Walking is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, but does a walk a day really keep the calories away? This popular workout can be done anywhere and pretty much any time of day, and research shows it can work wonders on your waistline while keeping your heart strong. However, if it’s your only form of exercise, you’re likely wondering if walking every day is enough to keep you fit as a fiddle. It can be. However, the answer is that it depends on several key factors.

Jordan Fernandez, CPT from Trainer Academy, sums it up in a nutshell. “Whether walking every day is ‘enough exercise’ depends entirely upon your goals, current fitness level, phase of life, and many other factors. If walking is your only form of exercise and your goal is to continually improve your fitness, you will need to increase the intensity by either doing more aggressive hills, longer distances, or increasing the speed of your walk.”

Again, it’s really goal-specific for each individual.

Walking every day should be adequate if you hope to maintain your aerobic fitness.

fit woman holding protein shake on a walk, concept of ways to lower cortisol levelsfit woman holding protein shake on a walk, concept of ways to lower cortisol levels

If your goal is to maintain your aerobic fitness and stay within the recommended weekly guidelines, getting in your steps should be adequate if you’re sure to crank up your pace and heart rate for a solid 30 to 60 minutes per day. However, if you’re looking to build strength and muscle, then you likely won’t accomplish that by just walking.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest adults complete at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderately intense or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise each week. However, the guidelines also recommend performing at least two days of muscle-strengthening activities per week.

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10 Ways To Maximize Your Walking Workout for Faster Weight Loss

Walking can help you melt body fat.

woman walking on trails, concept of daily walking workout for women to get fitwoman walking on trails, concept of daily walking workout for women to get fit

According to Domenic Angelino, MS, CSCS, FNS, CPT, from Trainer Academy, walking can help you melt unwanted body fat.

“It’s not necessarily more or less effective than other methods in that you’re still just burning calories at the end of the day,” he explains. “But it can help you burn more calories than you otherwise would. If you fit in an extra 15-minute walk or so a few times a week, you’d hit your fat-loss goals even faster.”

The great thing about walking is that it can seamlessly be incorporated into other comprehensive workout regimens without significantly increasing fatigue.

How To Do Interval Walking for Weight Loss

Walking can improve your overall quality of life.

woman happy walking on the beach, concept of exercises for women to live longerwoman happy walking on the beach, concept of exercises for women to live longer

Walking daily can boost your quality of life and make other physical activities feel more doable.

“If you walk regularly at a brisk pace, you’ll find that taking many flights of stairs will start to feel easier on your body,” Angelino tells us. “This effect will be amplified if you regularly walk up hills with steep inclines because you’ll engage muscles in a more similar way to how you would when walking up the stairs. For example, you’ll recruit your glutes in a more similar way than if you were walking on a flat surface.”

25 Pro Tips for Walking to Lose Weight

Tips to maximize the benefits of your walking workout:

mature man walking outdoors, concept of fitness tips to prevent bone lossmature man walking outdoors, concept of fitness tips to prevent bone loss

To ensure your walking workout is the best it can possibly be, Angelino provides a few pro tips.

1. Choose inclines or stairs whenever possible.

When the opportunity presents itself, opt for the incline or stairs.

“This will recruit more muscle fibers, increase the intensity of your walk, burn more calories, and improve your cardiorespiratory fitness,” Angelino explains. “It’s beneficial for a whole host of reasons. This can also be used as a form of progression if you want. If you’re working up to running, you can use incline or stair walking as a stepping stone to transition from walking on flat surfaces.”

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2. Recruit a walking buddy.

Exercising with a friend makes the activity so much more enjoyable and motivates you to get it done.

“If you have a friend that you want to spend time with, it’s totally possible to structure it around a walk,” Angelino suggests. “This lets you reframe the exercise as something totally different: a fun social activity. Walking feels a lot less intrusive in your life when you do it in order to achieve some other goal, like [spending] time with a friend.”

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3. Maintain a brisk pace.

When it comes to walking speed, make sure to maintain a brisk pace that’s comfortable for you. It’s all about finding that “sweet spot.”

“It can be easy to fall into the trap of walking super casually,” says Angelino. “If you walk faster, you’ll burn more calories and experience greater health and fitness benefits. It’s important to be careful, though. If you walk too fast, you might [feel] a bit fatigued, [making] it harder to motivate yourself to walk more in the future.”

4. Hydrate.

Make sure you bring a water bottle with you and stay sufficiently hydrated during your walk.

“It can be easy to overlook the importance of water when walking due to it being such a low-impact activity,” Angelino explains. “However, staying properly hydrated can help you naturally extend the length of your walk. If you find that you’re physiologically uncomfortable for any reason during your walk, you’ll be less likely to want to extend it.”

Alexa Mellardo

Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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