How many calories do you burn when you walk?
The calories you burn while walking depend on two factors: your weight and the distance you walk.
Ideal for people of all ages, walking is kinder to your joints and most people can comfortably walk for a longer period of time than if they were going for a run.
Remember also, the heavier you are, the more calories you will burn doing any activity, even sedentary ones.
Based on your weight in pounds and walking at a speed of 3 miles per hour (20 minute mile), you burn calories at the following rates:
130 to 140 pounds: 3.5 calories burned per minute or 70 calories per mile
145 to 155 pounds – 4.0 calories burned per minute or 80 calories per mile
160 to 170 pounds – 4.5 calories burned per minute or 90 calories per mile
175 to 185 pounds – 5.0 calories burned per minute or 100 calories per mile
190 to 200 pounds – 5.5 calories burned per minute or 110 calories per mile
205 to 215 pounds – 6.0 calories burned per minute or 120 calories per mile
So, for example, if you weigh 150 pounds and walk at an average speed of 3 miles per hour, you burn about 4 calories per minute. Walking 30 minutes a day 5 days a week burns 120 calories a day and 600 calories a week.
If you fall outside this range, for every 10 pounds add or subtract 0.5 calories. For example, if you weigh 235 pounds and walk 3 miles per hour, you will burn 7 calories per minute. Walking 30 minutes a day 5 days a week burns 1,050 calories a week.
Expressed as calories burned per mile from walking:
weight in pounds 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 250 275 300 pounds
2.0 miles per hour 57 68 80 91 102 114 125 142 156 170
2.5 miles per hour 55 65 76 87 98 109 120 136 150 164
3.0 miles per hour 53 64 74 85 95 106 117 133 146 159
3.5 miles per hour 52 62 73 83 94 104 114 130 143 156
4.0 miles per hour 57 68 80 91 102 114 125 142 156 170
4.5 miles per hour 64 76 89 102 115 127 140 159 175 191
5.0 miles per hour 73 87 102 116 131 145 160 182 200 218
If you work with metrics:
2.0 miles = 3.2 kilometers
2.5 miles = 4.0 kilometers
3.0 miles = 4.8 kilometers
3.5 miles = 5.6 kilometers
4.0 miles = 6.4 kilometers
4.5 miles = 7.2 kilometers
5.0 miles = 8.0 kilometers
Walking 3.0 miles per hour is known as a 20 minute mile
Walking 3.5 miles per hour is known as a 17-minute mile
Walking 4.0 miles per hour is known as a 15 minute mile
Walking 4.5 miles per hour is known as a 13-minute mile.
The reason you burn more calories per mile at very low speeds, “walking in the museum”, is because with each step you stop and start without momentum propelling you forward. At the other end of the spectrum, walking at very high speeds of 4.5 miles per hour using a running step and arm movement puts more muscle groups into play, resulting in burning additional calories with each step.
When you start out and want to burn as many calories as possible, gradually walk more, instead of walking faster.
When you feel ready to work on your speed, for optimal fat burning, walk for 30 minutes at a pace where your breathing is noticeable but you can carry on a conversation in complete sentences. This would be 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate.
If you want to increase your pace even more, learn to walk in races. The unusual gait allows you to walk at speeds in excess of 5 miles per hour, building well-formed muscles (especially your glutes and legs), which causes you to burn more calories even when resting.
Many people, including cardiologists, say they burn the same number of calories running a distance as walking; the only difference is that the runner would do it in less time than the walker.
Runner’s World reports differently. They say that according to their tests, running is more difficult and burns more calories than walking at speeds less than 12 minutes per mile. But at 5 miles per hour and faster, walking burns more calories than running. The reason for this is likely because walking at very fast speeds forces your body to move in an inefficient and unnatural way, increasing your heart rate, oxygen consumption, and burning calories.
Whichever option you choose, walking is a great form of exercise. Do it regularly, most days if possible.
Both obesity and inactivity are growing problems. Walking five or six days a week improves your aerobic condition, strengthens your bones, helps fight disease, improves your psychological well-being, reduces stress, increases your metabolism, strengthens your muscles, increases your flexibility, improves your respiratory function and helps your concentration and memory.
Regardless of your weight and age, when walking becomes a habit, it clearly improves the quality of your life.