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Walking in the Fat Burning Zone

How to Burn Fat with a Walking Workout


Updated May 20, 2014

Young Woman Brisk Walking with Earbuds

Brisk Walking


Walking is an excellent exercise for fat burning. While any exercise can burn calories, brisk walking for 45 minutes mobilizes the body to dip into fat reserves and burn stored fat. Walkers can achieve this exercise intensity that uses more fat as fuel.

The Fat Burning Zone

The fat-burning zone is at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. In this zone of exercise intensity, 85% of your calories burned are fats, 5% are proteins and 10% are carbohydrates.

This zone is achieved with a brisk walking pace. In this zone, you will be breathing heavier, feeling increased exertion, and probably sweating, but you are still be able to carry on a conversation.

How Long to Walk for Fat Burning?

You need at least 45 minutes of walking in the fat-burning zone to get the body to burn stored fat. Walking additional minutes will burn more stored fat.
  • Start with a 10 minute warm-up walk at an easier pace. This burns off the stored blood sugar and glycogen energy in the muscles.

  • Pick up the pace to the fat-burning zone of a heart rate of 60-70% of your maximum.
  • Continue to walk in the fat burning zone for 30-50 minutes or more.
  • End with five to 10 minutes at an easier pace for a cool-down.
  • Fat Burning Walking Workout

When to Do the Fat Burning Walk

The fat-burning walk is at the intensity recommended for exercise five or more days per week to reduce health risks. It can be done daily, or alternated with more intense workout days. Those who want to lose body fat should do a fat-burning workout most days of the week.

Walkers who are training for a distance event should walk at a pace that is within the fat-burning zone for their long day of distance training each week.

Is Walking Better for Fat Burning than High-Intensity Exercise?

High-intensity exercise does not burn as much fat for energy as moderate-intensity exercise, but the total calories burned in any workout can help those seeking to lose weight. Walking is a great cardiovascular aerobic exercise that most healthy adults can do without equipment or special training. The best exercise for fat-burning is the one that you enjoy and do daily.

Other moderate-intensity exercise activities include bicycle riding on level terrain, water aerobics, easy jogging, elliptical trainer, ballroom dancing, gardening, and doubles tennis.

Tools for Fat Burning

  • Before You Buy a Heart Rate Monitor: To be sure you are exercising a moderate intensity, it is wise to take your pulse as a check. You can take your pulse by hand and use any watch that displays seconds to count your pulse, but a heart rate monitor can give accurate readings continuously.

  • Walking Shoes: To walk comfortably at a brisk pace and reduce risk of injury, get fitted for the right walking shoes at a serious running shoe store in your area.

  • How to Walk Faster: Learn how to use the right arm motion and foot strike to walk briskly.

More Advice for Burning Fat


Carey DG."Quantifying differences in the "fat burning" zone and the aerobic zone: implications for training." J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Oct;23(7):2090-5.

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