Are The Amount Of Calories Burned Walking Really Worth The Time And Effort?
To some, hearing the answer to how many calories you burn walking is an immediate turn off. Although the typical amount of calories burned walking is about 340 calories for a one hour stroll, there are other benefits to walking. There are also different aspects to “a walk” that will make them more beneficial. So, is it worth the time and effort to go for walks even though you don’t burn a whole lot of calories? Yes!
If you want to burn more calories from walking, and have an awesome view while doing it … ditch the shoes and head to the (warm) beach.
Is walking the go-to exercise for weight loss? Of course not. Walking to lose weight is insufficient and will take a long time to see any real results. Is walking a good compliment to your cardio and weight lifting efforts for losing weight and living a healthy life? Absolutely.
In this article I’d like to briefly touch upon a few of the benefits of walking and why you should be getting off your butt and getting some fresh air. Also, I’ll show you what the average person will burn by walking for 30 minutes and by 60 minutes.
How Many Calories Burned Walking
As I stated above, the general range of calories burned while walking is about 200-400 calories. There are other factors that come into play that will determine this. For example, your current weight, age, gender and even level of conditioning play a role. The most influential factor though is how fast you walk.
A study titled Energy Expenditure of Walking and Running: Comparison with Prediction Equations showed (among other things) that walking for 1,600 meters (about a mile) burns 88 calories for men and 75 calories for women. However, out of the men and women who participated in the study, the men who ran averaged 124 calories burned. The women who ran averaged 105 calories 105 calories burned; a little less than the men only because they weighed less.
What this shows us is that it’s not the distance or even the amount of time that you walk that determines the amount of calories you burn. I hear from a lot of people that a good rule of thumb is 100 calories per mile. While that actually is a decent average, it really depends on the effort one puts forth that determines how many calories they will burn. If you run a mile you’re going to burn more calories than if you walk a mile.
Formula For Determining Calories Burned
Here is a much more accurate formula for determining how many calories you burn by walking as well as by running per mile.
- .63 x your weight for walking
- .75 x your weight for running
When this refers to walking, the speeds are 3-4 mph while the speeds for running are 5+mph.
According to this formula, I would burn about 113.4 calories walking for 1 mile at 3 mph.
- .63 x 180lbs = 113.4 calories
If I was to walk at this pace for an entire hour I would burn about 350 calories.
- .63 x 180lbs = 113.4 x 3 (1 mile every hour) = 340.2 calories
Benefits Of Walking
Even though walking doesn’t burn a whole lot of calories it is still very good and HEALTHY for you. Here are just some of the benefits of walking.
- Easy on your joints
- Promotes Cardiovascular health
- Good for bones
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers bad cholesterol
As if this wasn’t good enough reason to go for a walk every now and then (or everyday), here is an interesting study called Sitting Time and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer.
In this study, they found what we already know to be true … too much sitting is bad for you. Their conclusion was that physicians should discourage sitting for extended periods of time as well as try to promote moderate to vigorous activity as well as maintaining a healthy weight. In short, don’t sit around all day, doing nothing and gaining weight.
On this website I am told I burn 350 calories an hour from walking. On this website I am told I only burn 196 calories an hour from walking.
Although these numbers vary a bit, you get the idea; it’s not all about the calories burned walking. It’s more about the other health benefits that you receive combined with the calories you can burn by walking.
For a great way to burn calories, checkout my post How Much Cardio To Lose Weight.
Yavor- Relative Strength Advantage
January 5, 2012 @ 3:30 pm
Kevin, I am working on a similar article based on my experience. Walking is fun and effective and also very calming. I used walking to burn off about 12 lbs last spring. I was stressed out so didn’t have energy or desire for high intensity training so walking was a life saver!
January 5, 2012 @ 3:35 pm
That’s awesome … I do find it to be quite therapeutic.
January 6, 2012 @ 9:49 am
its even better to walk bare feet and run bare feet
January 6, 2012 @ 9:58 am
I agree … I also read about the Vibrams Five Fingers but haven’t tried them yet. They look pretty cool.
June 18, 2012 @ 11:44 am
I’ve been a runner for 20 years…6 miles 5 days per week. About a year ago I started to get minor pain in my feet, knees, and calf’s, so I started to walk. I’ve been walking for a year now and I have to say it is better for my body and surprisingly better for weight loss! I never lost much weight running…which I thought was strange since I burned 3 times as many calories. My eating habits didn’t change either. Anyway, the #1 thing for weight loss is eating habits/portion control…#2 walking. Must be a heart rate thing. Lower heart rate seems to burn more fat. I run hard, but fat never came off. I always tell people to watch what they eat first if they want to lose weight. You don’t have to exercise at all and you will lose weight…my conclusion for weight loss exercise is that walking is much better for weigh loss than running…this, to my surprise, was my personal results.