There have been many times in my life when I committed to walking daily to lose weight. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t help. Hindsight is always 20/20 and after years of healthy living under my belt now, I believe I know the answer to the common question so many women over 40 ask, “Does walking help to lose weight?”.
Do you ever get a group of friends together and set a goal to walk daily to lose weight? It’s a pretty common method of exercise, so much that I have a printable 30 day walking challenge that’s one of the most downloaded challenges.
What I have learned about walking for weight loss…
Like I mentioned above, I have been in a few walking groups over the years and did some days of walking alone all in the name of losing weight and getting into shape.
Walking without losing any weight
I have walked and it was seemingly a waste of time. It was a waste of time because I didn’t change my eating habits enough and I didn’t do any other exercise. So, whatever weight I lost (if any) came right back.
My heart also wasn’t getting the cardio workout it needed because I walked and talked…thus it was more of a stroll.
Walking for Weight Loss the Right Way
I am currently in the midst of a daily walking routine to burn fat. My goal is to walk at least 45 minutes every day. My goal is to get my heart rate in the fat-burning zone for 45 min. Thankfully I have a park about a mile from my house with sidewalks the entire way, so it is easy, no excuses walk. The walk ends up typically being between 2-3 miles after walking around the park a bit.
There are many different ways to use walking to lose weight and depending on what your goals are, I think many can be very beneficial.
Walking for beginners is a great way to create a habit and love for exercise by increasing daily calories burned, releasing the endorphins, and initial toning leg muscles.
Once a daily habit is created, that could be a great time to begin to tighten up nutrition. Eliminating as much processed foods as possible, cutting out the sugar, and tracking macros (not calories) will all pack a punch to your weight loss goals.
After getting a pretty good handle on nutrition, turn your focus on learning to lift weights. Yes, I said it, lifting weights. (Don’t be afraid of weights like I was for a year or so at the beginning of my journey.) Unless you are working REALLY hard on specific bodybuilding goals, you will NOT create a bodybuilding body by lifting weights.
There are a whole list of health benefits to lifting weights after 40, but for the purpose of this article, you’ll want to tone your muscles to increase metabolism.
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Let’s Recap – How to make the most of walking daily –
- Walk daily – at least 30-45 min
- Clean up nutrition
- Lift weights 4-5 days a week
Biggest mistakes made
By far the biggest mistake I have made when trying to lose weight is giving up too soon. I expected to see results within a couple of weeks and when I didn’t, I would give up.
Secondly, I would starve myself and once I was at my goal weight I would go back to my old habits.
Logically, neither of those make sense, but I did them both time and time again.
Until 2013 when those didn’t work anymore and I had to switch things up.
Moral of the story is, learn everything you can about good health and stick with it. Our bodies, even after age 40, are capable of remarkable things. I wish I started my health journey 20+ years ago because frankly, being strong and fit is a lot more fun than being out of breath and tired.
What my fitness plan looks like right now
My overall fitness plan changes from time to time, definitely from season to season. Sometimes I am more “into” than others and currently, I am about as “into it” as I get and have been for going on 3 months now.
My goal is to gain more muscle, drop more fat.
Weekly Plan and Focus
- Lift weights 4 days
- Cardio 2 days
- Walking 7 days
- Nutrition – tracking everything – moderate carbs, moderate-high protein, low fat
Do you currently walk every day? What has your experience been – does walking help to lose weight?