Walking Workout Schedule for Weight Loss

woman walking in woods and checking fitness watch

Verywell

When you are walking to lose weight, following a workout schedule will help you be consistent and reach the goals you've set for yourself. But your walking workout doesn't have to be the same old grind every day. To reduce boredom and burnout, it can be helpful to participate in different types of walking workouts during the week while also giving your body adequate rest and recovery.

Benefits of a Walking Workout Plan

A well-designed walking schedule can help you achieve the recommendations for aerobic activity and strength training suggested by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American Heart Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for optimal health and weight loss.

To gain health benefits, major health organizations recommend 150–300 minutes minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise or 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. You can also combine moderate and vigorous aerobic activity to reach this goal. Strength training at least two times per week is also recommended.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adds that more moderate-intensity physical activity (beyond 300 minutes per week) may offer additional health benefits.

So what benefits might you gain with these levels of physical activity? Reaching these goals is associated with improved sleep, reduced anxiety, and an improved quality of life. It is also associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and other diseases.

If your intention is weight loss, reaching these guidelines can help to reduce the rate of weight gain, and help with weight loss, particularly when combined with reduced calorie intake. And lastly, these physical activity guidelines can help you to prevent weight regain once you've reached your goal.

Health and Weight Loss Walking Plan

Whether you are walking for weight loss, weight maintenance, or improved health, you can use this schedule to reach your goals. Modify the workout days as needed. For instance, If you know that Thursdays tend to be hectic, then you might want to schedule your long walking workout on another day. If you choose to skip a day, that's okay. The schedule helps you to pick up right where you left off.

If you are new to walking, it is best to build up your walking time gradually before using this schedule. If you have been walking for less than 30 minutes at a time, start with a 10-minute or 20-minute walk to see how you do. Repeat that walk daily and add a couple of minutes of walking time to it after the first week. Continue with this pattern to improve your endurance until you are ready to use the schedule below.

Schedule

This plan is best for those who enjoy longer walks. The time listed is at your target heart rate and pace, after warming up. You can break up the long walks into two shorter walks if your schedule doesn't allow you enough time for one long walk in a day.

Sample Daily Walking Schedule

  • Sunday: Long walking workout for 60 minutes at a brisk pace
  • Monday: Recovery day with no walking workout, but you can enjoy easy activity
  • Tuesday: Short walking workout for 30 minutes at a brisk pace, plus a strength training workout
  • Wednesday: Short walking workout for 30 minutes at a brisk pace
  • Thursday: Long walking workout for 60 minutes at a brisk pace
  • Friday: Short walking workout for 30 minutes at a brisk pace, plus a strength training workout.
  • Saturday: Long easy walking day for 30 minutes at a brisk pace, then 30 to 90 more minutes at an easy pace.

Workout Details

For many of your workouts, you'll be walking at a brisk pace. A brisk pace is one where you are breathing harder than usual and your heart rate is at 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. You can check your heart rate by taking your pulse (by hand or using an app), using a fitness tracker that has heart rate detection, or wearing a heart rate monitor.

Short Walking Workout

  • Warm up at an easy pace for three to five minutes.
  • Speed up to a brisk walk at the target pace for 30 minutes.
  • Slow to an easy pace for three to five minutes.
  • You may want to do a gentle stretching routine after your warm-up or after you finish your walk.

Very​ Short Walking Workout

If you don't have time for a sustained walk, find the time to take two to four 15-minute walks. Your time at a brisk pace for the day should add up to at least 30 minutes.

  • Warm up at an easy pace for one to three minutes.
  • Speed up to a brisk pace for at least 10 minutes.
  • Slow to an easy pace for one to three minutes.

Long Walking Workout

  • Warm up for five minutes at an easy pace.
  • Walk at a brisk walking pace for 60 minutes.
  • Slow to an easy pace for five minutes.

Long Easy Walking Workout

You can spice up this workout by joining in a local charity walk or joining a walking group or club for their workouts.

  • Warm up for five minutes at an easy pace.
  • Walk at the target brisk walking pace for 30 minutes.
  • Slow to an easy pace for an additional 30 to 90 minutes.

Recovery Day

Your body needs rest and recovery to recharge and rebuild. In fact, some researchers even refer to recovery days as "windows of opportunity" when you can take advantage of the body's adaptation to exercise by optimizing rest and fueling the body with a balance of nutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and protein).

There are different ways to do recovery. Some people prefer a full rest day. That is, they take a complete break from exercise and enjoy other activities, like time with family and friends. Other people prefer active recovery, where you might participate in some type of physical activity but at an intensity level that feels leisurely and easy. For instance, on your day off, you may want to enjoy an easy stroll, a fun bike ride, or a scenic hike.

Your body will tell you if you should take a complete break from exercise or if you have the energy to participate in light movement. Your body may also tell you that you need more than one recovery day.

For example, on the schedule listed above, Friday could be used as a recovery day if you feel that your body needs it. But if you take Friday off, move the second strength training workout to Thursday so that you still meet activity guidelines provided by HHS.

If you feel like you need more than two recovery days each week, you might be working too hard. If this happens, make sure that you check your heart rate when walking to be sure you are not overdoing it. Drop back to 50% or less of your target heart rate and cut back on the number of long days in preference for short days.

Strength Training

Strength training will help you to improve muscular, strength, power, and endurance. Some strength workouts, such as those that include functional exercises, can also help you to improve your balance and coordination. All of these benefits help you to move through activities of daily living with greater ease. Strength training also helps us to age better.

If training with weights is new to you, don't worry. There is no need to join a gym or buy expensive equipment. You can do simple body weight exercises at home to get stronger and fitter. For instance, clear a space in your living room and do 10-15 reps of these exercises:

If you are walking to lose weight, adding strength training to your schedule can help you reach your healthy weight goal. Research suggests that participating in a resistance training program helps to increase lean body weight and when combined with a dietary intervention also helps to reduce body fat.

A Word From Verywell

Walking is a good cardio exercise that can be part of your overall health plan or weight loss efforts. To lose weight more effectively, pair your walking plan with a nutritionally balanced diet. You may find it helpful to work with a registered dietitian to be sure that you are getting adequate energy and nutrients.

Lastly, remember to give yourself credit along the way as you adopt this schedule. Sticking to the plan can help to improve your quality of life and overall wellness. It is an accomplishment in and of itself, regardless of the number on the scale.

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5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2nd edition

  3. Luttrell MJ, Halliwill JR. Recovery from exercise: vulnerable state, window of opportunity, or crystal ball?Front Physiol. 2015;6:204. Published 2015 Jul 22. doi:10.3389/fphys.2015.00204

  4. Papa EV, Dong X, Hassan M. Resistance training for activity limitations in older adults with skeletal muscle function deficits: a systematic reviewClin Interv Aging. 2017;12:955-961. Published 2017 Jun 13. doi:10.2147/CIA.S104674

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