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Can Slow Walking Help You Lose Weight? |Who Benefits The Most From Slow Walking?

One of the best exercises to burn calories and to become active is WALKING. (1) Walking when done slowly with lesser intensity is also effective in getting you closer towards your goal of getting healthy and losing weight; more so if you are a beginner in working out. (2) Walking is an effective exercise for beginners and has lot of health benefits. (3, 4)

The Effect of Slow Walking and How It Burns Calories (11)

When one is doing high intensity exercise, it uses carbohydrates mainly as fuel. On the other hand, low intensity exercise, such as slow walking, uses fat as its main source of fuel. Despite all this, your heart will not be prepared for a marathon; nonetheless you will still burn calories and fat resulting in weight loss. Taking a 30 minute slow walk with the lowest percentage of the maximum heart rate, may not feel intense; however, without a doubt there will be burning of calories, and majority of those calories are from fat. Slow walking can help in increasing your metabolism and heart rate.

The Impact of Walking and How Slow/Fast Should You Walk (9, 10)

Daily walking for at least 30 minutes or even more is a great way to burn calories and increase your metabolism. Many people think that in order to lose weight, one has to do high intensity rigorous exercise; however, walking is equally beneficial and a practical way to incorporate some sort of exercise in your routine; especially if you have been living a sedentary life and are not used to exercise. In order for your body to use more energy than what it commonly does, one has to increase the heart rate more than the resting heart rate. For this, one has to calculate the maximum heart rate to decide on the intensity of your walk.

Your max heart rate is the ultimate highest a person’s heart rate can be physically when exercising. A simple way to calculate this is to deduct your age from the number 220. (9) For example, if your age is 50, then your predicted maximum heart rate should be around 170.

Amping Your Slow Walking Is Important (11)

There is always a catch when it comes to any form of exercise. The human body is great at adapting to any form of stimulus. Something very mundane, such as walking to a store to buy something at the same intensity and following the same route will cause you to burn fewer and fewer calories than before, as time goes on. The reason for this is the adaption of our body to this daily routine and the body becomes efficient day by day at consumption of fuel in such cases. So, to continue to lose weight and become fit day by day, it is important to amp up or change your workout, even when it comes to something as simple as walking. You can do this by choosing a longer route to the store or following a path where there are lot of valleys and hills. This will not only increase the distance, but will also help in increasing the speed of your walking thus making it more challenging for you and making your body fitter and healthier.

The Importance of RPE or Ratings of Perceived Exertion (6, 7, 8)

If you want to know if you are walking or doing any workout at the right intensity, then you need to have a heart rate monitor. The RPE or Ratings of Perceived Exertion ranges from 6 to 20 and helps in finding out the intensity of your walking or any workout. The more the rating is, the higher the difficulty level of an exercise. For example, if a person has a rating of 8, then it feels light; whereas a rating of 20 for any exercise means it is difficult to perform. This kind of rating scale helps defining the severity of the walk without any heart rate monitor. When you are going on a walk, try to determine how difficult it is for you and give it a rating. If it is around 6 to 8 then it is relatively easy for you and you would be better off increasing the difficulty level of your walk, so as to increase your heart rate and burn more calories.

Who Can Benefit More From Slow Walking?

Research has shown that people who are obese and who walk at a slower pace tend to exhaust more calories when compared to walking at normal pace. Additionally, when an overweight person walks slowly, such as a pace which consists of 2 miles in an hour, will benefit by reduction of stress on the knee joints by about 25% when compared to a brisk walk. Obese individuals when walking slowly will not only burn more calories, but will have a lower risk of injury to their joint or suffering from arthritis. (5)

A study comprising of 20 women and 20 men on sidewalks and treadmills was done to determine the amount of calories burned when walking at various levels of speed. The posture of the participant while walking was also taken into consideration.

Half of the participants were of normal weight and the other half were obese.

The result of this study was obese people burned more calories when they walked at the same speed as that of people with normal weight. The reason for this was thought to be that overweight individuals have wider stances and heavier legs, which makes them swing their legs out more and hence making something as simple as walking a difficult task for obese people. Obesity is also thought to cause postural instability, so more muscles were engaged during walking to compensate this instability.

The study also revealed that walking on a normal-pace substantially increased the strain in the knee joint by around 25% when compared to slower walking.

Slow Walking More Calorie Burn and Reduced Joint Stress

The end results was that obese people had net benefit which is reduced stress on the joints along with burning more calories with slow walking. Slow walking done for longer period of time also burns more calories.

Thus slow walking such as 2 miles an hour is thought to be more beneficial for people who are obese when compared to a normal pace of walking of 3 miles an hour. Although slow walking helps obese people to burn more calories in an efficient manner; however, studies have also shown that slow walking does not give that many cardiovascular benefits. For this reason, it is advisable to perform a combination of slow walking along with other low-impact activities, such as cycling, swimming and elliptical training for overall better health.


Slow walking is a great start to your workout program. However, it is important to bear in mind that when it comes to long term, slow walking may not be enough to give you those amazing results when it comes to losing weight. In order to lose weight by slow walking, one has to put their body in a calorie deficit mode by cutting out all the junk food and eating a reduced-calorie diet. One can achieve healthy weight loss only from exercise program which comprises of everything with varying intensities and modalities along with the right nutrition and diet. In any case, walking, whether it be slow or fast, is always better than just sitting and being sedentary. (3) It is better to take a half-an-hour stroll to help you lose weight and burn calories and start your journey on being a healthier version of yourself. (3)


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 20, 2022

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