With enough walking, you can lose weight.
Wishing for a magic arrow from Cupid won't make your love handles disappear. Like fat anywhere on your body, the extra jiggle at your midsection can only be lost through proper diet and exercise. Although walking provides an excellent, low-impact form of activity, you'll need to rack up the minutes and boost your intensity to whittle away those love handles.
While you can't spot reduce fat in your love handles, walking can help create a calorie deficit to burn overall body fat.
Go Into a Calorie Debt
To burn away your love handles and lose weight, you need to burn off more calories than you consume. To lose one pound of weight, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories by eating less and moving more. For healthy weight loss, you should aim to lose one to two pounds a week by slashing 500 to 1,000 calories per day through diet and exercise. Unfortunately, your weight loss will come from burning fat throughout your body and can't be targeted to one area such as your hips. This means that even if your love handles only weigh two pounds, it will take more than two to four weeks to kiss them goodbye.
Walk Off Calories
Although walking is a terrific form of exercise, it doesn't blast away calories like more intense forms of exercise such as running. A 155-pound person walking at a 3.5-mph pace will burn 298 calories per hour, but a 185-pound person will burn 356 calories going the same speed for the same time period. To create the 500- or 1,000-calorie deficit each day without changing your diet, requires spending anywhere from one and a half to over three hours a day walking. This time doesn't have to be all in one session and can be divided into shorter walks of at least 10 minutes throughout the day.
Boost Your Intensity
If a three-hour walk doesn't fit into your schedule, you can increase your calorie burn by raising the intensity of your walking sessions. One way to increase intensity is to walk faster. If a 155-pound person boosts her walking speed from 3.5 to 4.5 mph, she'll burn an extra 74 calories in an hour; the 185-pound individual will burn an extra 88 calories. You can also make your walks more difficult by adding in hills, walking through water or wearing a weighted vest that is no more than 5 to 10 percent of your current weight.
Watch Your Intake
Unless you have plenty of time to walk every day, walking alone may not be enough to create the calorie deficit you need to shrink your love handles. If you combine walking for an hour with cutting 150 to 200 calories a day from your diet, you'll eliminate 500 calories a day which should allow you to lose one pound a week. This calorie trim shouldn't leave you feeling deprived and can be as simple as cutting one soda, one candy bar or one handful of chips out of your diet each day. Be mindful when you reach for empty calories. If you're not truly hungry and are just eating out of boredom, go for a walk instead and you'll be on your way to ridding yourself of those love handles.