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The Best Indoor Walking Programs for Weight Loss

By Joseph Eitel ; Updated July 18, 2017

Walking is a low-impact, effective weight loss program that can be done by people of all fitness levels. Whether or not you have access to a treadmill, you can take advantage of the health benefits that a brisk walk can provide. Since you need to burn about 3,500 calories in order to burn one pound of fat, your diet and exercise regimen should aim for a calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day for healthy weight loss.

Interval Training

Interval training is also referred to as high intensity interval training, or HIIT. This type of exercise regimen can be done with or without a treadmill, and it works by using short rest and work intervals one after the other with no rest in between. For instance, you would walk at a moderate pace for one minute followed by a vigorous walking pace for a minute. You would then repeat this cycle up to 10 times with no rest in between each interval. Many treadmills offer an interval training program built in, but this workout can also be done by simply walking in place or around an indoor track. HIIT can lead to increased muscle capacities and efficient fat burning, according to a December 2008 study conducted by Perry et al and published on the University of New Mexico website.

Incline Workout

Increasing the incline of your treadmill, or simply walking up an incline/stairs, can increase the intensity of your workout and, thus, burn more calories. The fitness experts at NutriStrategy.com point out that while a 155-lb. person walking at a brisk pace can burn about 267 calories per hour, the same person walking on an incline can burn about 422 calories–a significant increase. Incline walking routines also tend to be easier on your joints, so it’s a good choice for those with arthritis, back pain or sore joints.

CDC Recommendation

Based on proven scientific research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations are a tried-and-true way to lose weight through moderately intense aerobic activity, such as walking. The CDC recommends that adults exercise for at least two-and-a-half hours per week, but they strongly urge adults to get five or more hours of exercise each week for an even greater weight loss benefit. The key to an effective workout is to get your heart rate up to about double its resting rate for between 30 and 60 minutes per session. Walking at a brisk pace, adults can burn 300 or more calories per hour depending upon their weight and metabolism, which equates to 2,100 calories per week. That’s equivalent to over a half pound of weight loss per week, which is well within the CDC’s recommendation for healthy weight loss of two pounds per week maximum.

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