Does Walking Really Help You Lose Weight in Your Butt & Thighs?
By Nina Makofsky
, last updated March 19, 2012
Walking boosts your heart rate and makes you sweat, burning calories. However, short or slow walking workouts do not burn enough calories to help you lose weight in your butt and thighs. Extend your workout, intensify your walking style or add muscle-building elements to burn body fat and build lower-body muscle tissue. You cannot spot-reduce body fat through exercise, but you can shrink fat cells wherever you store them, including your butt and thighs.
Minimum Time Commitment
While the American Heart Association indicates that healthy adults walk for 30 minutes daily, you need to double this time commitment to burn enough calories to lose weight. Walking for at least 60 minutes daily should help you lose between 1/2 lb. to 1 lb. per week, depending upon your technique, pace and current weight.
Using proper form during your walk ensures you challenge yourself without posing high risk of injury. Breathe deeply during your warmup and workout, contracting your core muscles. Keeping your core contracted throughout your walk tones your abdominal muscles and also improves your coordination. If you exercise on a treadmill, refrain from leaning on the side rails. Pump your arms while walking to increase your heart rate and tone your arm, chest and shoulder muscles. As you get more fit, add light hand weights to increase the resistance and build muscle tissue. To further target your lower-body muscles, lift your knees higher during your walk, or stop during your walk to do a series of squats and lunges.
Your walking speed correlates with how much body fat you burn during your workout. While a slow 30-minute mile burns only 180 to 270 calories per hour, depending upon how much you weigh, a brisk 18-minute mile burns 270 to 415 calories per hour. A challenging 12-minute mile burns 580 to 870 calories in one hour. However, you do not need to maintain a steady walking pace throughout your workout. Instead, spend most of your walk moving at a vigorous pace, and add 30-second race-walking or jogging sprints every few minutes. You will spike your heart rate and burn fat quickly. Swivel your hips while walking and use a long stride to maintain your speed and tone your butt and thigh muscles.
While you cannot target excess fat on your butt and thighs with cardiovascular exercise, you can tone your leg and gluteal muscles during your workout so you look slim and sculpted. One simple way to add a lower-body strengthening component to your workout is to walk on an incline. If you use a treadmill, set it at a grade for all or part of your workout. If you exercise outdoors, choose a route with a steady incline or with several steep hills or stairs. The steeper you climb, the more fat you burn and the more lean tissue you add to your lower-body muscles. Higher muscle density increases your resting metabolism, so you will burn more fat throughout the day.