Walking is a simple, effective way to start losing weight, but if you want to see results, you'll need to get your steps in every single day and pair them with a clean, healthy diet. That's true for shedding any unwanted pounds in your midsection, too, since those inches will come off naturally when you begin losing fat all over. "Proper eating will help you reduce belly fat, while exercise can help you keep it off," Steven McDaniels, an NASM-certified personal trainer and director of fitness and recreation at Beacon College in Leesburg, FL, told POPSUGAR.
Steven recommends walking an hour each day, or splitting that time into two 30-minute sessions, if that better fits your schedule. Just how quickly you'll see results depends on a number of factors, including your weight and the intensity of your workout. For example, here's how many calories a 145-pound woman would burn, based on her fitness level:
- Beginner: Walking at 2 to 2.5 miles per hour (a slow, conversational pace) for 60 minutes a day would burn approximately 200 calories.
- Intermediate: Walking at 3.5 miles per hour (a brisk pace) for 60 minutes a day would burn approximately 250 to 300 calories.
- Advanced: Walking at 4.5 miles per hour (a fast speed walk) for 60 minutes a day would burn approximately 350 calories.
Steven explained that, since one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, it would take roughly two weeks for someone in that advanced category to burn enough calories to begin losing weight. (For the others, it would be a bit longer.) Of course, anything else you can do to help create a calorie deficit — like watching your portions — will speed up that timeline.
To maximize your walking workout, Steven recommends adding strength training to your routine. "This will increase overall fat loss, which in turn can have an effect on belly fat," he said. You can also focus on abdominal exercises to help tone and tighten your core as you lose fat.