Walking is an excellent, inexpensive exercise choice that can help you both lose weight and improve your cardiovascular health.
If you’re looking to trim down, you may be wondering how many calories you can burn doing this activity. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as your burn has to do with a number of different factors, including your weight, pace, terrain, and more.
The most basic way to figure out how many calories you burn while walking takes into account your weight and walking speed:
|Weight||2.0 mph||2.5 mph||3.0 mph||3.5 mph||4.0 mph|
|130 lbs.||148 cal.||177 cal.||195 cal.||224 cal.||295 cal.|
|155 lbs.||176 cal.||211 cal.||232 cal.||267 cal.||352 cal.|
|180 lbs.||204 cal.||245 cal.||270 cal.||311 cal.||409 cal.|
|205 lbs.||233 cal.||279 cal.||307 cal.||354 cal.||465 cal.|
These calculations are based on an hour of walking on flat surfaces, like sidewalks. Walking uphill for an hour increases your burn dramatically.
|Weight||3.5 mph — flat surface||3.5 mph — uphill|
|130 lbs.||224 cal.||354 cal.|
|155 lbs.||267 cal.||422 cal.|
|180 lbs.||311 cal.||490 cal.|
|205 lbs.||354 cal.||558 cal.|
Most calculators you find online take more into account than just your weight and walking pace. They use a calculation that factors in your basal metabolic rate, or BMR (age, sex, height, and weight), exercise intensity (METs), and the duration of your exercise session.
The equation is: calories burned = BMR x METs/24 x hour
- A 35-year-old woman who weighs 150 pounds, is 5 feet 5 inches tall (BMR = 1,437), and walks for 60 minutes at 3.0 mph (3.5 METs) will burn 210 calories.
- A 35-year-old man who weighs 200 pounds, is 5 foot 10 inches (BMR = 1,686), and walks for 60 minutes at 3.0 mph (3.5 METs) for 60 minutes will burn 246 calories.
Beyond your weight and pace, other factors can increase your calorie burn while walking. Here are ways to make walking more vigorous:
- Try incorporating rolling hills into your walking route or walking on an incline on a treadmill.
- If you can’t maintain a brisk pace for your entire workout, consider walking intervals where you have hard effort mixed with recovery periods. For example, warm up at a 2.0 mph pace. Then for the rest of your walk, alternate a minute at a pace of 3.5 to 4.0 mph with one or two minutes at 2.0 mph.
- More time on your feet will increase your calorie burn. Still, you may find it hard to get in longer walking sessions during the workweek. Try getting in some longer walks on the weekend, such as an hour or more.
- Wearing a backpack or hiking can also turn up your burn. For example, a 155-pound person burns approximately 267 calories walking at a moderate (3.5 mph) pace on a flat surface for one hour. That same person could burn up to 439 calories an hour hiking a more mountainous trail while wearing a weighted backpack.
- Once you’re a walking pro, you may even want to add some jogging to your routine. Try a walk/jog approach, where you warm up with walking and alternate bursts of jogging with walking to recover.
You may want to consider keeping a simple log of your walking sessions. If you have a pedometer, a tool that calculates your steps and distance, you can write down how many steps you’ve taken that day.
Did you walk on a treadmill? Write down your time, distance, and pace in a notebook or an Excel spreadsheet. Looking back on all your steps is a great way to stay motivated.
Now you just need to figure out where to walk. Start by trying a loop around your own neighborhood. Sites like MapMyWalk can help you find routes near you by sharing where other people are walking in your area. You can even download an app that will help you log your miles and stay on track. Happy trails!