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The easy way to lose weight
Use This 4-Week Walking Plan to Lose Weight & Move More

Use This 4-Week Walking Plan to Lose Weight & Move More



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Can walking for weight loss really work? You bet it can. If you do it right.

Besides the many benefits of regular strolls – upping your daily movement, getting some fresh air and sunlight (brilliant to swerve any vitamin D deficiency symptoms), not to mention the mental health advantages – you can lose weight walking every day.

If healthy weight loss is one of your goals, you’re in the right place. We’ve got an expert guide developed by PT Sam McGowan. So, scroll on for your beginner 4-week walking for weight loss plan, as well as answers to your walking FAQs.

Is walking good for weight loss?

Fact: super-sweaty HIIT home workouts are not the only option if you’re trying to lose body fat.

‘When it comes to weight loss, movement, in general, is great – it’s all about energy balance,’ McGowan explains. In other words, you need to be expending more energy (calories) than you’re taking in. This is known as being in a calorie deficit.

‘Here’s a super simple way of looking at it,’ McGowan says. ‘When we’re trying to lose weight we need to be in a calorie deficit – this means burning more calories than we’re eating.’

Increasing our daily movement (through an activity we can perform for a sustained period, like walking) is a great way to increase daily calorie expenditure.

While any form of exercise will help you increase your daily burn (some potentially in a shorter time), walking for weight loss is an accessible starting point for many people. It doesn’t require more than a very basic level of fitness and strength; it’s low impact and doesn’t necessitate any kit, save for perhaps some good footwear.

Exercise isn’t the only strand of healthy weight loss, though and actually, it’s more efficient (and accurate) to create a calorie deficit through your nutrition.

How to eat if you’re walking for weight loss

Fortunately, we’ve got a veritable treasure trove of handy guides to help you lose weight. The list starts with beginner-friendly help, progressing to more advanced. If you’re brand new to walking for weight loss, stick with steps 1 and 2.

  1. This is how many calories to eat a day if you want to lose weight
  2. Learn about everything about calorie deficits and how to stay in one
  3. Here’s everything you need to know about losing body fat
  4. For non-beginners, consider counting and calculating your macros
  5. If you’ve done step four, here are the best macros for fat loss

So, to answer the question ‘can you lose weight by walking?’ Absolutely. You just need to dial in your nutrition, too.

8 benefits of walking for weight loss

  • It’s free
  • It’s low-impact
  • It can be done anywhere
  • You can do it in a group or solo
  • It increases brainpower, according to a New Mexico Highlands University study
  • It improves heart health, (think lower risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes) as much as running, according to the American Heart Association
  • It’s good for your mind. Walking in nature has been linked to improved mental health by the University of Michigan Health System
  • It decreases the risk of illness (stroke, coronary heart disease, depression and other life-threatening conditions), as per this University of East Anglia

6 tips to walk with correct form

Does walking help you lose weight? Yes, but before you chuck on your kicks and head for the park, there are some need to knows, to avoid putting yourself at risk of injury. Because, whilst it might be a low-impact activity, you still need to do it right.

1. Walk tall

Lift your torso up and out of your hips and sense your body ‘lengthening’. This will prevent you from lapsing into a slouch and ‘walking heavy’.

‘Good posture allows you to take full breaths and fully engage your core muscles, as well as your legs and glutes to achieve a better, more powerful stride,’ says David Wiener, training specialist at fitness app Freeletics.

2. Look up

Your head weighs around 4.5kg, so don’t drag yourself down by staring at the ground. Cast your gaze forward, so your head is balanced on your neck and spine.

3. Take smaller steps

By keeping your body upright, you will be able to land with your feet directly underneath your body rather – this will help you to walk lightly.

‘Overstriding can be the cause of injuries so make sure the steps you take aren’t too big which can add additional pressure to your joints,’ Wiener explains.

4. Use your arms

Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees, your wrists and hands neither floppy nor rigid and move your arms backwards and forwards slightly across your body.

‘A strong-arm motion can burn 5-10% more calories and add speed, which will again increase calorie burn,’ says Wiener.

5. Use control

Take time to practise walking slower than you would normally, so you can be conscious of whether your footfall is light or heavy, whether your head feels poised on your neck and spine, and whether you can sense unnecessary tension in your arms, shoulders and back.

6. Nail your foot-strike technique

‘Strike the ground heel first and roll through the step from the heel to the toe, pushing back off with your toe before striking the ground again heel first,’ Wiener says.

4-week walking for weight-loss plan

McGowan designed this plan particularly for beginners who want to lose weight well. But if you’re just looking to get your daily steps up, stick around – this plan is an effective way to help you build walking stamina. Plus, it helps to have a plan if you’re aiming for a higher step count. Fun fact: 10k steps will require about 1 hour and 45 min of walking, McGowan says.

The best bit about this plan is that you don’t need to worry about how much walking to do to lose weight, McGowan has it sussed. So, scroll on and get ready for your month of walking more and feeling great!

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Week 1

  • Monday: 3 x 10-min walks, easy pace
  • Tuesday: 30-min walk, brisk
  • Wednesday: 30-min walk, easy pace + strength workout
  • Thursday: 30-min walk, easy pace + strength workout
  • Friday: 30-min walk, brisk + workout of your choice
  • Saturday: 2 x 30-min walks, easy pace
  • Sunday: 60-min walk, brisk

Week 2

  • Monday: 3 x 20-min walks, easy pace
  • Tuesday: 30-min walk, brisk + 1 x 15-min walk, easy pace
  • Wednesday: 35-min walk, easy pace + strength workout
  • Thursday: 35-min walk, easy pace + strength workout
  • Friday: 30-min walk, brisk + workout of your choice
  • Saturday: 2 x 40-min walks, easy pace
  • Sunday: 75-min walk, brisk

Week 3

  • Monday: 4 x 15-min walks, easy pace
  • Tuesday: 30-min walk, brisk + 1 x 30-min walk, easy pace
  • Wednesday: 40-min walk, easy pace + strength workout
  • Thursday: 40-min walk, easy pace + strength workout
  • Friday: 30-min walk, brisk + workout of your choice
  • Saturday: 2 x 45-min walks, easy pace
  • Sunday: 90-min walk, brisk

Week 4

  • Monday: 4 x 20-min walks, easy pace
  • Tuesday: 40-min walk, brisk + 1 x 30-min walk, easy pace
  • Wednesday: 2 x 30-min walks, brisk + strength workout
  • Thursday: 2 x 30-min walks, brisk + strength workout
  • Friday: 30-min walk, brisk + workout of your choice
  • Saturday: 2 x 60-min walks, easy pace
  • Sunday: 105-min walk, brisk

Glossary

Walk, easy pace: Think of this as one step up from a stroll. You shouldn’t be out of breath, and should still be able to hold a conversation.

Walk, brisk: ‘Up the your speed so it feels more like a workout,’ McGowan says. Walk with purpose and aim to raise your heart rate.

Do I need to do other workouts too?

That depends – how soon do you want to hit your goals? Every little bit of movement helps. Resistance training also has the added benefits of increasing your muscle mass (meaning you’ll burn more calories at rest), and helping build stronger bones and joints.

If walking is all you’re after right now, no problem. Feel free to skip those recommendations. Instead, try to keep your daily movement up during the day (take regular breaks to stretch your legs, walk while on the phone, work standing up… you know the drill).

If you do want to tack on additional sessions, these can be anything from 20 – 45 minutes long. Not sure where to start? Allow us…

20-min resistance band legs and glutes workout

20-min cardio + resistance workout

28-min HIIT workout

40-min upper body + core workout

45-min BBG Bootcamp full-body workout

45-min full-body strength workout

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Kirsti is Women’s Health’s Junior Fitness Editor, a personal trainer and WH’s resident tech junkie.

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