schedule three to six walking workouts per week in your diary or daily planner. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average healthy adult needs 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise done at an intensity in which it's difficult to carry on a conversation. In order to lose weight, you will need to exceed these standards. Aim for five walking sessions per week of 45 minutes in length at a moderate effort. Alternatively, pick up your walking pace to a quick clip and do three weekly sessions for 30 minutes each. According to Pop Sugar, a 135-pound woman can burn approximately 118 to 236 calories per 30 and 60 minutes of brisk walking, respectively. The Mayo Clinic states that a pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. Thus, if you aim to walk close to an hour five times per week, you can expect to burn around 1,000 calories. Combine that with a decrease in caloric consumption of 2,500 calories per week and you can expect to lose a pound a week, or 20 pounds in five months.
Increase the intensity of your walking workouts to lose excess weight. Intensity refers to the effort at which you exercise. According to IDEA Health & Fitness, high-intensity exercise consisting of short bursts of speed alternated with moderate-effort recovery periods boosts the metabolic rate to burn more calories for weight loss. You don't need to run or cycle to increase intensity of exercise to lose 20 pounds of weight. Rather, you can simply change up the speed at which you walk by power walking hard and fast for two minutes followed by one to two minutes of moderate-paced walking. Repeat this pattern 10 times with a five-minute warm-up and cool-down for a 50-minute walking workout to lose excess baggage.
Add a circuit-training session into your walking workout regimen. Circuits are a type of workout in which you do a series of exercises back to back with little rest in between. Generally, there are about eight to 12 exercises in a circuit session, and the circuit is repeated three times in total with a short break rest in between. Switching between walking bouts and strength-training exercises varies the intensity of workouts and challenges your muscles. Resistance exercises such as pushups and lunges also build muscle in the body; muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat to burn off calories for fat loss. Try a walking circuit routine that consists of five minutes of hill walking followed by walking lunges, squats, marching in place, walking pushups, abdominal crunches and two minutes of walking backward.
Although walking will contribute to weight loss, you won't notice the scale move much if you continue to overeat or eat unhealthy foods on a daily basis. Calories you burn off in a 30- or 60-minute walking session can easily be undone if you eat a fast-food meal followed by a milkshake for dinner. Eat a healthy diet that is low in calories but high in nutrients. Include generous servings of vegetables with every meal combined with a serving of lean protein and healthy fats. Snack on a couple of pieces of fruit throughout the day to decrease your cravings for sweets while keeping calorie intake low.
Jennifer Andrews specializes in writing about health, wellness and nutrition. Andrews has a Master of Science in physical therapy from the University of Alberta as well as a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. She teaches yoga and pilates and is a recent graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.