Take our Quiz

Walking for Weight Loss: Stepping Towards a Healthier You

by Lumen Editorial & Reviewed by: Mia Dige, Metabolic Coach · June 07, 2023 · 7 minute read
walking for weight loss

One small step for weight loss, one giant leap to healthy living

Managing your metabolism often goes hand-in-hand with managing your lifestyle. Daily habits like eating well and exercising can significantly impact how your body processes and balances energy.

Walking, a simple and natural activity rooted in our evolutionary history, has gained widespread recognition for its benefits in weight management and overall metabolic health.

When you walk, your body uses oxygen to burn fat and glycogen stores, engaging different muscle groups and boosting your metabolism. This helps improve body composition and support mitochondrial function, the cellular powerhouses that generate energy.

But walking's advantages go far beyond calorie burn. It enhances cardiovascular fitness, helps regulate blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, promotes better sleep aligned with your body's circadian rhythms, and boosts mental well-being.

One study (1) found that even mild physical activity, such as regular daily walking, helps prevent metabolic syndrome in the adults.

In this article, we’ll dive into the science behind walking for weight loss,  its physiological impact, practical tips, and motivational strategies to keep you moving forward on your health journey. 

does walking help you lose weightmetabolism quiz

The Science Behind Walking for Weight Loss

As the most common moderate physical activity among adults, walking can lead to modest reductions in body mass index (BMI) and body weight, even without diet changes (2).

Researchers found that a 12-week walking program (1 hour, 3 days a week) helped obese women significantly reduce subcutaneous and visceral fat and waist circumference (2).

Can You Lose Weight By Walking?

Inactivity increases the risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. Walking helps counter a sedentary lifestyle and burn more calories.

For weight loss, aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk walking at a moderate pace five days a week. Picking up the pace and extending duration can enhance results. A walking workout that raises your heart rate is far more beneficial than a stroll.

Pick up the pace

While brisk walking can yield improved outcomes, it's perfectly fine to start at a pace that matches your current fitness abilities. This research paper suggests that the faster the walking pace (a brisk 3 mph or faster), the greater the health benefits (2).

Make it part of a healthy lifestyle 

Achieving and maintaining an optimal weight is a lifelong commitment that involves sustainable lifestyle modifications. This entails consuming a balanced, nutrient-rich diet, getting quality sleep of 7-9 hours, managing stress, and participating in regular physical activity.

is walking good for weight loss

Healthy food choices coupled with increased physical activity will influence your energy balance. Even short daily walks can help boost your metabolism, physical endurance, and bone strength and muscle power. 

High-intensity walking also engages core muscles to burn abdominal fat.

How Many Steps for Weight Loss?

The famous 10,000 daily step goal is associated with enhanced 18-month weight loss when at least 3,500 of those steps are moderate-to-vigorous intensity in bouts of 10+ minutes (3).

However, the optimal number differs for each individual. The CDC recommends simply "moving more and sitting less." Aim for 10,000+ steps if motivating, but don't get discouraged by lower counts. It's important to listen to your body, push it within healthy limits, and take pride in what it can achieve.

More importantly, support your walking routine with a personalized nutritional plan tailored to your body's needs. This optimizes nutrient intake for metabolic health.

While you’re getting your steps in, you still have to watch what you eat and ensure it suits your body and health goals. Knowing what to eat and when is a necessary process to go through to lose weight. This way, you’re better equipped to optimize your nutrient intake, ensuring you get all the nutrients to support your metabolic health.


Walking is a Good Exercise - 5 Tips for Integrating it into Your Daily Routines

Walking is a regular activity, but sometimes we don't get enough due to our schedules or work structure. You should get at least 30 minutes of walking without stopping in a day. This might be a nut to crack, but pull out a pair of comfortable trainers and grab onto these tips from our Lumen Metabolic Coaches

  1. Take the Stairs: Whenever possible, opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. This not only increases your step count but also boosts your heart rate, helping you burn more calories.
  2. Park Further Away: When running errands or going to work, park your car further away from your destination. The extra steps to and from your vehicle can add up over time.
  3. Set a Timer: If you're working at a desk all day, set a timer to remind yourself to get up and walk around every hour. This can help to break up long periods of sitting, which is beneficial for your overall health.
  4. Walk and Talk: If you're in the habit of catching up with friends over the phone, why not turn those calls into walking opportunities? You can chat while walking around your neighborhood or even pacing in your home.
  5. Family Walks: Make walking a family affair. After dinner, instead of settling down in front of the TV, encourage everyone to go for a walk. This is a great way to spend quality time together while also getting some exercise.

walking to lose weight plan

If walking doesn’t excite you enough, here are some techniques you can incorporate into your routines to make them more interesting and engaging.

  • Incorporate interval training: Interval training involves alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with rest or lower-intensity exercise periods. Incorporating intervals into your walk can help keep you engaged and challenged.

  • Walk with a friend or join a walking group: Walking with a friend or joining a walking group can make your walks more social and enjoyable.

  • Create walking challenges: Setting walking challenges, such as increasing your distance or speed, can help keep you motivated and interested in walking.

  • Practice mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness during your walk, such as focusing on your breath or observing your surroundings, can help you stay present and engaged in the activity.  

Benefits of Walking Beyond Weight Loss

Walking is a simple yet effective exercise that can benefit physical and mental health. The benefits of walking show it may help

  • Improve cardiovascular health by strengthening the heart and reducing the risk of heart disease. It also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

  • Improve your mood as the body releases endorphins, natural chemicals in the brain that make you feel good, making you happier and more relaxed

  • Increase melatonin production, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to natural light during a walk can help to reset the body's internal clock and promote healthy sleep patterns.

  • Improve sleep apnea symptoms, a condition that causes interruptions in breathing during sleep. Regular exercise can strengthen the muscles that control breathing, reducing the frequency and severity of sleep apnea symptoms.

A holistic approach to health and wellness helps you recognize that all parts of your life are connected. It empowers you to actively participate in your health, taking your well-being into your hands and ensuring you stay healthy.

Walking provides not just physical, but also psychological benefits. These come from engaging with our surroundings and nature, beyond our pedometer or music. This might include observing nature or the people around us.

Buddhist monks practice walking meditations, focusing on physical movements for relaxation. Research indicates that such mindful walking can help lower blood pressure and alleviate depression (6).

Tracking Your Progress & Staying Motivated

Staying motivated is key to maintaining a regular walking routine. Here are a few tips from Lumen’s metabolic coaches:

  • Set achievable goals: Setting realistic goals can help keep you motivated. For example, aim to walk for 10 minutes a day and gradually increase your time as your fitness improves.

  • Make it enjoyable: Listen to your favorite music or podcasts, walk in a beautiful location, or enlist a friend to join you.

  • Track your progress: Some numerous apps and devices can help you track your steps, distance, and calories burned. Seeing your progress can be a powerful motivator.

  • Use real-time feedback: Measuring the effect of your exercise on your metabolism is a great way to learn what’s working for your body - whether it be intensity, type of exercise, duration, or time of the day. Learning more about your body and its metabolic rate will help you keep on the right track to achieving your health goals.


Persistence and consistency are key for sustainable weight loss success. Combine walking with balanced nutrition focused on whole, nutrient-dense foods to fuel your journey.  Proper meal timing, quality proteins, healthy fats, complex carbs, fiber, and micronutrients like CoQ10 from foods like fatty fish, nuts and organ meats all support efficient mitochondrial function and metabolic flexibility.

Each step may seem small, but it propels you toward a healthier, more vibrant life. So lace up and start walking - your body will thank you!


Creasy SA, Lang W, Tate DF, Davis KK, Jakicic JM. Pattern of Daily Steps is Associated with Weight Loss: Secondary Analysis from the Step-Up Randomized Trial. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Jun;26(6):977-984. doi: 10.1002/oby.22171. Epub 2018 Apr 6. PMID: 29633583; PMCID: PMC5970037.

Gainey A, Himathongkam T, Tanaka H, Suksom D. Effects of Buddhist walking meditation on glycemic control and vascular function in patients with type 2 diabetes. Complementary therapies in medicine. 2016 Jun 1;26:92-7.

Najafian J, Mohammadifard N, Naeini FF, Nouri F. Relation between usual daily walking time and metabolic syndrome. Niger Med J. 2014 Jan;55(1):29-33. doi: 10.4103/0300-1652.128156. PMID: 24970966; PMCID: PMC4071659.

Walking: Is it enough for weight loss? - Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/walking/faq-20058345#:~:text=Physical%20activity%2C%20such%20as%20walking,more%20calories%20you'll%20burn.

Walking for weight loss: 8 tips to burn fat- Medical News Today, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles325809

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical activity guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition.

Omura JD, Ussery EN, Loustalot F, Fulton JE, Carlson SA. Walking as an Opportunity for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. Prev Chronic Dis. 2019 May 30;16:E66. doi: 10.5888/pcd16.180690. PMID: 31146804; PMCID: PMC6549420.

lumen metabolic health coach

Lumen Editorial & Reviewed by: Mia Dige, Metabolic Coach

Mia is a Women’s Health Specialist and a Personal Trainer. She has a genuine passion for supporting and empowering people on their journeys to better health and happiness. Mia is currently a Metabolic Coach and Events Host at Lumen, regularly hosting talks with field experts on various health topics. Mia has a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology with Evolutionary Psychology & a Master’s degree in International Health.