How to lose weight and burn belly fat by walking

by Rakib Sarwar, RPh
Published on July 31, 2019

For the past two million years or more, humans have been walking on two legs as a way of moving around and going about their day to day businesses. Consequently, walking has become one of the things humans are known to do without being prompted.

In the early days, walking and running were the only modes of transportation known to man. However, that’s no longer the case today. The fact that other means of transportation have displaced walking and running is worrisome because brisk walking is one natural way of burning calories and torching belly fat.

Walking is an easy exercise for anyone to engage in because you can do it anywhere and at any time coupled with the fact that it requires little or no equipment. Also, this form of exercise does not stress the joints like most other forms of activities do. Losing weight walking becomes a whole lot easier when you have all the right tips and strategies.

Walking increases your body’s metabolism and keeps all organs in your body functioning maximally, thus aiding weight loss.

Interestingly, there are several ways you can increase the efficacy of your walking exercises in terms of burning fats and calories. Let’s see some of the techniques that can help you get more fat burning benefits from walking.

1. Make sure you have the right walking shoes

A good pair of walking shoes is the only equipment you need to engage in your daily walks, and there are high chances that one of your shoes is just suitable for this task. The best shoes for walking are those that come with flexible soles and excellent heel counters designed to prevent any side-to-side motions. If you plan to walk on flat surfaces, you will only need a low-heeled shoe that is as comfortable as they are lightweight.

2. Take your green tea after every walk

Studies have shown that taking green tea after your steps can enhance the effectiveness of weight loss and help you recover faster. Combining green tea and exercises enhances your ability to burn fat while you exercise and while resting. Depending on what works for you, you can either take your green tea along with you or take it after the walking session.

3. Create a walking playlist

Before you embark on your daily walks, come up with a list of songs you can play while you walk intending to become a fitter you. Playing one of your favorite songs as you walk will keep you motivated to keep pushing harder and going further without taking note of the extra efforts you are making to meet your higher walking goals. Songs between 75-130 BP have tempos high enough to synchronize your strides to the beat (1).

4. Know your route before embarking on your walking expedition

Having a clear idea of where you will be walking daily before you leave home is an excellent way to walk comfortably and confidently. Knowing your walking routes helps you understand what to look out for. It also saves you the stress of trying to figure out the route and what to expect while you walk through it. Make sure you figure out different routes that vary in length or terrain. Having different routes, you can walk through can help keep your belly fat in check.

5. Get a walking buddy

Several studies have shown that a support group can help you meet your daily walking and weight loss goals with ease. These same studies have shown that people who have a support group end up losing weight faster than those who decide to go solo. Additionally, if you have a walking buddy with a great sense of humor, it can help you burn more fats. A study published by the International Journal of Obesity has shown that engaging in a 10-15 minutes laughter while you walk can help you burn as much as 40-170 calories. Having a funny walking buddy will help you laugh just that much (1).

6. Prepare for adverse weather conditions

We all have to deal with different climates and weather conditions irrespective of where we live. Never allow any weather condition to prevent you from taking your daily walk to shade belly fat. Make sure you wear the right clothes to suit the weather in your area. If you plan to walk during hot weather, make sure you walk before the sun comes out and do the opposite when the weather is cold.

7. Get moving before breakfast

The best way to lower your body fat is to embark on your daily walk immediately after leaving your bed in the morning. The fact that your body is already in a calorie deficit mode makes igniting your body’s fat-burning abilities easier. The glycogen levels in your body are depleted during sleep, which means your body will use up more body fats as an alternative source of energy (1).

8. Walk Briskly

Imagine how you would walk if you are close to missing your flight at the airport. If you can walk as fast as 3.5 miles every hour, you can burn as much as 300 calories every 60 minutes, and by the end of every week, you would have burnt as much as 1,050 calories (2). This daily brisk walk has been found to help keep your heart protected against heart diseases. Also, there is a great sense of wellness that accompanies such daily brisk walks.

9. Vary your walking pace

Varying the speed of your walk can help you burn as much as 20% more calories as compared to trying to maintain a steady pace (2). Walking briskly for 30 minutes daily is one great idea that can help you achieve your fat burning goals, but taking time to accelerate and decelerate your brisk walk while you engage in intermittent works can enhance your fat burning results (4).

10. Increase your speed the right way

There are two ways to increase your walking speed. You can either take longer paces or faster strides. However, experts think that lengthening your strides can increase the strain on your legs and feet.

11. Stay adequately hydrated while you walk

If you increase your water intake while you walk, your body will burn more calories faster. A combination of a proper metabolism boosting walk and adequate hydration is one weight loss formula that will leave you with astonishing results.

12. Make your walk a daily routine

Anything you start newly will seem difficult to build into a habit; however, once you can practice a new activity daily, it will soon become a routine. And once you can make that routine a part of your daily habits, it can quickly become an integral part of your day-to-day flow. Don’t forget it is the motivation that gets you started while habits keep you going.

13. Try walking on different terrains

Switching up the surface you are walking on is one great way to burn more belly fat by walking. It is a known fact that walking on surfaces like gravel or grass helps you burn more calories than when you walk on a track. However, you must make sure you keep your walking pace the same at all times.

14. Keep track of your strides

There is a good reason why some notable health insurance companies now offer incentives for members who can hit a certain number of walking strides daily. This is because such insurance companies understand the role walking plays when it comes to keeping sicknesses and obesity at bay. Since there is no specific number of daily steps you are expected to complete, some health officials set the benchmark at 10,000 (4). You can use a pedometer to measure how many strides you are clocking up. These pedometers are as inexpensive as they are motivating.

15. Engage in incidental walks

You can burn some more fats if you form the habit of leaving your car at home and walk to the grocery store down the road, ignore the elevators and take the stairs, or walk a mile or two to your friend’s house. If you go to work using mass transit, you can stop a few poles from your office and walk the rest of the way.

16. Add some high intensity walks to your routine

If you engage in 20 minutes of high-intensity walks for 3 days every week, you will end up burning more calories during and after these exercises. On other days, you can engage in moderate-intensity exercises for about 30 minutes every session (4).

17. Try walking uphill

You can walk briskly up a short hill as an excellent interval training which you can intersperse with your flat terrain walking. If you lean slightly forward, your leg muscles will be grateful. But when you slow your pace and bend your legs a bit, and take short steps as you go down the hills, your walking knees will thank you.

18. Ski the streets

You can use lightweight, rubber-tipped trekking poles to enhance your upper body workout. If you have ever taken part in a cross country skiing, you will no doubt understand this movement. But if this is new to you, here is how to go about it: step forward with your left foot as your right arm with the poles forward as they are planted on the ground using the heel of your left foot. Walking with the poles while minimizing the stress you feel on your knees while you exercise the muscles of your arm and chest as well as your abdominals.

19. Use hand weights carefully

If you use hand weights, it can go a long way to help you to burn more calories. But they can hinder the swinging of your arms and thus result in sore muscles and injury. People with heart disease or high blood pressures should not go for this. If you must use them, you can start with one-pound weights and increase the weight as you go. But ensure you keep the weight below 10% of your body weight (3). Ankle weights increase your chances of sustaining injuries and must be avoided.

20. Try backward walking

Walking backward puts your leg muscles into use in an entirely different way. Also, such retro walking helps heal knee injuries faster. Such retro walking is better done on a treadmill but running on a deserted track would also produce good results. If you have access to neither of the two, you can walk in any outdoor space without any potholes, trees, traffic, etc. Make sure you use a spotter while walking outside. To prevent muscle soreness, begin slowly, and avoid walking backward at least a quarter mile for the first one week.

21. Forget the sports drinks

If you drink any sports drink while walking to burn fat, you are doing it wrong. Some people believe these sugar-dense drinks are right for them whenever they are engaged in a shorter or less intense workout (3). But in reality, these drinks contain more calories than what you might be shading while you walk. Experts advise you avoid taking such sports drinks unless you have been on an elevated heart rate for an hour or more.

22. Make sure you snack on Almonds

According to studies, any diet with a low-calorie content but rich in almonds can help you lose weight. The monounsaturated fats in almonds regulate insulin levels in your body and also help you feel fuller faster and for longer. This ensures you not to overeat. So, when next you go for a walk, make sure you go armed with a small bag of almonds to help you quench your hunger.

23. Swing your arms as you walk

If you want to get the best from your walks, don’t forget to swing your arms as you walk. When you swing your arms, you end up speeding up your pace even as you enjoy an upper body workout. Also, arms swinging walking helps you burn 5-10% more calories (4). Just bend your arms at 90% and pump right from your shoulder (4). Just swing them naturally like you are reaching for your wallet right in your back pocket. Your wrist should be close to the center of your chest as you swing forward.

24. Keep a walking journal

It is believed that keeping a journal can help you lose more weight. It is essential to note the days you engaged in fat-burning walks, the time you participated in these walks, the distance you covered, the time it took you to complete each routine, the route you took, and your weight at the end of each week.

25. Get some sunshine while you walk

Walking in daylight seems to enhance your weight loss. Studies show that sleep-deprived adults who were exposed to dim light showed lower levels of concentrations of the hormone, leptin, which is responsible for signaling fullness (3, 4). However, those exposed to blue light showed higher leptin levels (4). By letting some sunshine into your life, you will achieve a slimmer, healthier you.

26. Do not starve yourself

Your pre and post workout nutrition is no doubt the two most important meals you should eat during your day. Refueling your body immediately after your brisk walk or workout helps you replenish your glycogen levels, reduce your protein breakdown, and increase your protein synthesis as well as your ability to build muscles.

27. Avoid eating more than you burn during your walk

We need about 70-75% of the calories we burn daily for our basal metabolic functions (1, 4). These functions include everything from making your fingernails grow to keep your heart beating. When you spend more energy in the gym, your body will request more fuel with a rumbling belly and hunger pangs. When such exercise-induced hunger pangs hit, increase your calorie intakes from 20-30% of what you burned (4). You can track your calorie burning efficiency using a calorie tracker.

28. Pair your daily walks with some resistance training

Your body is continually burning calories even when you are at rest. About 75% of your daily calorie expenditure is spent by your body to keep you alive (4). Every muscle in your body uses up about 6 calories each day to sustain itself (3). Pairing your muscle maintaining exercises with your daily walks will no doubt help you burn more fats than anything else can.

29. Take de-stressing walks

Brisk walks and jogs help calm you down by sparking your brain nerve cells and help relax your senses. This is one good thing for your weight loss goals. Stress can slow down the rate at which your body metabolizes food. The foods you crave when you are stressed out are mostly fatty and sugary foods to worsen your overweight issues. According to researchers, a combination of stress-induced, slow metabolic rates and high cal cravings can make you gain weight.

Final Words

Making your daily walk as much as a part of your weight loss routine helps you get closer to achieving your weight loss and belly fat burning goals, you may not see the results you seek until you make some significant lifestyle changes that will further enhance your weight loss results. A combination of the best weight regulating habits and daily brisk walks will go a long way to keep those invading calories and unwanted fats at arm’s length. Also, you will enjoy all the benefits that come with staying fit and living healthy.

References

(1) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10920597_Burning_fat_through_exercise
(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241903/
(3) http://www.jenb.or.kr/xml/05383/05383.pdf
(4) https://icaa.cc/consumer/walkingsection/walkingguide.pdf

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