Walking is one of the easiest and most accessible forms of exercise that possibly exists. You can be of any age, do it anywhere, and you just need a pair of shoes. It cannot get simpler!
Biologically, we women tend to gain more weight on lower abdomen and thighs and these become one of the most difficult areas to lose fat from.
Does walking burn fat on your thighs?
Yes, research shows that walking for at least 30 minutes a day, for most days of the week and with moderate intensity (at above 60% of your maximum heart rate) can definitely help to burn the fat on your thighs along with other body parts. But you also need to have a clean diet with whole foods and avoid refined and junk foods as much as possible to see good results.
In fact, brisk walking for 1.6 mm (1 mile) can burn 90-100 calories on an average. If you do this for more than 5 days a week, you can definitely lose some thigh fat in a few weeks.
Apart from this brisk walking will also tone your muscles, increase your thigh muscle strength and increase your metabolic rate which will help you to lose body fat over a few weeks.
But it is important to know that walking will not solely focus on reducing fat on your thighs. Instead, it will help you to reduce overall body fat and thus the fat on your thighs will also be reduced.
Studies on how walking can burn your thigh fat
Of course, walking or any other form of exercise that will raise your heart rate will burn calories in your body. But the amount of fat you burn may be very little to almost null if you do not have a clean diet.
A 1999 study done shows that you will lose 5 times more weight if you follow a clean diet and avoid overeating.
A clean diet would include having whole foods like fruits and vegetables, having a good amount of protein in your diet and having all the essential vitamins and minerals required by our body.
You must also restrain from having junk food and refined foods which can have a negative impact on your health and all your walking may even go to waste.
It is important to note that crash diets and other unhealthy forms or losing weight can result in muscle mass loss. This will make you weaker and you will end up gaining all the weight back.
Unlike this, walking will help you maintain your muscle mass while reducing the body fat.
The most common mistake we do when it comes to weight loss is that we follow some kind of crazy diet or exercise regime which we are not able to keep up within the long run. And we gain all the weight back and feel discouraged and guilty.
But with walking, it is different.
A study done in 2004 shows that regular 30 minutes of aerobic exercise like walking every day can help with losing the weight on your thighs and also maintain it consistently.
Another study done on obese women showed similar results. Dietary restrictions along with walking helped them lose 8% body weight over a 6 month period.
How long and how fast should you walk to lose your thigh fat?
Now, do not misunderstand walking with a stroll in the park as the latter may give you no results when it comes to losing thigh fat. So then how fast must you be walking?
A 1997 study says that you must be in the “training zone” to develop and sustain physical fitness. This means that when you are walking, your heart rate must be at 60 to 70% of your maximum heart rate.
Here is a table that can help you find out the average heart rate that you must be targeting and also shows the maximum heart rate for your age.
|AGE||TARGET HEART RATE (BPM)||MAXIMUM HEART RATE (BPM)|
You should know that the maximum heart rate varies depending on the age and weight of an individual and the above table is just an average estimation.
While walking, you can measure your heart rate in two ways:
- Use a heart rate monitor device like a smartwatch.
- Or you may measure it manually by keeping your hand on pulse points (like on your wrist or the right side of your neck) and count the number of pulses in 6 seconds and then multiply this number by 10. ( For example if you count 10 pulses in 6 secs, then your heart rate will be 100 bpm i.e. 6 secs * 10 pulses = 100 beats per minute)
So try to keep your heart rate as per the table given above and walk in this pace for at least 20 minutes in a day.
To start with, you can have a 30-min walking session where you walk at a lower intensity for the first and last 5 minutes and brisk walk for 20 minutes in between.
How to measure your thigh fat?
Weighing scales can be misleading as an increase or decrease in your weight does not necessarily mean an increase or decrease in your body fat.
It can also indicate other things like a reduction in water retention or even a reduction in your muscle mass.
Here are some reliable ways to measure your thigh fat:
- Measuring tape: Using a measuring tape, measure the girth or the circumference of your thighs (both left and right separately). Measure at the widest part of your thighs. Repeat this each week and record the measurements. In a few weeks, you will see a reduction in this value.
- Skinny jeans: Most of us have a pair of skinny jeans that are tight for us or we may no longer fit into it. Have this as your measurement. Wear this before and after walking for a few weeks. See if fitting into it gets easier and easier as the days progress.
Other ways to increase your walking intensity so that you burn your thigh fat quicker
Brisk walking for at least 30 mins daily will certainly burn your thigh fat. But if you want to take it up a level then you can:
- Walk uphill and downhill alternately (incline or decline if you are walking on a treadmill). Doing this will challenge you and help burn your thigh fat quicker.
- You may go on hiking or trekking trips on weekends. The hurdles and uphill climbing will definitely give you better results.
- Combine your regular walking with sideways walking. Changing the direction of your walk will target your inner thighs more.
- You may add resistance by carrying something heavy like your backpack or grocery and shopping bags. This added resistance will help you burn more calories in the same amount of time.
- While walking, you can try stopping at 5 min intervals and doing some form of exercises like 10 squats or 20 pushups. This will increase your heart rate more and burn more of that thigh fat.
Correct posture to follow while walking
Following the correct posture while walking is very important.
It is generally advised to stand tall, pull your shoulders back and pull in your tummy while walking. Having drooping shoulders can have negative effects.
You must also try to keep your foot heel first on the ground, followed by the balls of your feet and then your toes.
Other helpful tips to follow while walking
1. Do not drink plenty of water right before you start walking.
2. Wear comfortable clothes that can absorb your sweat. It is good to wear good quality shoes while walking to avoid any bad postures or injuries.
3. Having a walking buddy or joining a walking group is a great idea. This will keep you engaged throughout your walk and will also increase your accountability.
Simple walking plan for beginners
Other benefits of walking
Still not convinced? Then these additional benefits of walking will motivate you further:
1. Brisk walking will not only burn your thigh fat but also reduce your overall body weight.
2. In a few weeks, you will see that your muscles will be toned and you will look leaner.
3. Walking will increase your cardiovascular capacity and thus improve your heart health.
4. It will increase your endurance and stamina and you will feel more energetic.
5. Your lower body joints and the muscles surrounding them will be strengthened and thus will reduce the risk of arthritis and other bone-related problems.
6. There is little to no risk in walking unlike other forms of exercises that may feel intimidating to beginners.
7. Walking regularly can even reduce your mortality risk.
8. Walking daily may keep your blood pressure under control and thus reduce the risk of many life-threatening diseases.
9. If that wasn’t enough, walking is also proved to be good for people suffering from mental health issues like anxiety and depression. It will also help to release feel-good hormones in your body which will help you be in a great mood throughout the day.
10. A 2017 study done on women who have just gone through pregnancy proves that any form of physical activity including walking will help with postnatal depression and weight loss.
- Physical Activity, Health Benefits, and Mortality Risk
- Physical Activity Plays an Important Role in Body Weight Regulation
- Walking to health
- Can exercise or physical activity help improve postnatal depression and weight loss? A systematic review.
- Dietary restriction and walking reduce fat deposition in the midthigh in obese older women.
- Physical fitness and indices of lifestyle-related diseases before and after interval walking training in middle-aged and older males and females.
- Effect of a Long Bout Versus Short Bouts of Walking on Weight Loss During a Weight-Loss Diet: A Randomized Trial.
- Target Heart Rate Chart