Can you lose belly fat by walking? I put myself to the test and for 3 months, I walked to beat the bulge. Did I win?
Yes, I did, with a weight loss of over 20 kg from walking. Keep in mind, I started at 75 kg. That is 26.67% of weight loss.
Rather than running or climbing the stairs, I chose walking for my cardio. It is a mild form of exercise, one that has less impact on my joints. In particular my knee joints.
You see, years of playing basketball have whittled down my meniscus, causing my knee to hurt during or after bouts of high-intensity activities.
So I needed something less impactful. Something that will not further decay my knees’ shock absorbers.
After minimal thinking, I came up with walking. Does walking reduce belly fat? You already know the answer, and it’s yes, walking to lose belly fat works. Who would have thought this mild form of exercise is so effective.
I wrote an article on how to lose weight at home in 5 simple steps. Check it out.
Also, read about the simple and proven methods to lose belly fat to help you fast track your way to a healthier you.
The no BS on how to lose belly fat by walking
I know, people walk all the time, anywhere, everywhere, yet they are still the same.
However, there is a difference between casual walks to fat-burning walks.
If you just want to lose those extra calories you ate for breakfast, then go window shopping for an hour or two or four. The amount you walk depends on what you had for breakfast.
But, when it comes to losing your belly fat, you need to know your maximum heart rate (MHR).
How to find your maximum heart rate?
You already know how to measure your heart rate, by counting your heartbeat per minute.
But you have to learn how to calculate what heart rate is needed to burn fat.
Firstly, you need to get your maximum heart rate.
Originally the equation was subtracting your age from 220 and the result is your maximum heart rate.
Researches have since corrected this formula after a study about longitudinal modeling of the relationship between age and maximal heart rate.
They found our maximum heart rate (MHR) goes down as we age. If you are still using the old 220 method, and you are older than 50, you might be putting yourself at risk.
The new, safer formula to calculate your MHR is 207 – (0.7 x age).
You can easily find your MHR by using our calculator.
What’s the best heart rate to burn fat?
In an NCBI publication, Quantifying differences in the “fat burning” zone and the aerobic zone: implications for training, found the ideal heart rate to burn fat.
After putting 36 fit and active people through high intensity to moderate aerobic workouts they found there is a minimal difference in fat oxidation from a high heart rate to moderate.
They advice the following:
the practitioner or subject can be reasonably confident MFO (maximal fat oxidation) lies between 60.2% and 80.0% of the maximal heart rate.
At only 60% of your, MHR to reach the fat-burning zone, achieving maximal fat loss shouldn’t have to be a grueling event where you are left huffing and panting to near death.
So to find the best heart rate for you to burn fat, use this calculation. I will use myself as an example, my age is 40.
The equation is as follows:
Firstly, find your maximum heart rate. 207 – (0.7×40) = 179 BPM
Secondly, multiply 179 BPM by 60.2% and you get your optimal fat-burning zone, 108, rounded off.
Thirdly, find out your upper, fat-burning zone so you can maximize your workout safely. In my case, 179 BPM x 80% = 143.
Or, you can use our fat burning zone calculator by clicking here.
Walking tips for weight loss
Here are some tips you should consider when you start walking to lose that extra baggage. Follow each step to ensure you get the maximum result for your efforts.
Get ready and ripped for the summer and hit the asphalt today.
Shoes are the most important in your list. It’s what keeps your feet off the ground and provides protection from the elements.
The shoes should fit properly and only little movement when worn. Allow a maximum of half an inch space from the tip of your longest toe to the tip of your shoe.
Consider the width of the shoe as well. Make sure your foot is not compressed. If it is, ask for a wider size. Don’t ask for a bigger size as this may not necessarily solve the problem.
Can walking reduce belly fat? It sure can, but not with the wrong shoe size. A proper fitting shoe is more important than a shirt that whisks sweat.
Some people go sock-less. “It’s just walking,” is their mentality. But walk long enough. You’ll soon feel pain.
If you are considered fit and in good health, you might be tempted to just walk fast and go a long distance from the get-go. But wait, stop.
I suggest walking slowly for a few blocks then pick up the pace. This will get your legs warmed up, stretched and ready to brisk.
Take it slow
During your first few weeks, try to take it easy. Walk for 20 minutes twice or three times a week then gradually increase the number week by week.
For example, week 1 will be 20-minute walks for 2 days. Week 2 will be 25-minute walks for 3 days. Then week 3 will be 30 minutes for 4 days and so forth.
Aim to walk for 35 minutes each session, 5 days a week.
Best weather for walking
If you are anything like me, walking is only done on sunny weather, not snow or rain, in our case, hail.
The chances of incidents get higher when visibility is poor. There are many hazards on the road including, mud, water, and uneven surfaces that may cause falls and fractures.
This is when a treadmill comes in handy. We bought ours for $1000 and it’s worth every penny.
But you are not me, you might actually like walking in the rain or snow. Just be sure that you are looking at where you are stepping.
I did not know I could do a split and how painful it is until I stepped on slippery mud. Be careful out there.
When walking with a group, you keep each other motivated. Even if you just have one friend to walk with, it helps.
I know it’s fun to have great conversations with a friend, but don’t lax so you can have a chat about what you had for dinner. Keep the pace moderate or brisk.
In addition to keeping each other accountable, there is safety in numbers.
Walk to lose fat not to chat. As I mentioned above, it’s great to have a chat with a friend. Albeit, if you and your friend are just too relaxed, I suggest you two should walk alone.
I define moderate walking as being able to hold a conversation at a relatively good pace. While brisk walking is hard to speak and you’d rather not say anything to conserve energy. This is another way to make sure you are hitting the fat burning zone without checking your heart rate.
If you walk listening to music, create a playlist. Having your favorite songs playing one after another will keep you motivated and walking for longer.
Not having a favorite song playlist can distract your walk. Imagine you are always fiddling with your device to skip songs?
It diverts your attention from the road and can slow down your heart rate, which will kick you off the fat-burning zone. Not to mention it’s damn annoying.
Walk before breakfast
If your schedule permits, hit the ground walking in the mornings before you have your breakfast.
You can accelerate stomach fat loss according to NCBI who states, “…exercise performed before breakfast increased 24-h fat oxidation more than exercise performed after breakfast, lunch, or dinner…”
Throw away the sports drinks
Unless you have been doing high-intensity activities for more than an hour, you don’t need a sports drink. Gatorade, Powerade contain a significant amount of calories. Of which, may render your walking obsolete.
Sometimes these type of drinks is needed to prevent severe dehydration. They have their uses, but if you are only walking for less than an hour, a refreshing, 0 calorie water is all you need.
Bring a bottle of water
If you have to hold something in your hand while walking, make sure it is a bottle of water. Water will keep your body functioning properly and fresh.
Studies have also shown that drinking water can make you lose weight. Yes, water is enough to keep you hydrated.
You don’t need to buy that expensive sugar, calorie-laden sports drink.
Make it a habit
We, humans, are habitual creatures. Once you make walking a daily routine or even just 3 or 4 times a week routine, you will never miss another workout.
Once you make it a habit, you’ll feel guilty when you miss a session.
Look for hills
Once you are fitter and the flat roads gets too easy, it’s time to challenge yourself.
This is the moment when you want to vary your terrain. Go look for hills or steep roads around your area.
If there aren’t any steep trails around your area, try driving around to find one. Perhaps in your next session, you can walk there.
When it’s too far to walk it, drive there and walk. This is what I did when I was running to lose weight. I needed a challenge and there were no hills around my area.
I had to drive 5 km out of the city just to run up hills and step up my fitness.
Little tips when walking or running downhills. Keep your legs bent and take shorter steps, your legs will thank you for it.
After every workout, you should always cool down. This helps your heart rate go back to normal slowly and may prevent faintness.
Lose the potbelly by walking 30 minutes to an hour a day
Walking is underrated when it comes to cardio. You wouldn’t think it can make you lose your fat belly.
To give an example, I am the type who loves to eat when I am on holiday. Not just eat, I mean really EAT. I can eat a horse and have my dessert too.
Every time I come back home from a vacation, I gain kilos, especially in the midsection.
My last trip to the Philippines I ate so much! Their food is just freaking yum! In addition, Filipino food is not big on health compared to other cuisines like Vietnamese food. Vietnamese dishes are full of vegetables while Filipino food is meat, meat, meat, rice.
I’ve been cooking Filipino food all my life and I love adobo, especially pork adobo.
The best pork adobo is one in which you can feel a bit of fat in your lips but not so much because the perfect addition of vinegar has diluted the fattiness of the pork fats.
The pork is tender and juicy and melts away in your mouth.
Anyway… You can imagine how much fat there is in this dish. But, not all Filipino foods are bad. There are Filipino dishes that are so delish that you’d never think it’s healthy.
Walking and belly fat and Jollibee
Have you heard of Jollibee? It’s a fast-food chain originally from the Philippines. There are many found in California with plans for more to open in the not too distant future.
They have these burgers that pack more yum than any burger from Hungry Jacks or McDonald’s. I kid you not.
I don’t eat junk food but I make it an exception when it comes to Jollibee burgers.
I was expecting to hit fat city when I came back to Australia from the Philippines 2 years ago, but I did NOT gain any weight. My gut stayed the same too.
I thought my eyes were deceiving me or the scale was wrong. So I double-checked and it returned the same number. There was no weight gain at all.
Thinking back, while staying in the Philippines, we did something we never do. Every day, my partner and I went out shopping and walked around the city for 1 to 3 hours. Sometimes 5 hours, because we had so much time to do absolutely nothing.
Walking around the city for at least an hour offsets the calories we ate. And we did not only eat just one meal a day. Our minimum was 4 meals in a day not including the little side desserts we ate while walking.
Walking is a great way to maintain your weight. Even better for losing weight as it has less impact on the joints.
Does walking burn belly fat?
Absolutely you can lose belly fat by walking. Keep in mind, to maximize fat loss, you need to be hitting the fat-burning zone. Of which, you can calculate using our calculator.
Walking casually will not do it for your belly fat but it will offset some calories you ate for breakfast and, or, lunch.
You need to walk briskly to get your heart rate up to 61% to 80% of your maximum heart rate.
Make sure you buy the proper gear if you want to go for long walks. Buy proper fitting shoes, your legs, knees, feet will thank you in the long run.
If you sit around all day, you will gain belly fat. Make walking a daily habit. A half an hour walk will help prevent weight gain.
Are you walking to lose belly fat? Leave a comment on how walking is working out or not working for you.
And if you want to know more ways to lose belly fat, click here.
“I have the metabolism of a sloth and a body that hates putting on muscles. This curse motivated me to study weight loss and nutrition. I want to share my experiences and knowledge to help you achieve your ideal body.”— Christian Tanobey