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Understanding Weight Loss: How to Lose 20 Pounds by Walking

Fitday Editor

Walking is a great way to lose 20 pounds for many reasons, and knowing how to do it effectively will help you reach your goal weight in no time. Walking is enjoyable for most people, easy on your joints, and one of the safest forms of exercise. Many people find they can stick to a walking program long term which is essential for weight maintenance. The key to losing 20 pounds by walking is to set appropriate goals and understand the fundamentals of weight loss.

How Long Will it Take Me to Lose 20 Pounds?

At a weight loss rate of ½ -1 pound per week, it will likely take you at least 20 weeks to lose 20 pounds. Losing weight at this pace is safe and will help you keep the weight off long term. To accomplish a weight loss of ½ - 1 pound per week, try to burn an extra 250-500 calories per day by walking. If you find you're not burning this many calories by walking alone, simply reduce your calorie intake through diet in addition to walking.

How Often Should I Walk?

If you're a beginner, start by walking 3 days per week for at least 15-20 minutes. Gradually increase the frequency and duration of your walks until you are walking 30-60 minutes per day, most days of the week. To help keep your walks enjoyable try alternate walking indoors with walking outdoors, watching television during your walks (using a treadmill), or listening to music or a book on tape with headphones. For most people it's not walking they dislike, but becoming bored during the walk. Work walking into your regular routine and make it a priority.

How Many Calories Can I Burn By Walking?

The number of calories per minute you can burn by walking is determined by your body weight and walking pace. If you walk at a pace of 4 miles per hour (a common pace) you can burn the following amount of calories per minute: 120 lb. person = 4.7 calories; 140 lb. person = 5.5 calories; 160 lb. person = 6.3 calories; 180 lb. person = 7.1 calories; 200 lb. person = 7.8 calories; and 220 lb. person = 8.6 calories. If you plan to lose 20 pounds by walking alone, try to burn at least 250 extra calories during your walk per day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds you'd have to walk at least 40 minutes per day at a pace of 4 miles per hour to lose ½ pound per week. If you're unsure of your pace, try walking on a treadmill to give you a better idea.

How Can I Lose Weight and Stay Toned?

Walking alone will definitely help you lose weight, however adding resistance exercise to your routine will help keep you tight and toned during your weight loss. Try walking with arm or ankle weights some days or interval train a few days per week (alternate power walking with moderately paced walks). On the days you don't walk, try lifting weights, Pilates or strength band training to stay toned while losing 20 pounds.

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