Calories Burned Walking = Your Weight and Metabolism + the Distance You Walk

A lot of myths surround walking for exercise. Many people think walking is a poor substitute for a high-impact workout, or that starting a walking routine to lose weight will never work. None of these myths are true, and you can start losing weight by walking if you know what you’re doing and where you’re going.

When it comes to exercise and losing weight, everyone is different because we all have different metabolisms, the rate at which our individual bodies burn energy through diet and exercise. Some people can eat a whole cheesecake and not gain weight while others will put on inches after just one slice. Before you start a walking for exercise program, you need to know your metabolic rate—how many calories you need to maintain your current body weight. You can easily figure this out with this handy calculator:

[Metabolic Rate Calculator]

Calories Burned Walking a Mile Depends on Your Weight and Metabolism, Not Your Speed

Another common myth about walking to lose weight is that you have to walk very fast to get any significant calorie burn. In fact, your walking speed has little to do with how many calories you burn through walking. Two other factors play a much larger role in determining your personal calorie burn:

  • Calories burned walking equals your weight and metabolism plus how far you walk.

This means that a heavier person burns more calories through walking than a lighter person. In practical terms, a 180-pound person can see 100 calories burned walking a mile, but a 120-pound person sees only 65 calories burned walking a mile.

While your walking speed has little effect on your overall weight loss, you do burn more calories if you walk for exercise with a faster pace. You can aim for an ideal walking speed that takes your gait and weight into account. If you can walk a mile in 13 minutes, you will burn more calories.

Ways to Increase Your Calories Burned Walking

In the most basic terms, a pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories, so to lose 1 pound per week, you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you eat in the same amount of time. So while simply beginning a walking routine will help you feel better and more energized, you won’t see any weight loss until you burn that many more calories than you consume.

[Calories Burned by Walking Chart]

You can increase your calories burned walking in several ways:

  • Walk faster, setting a goal of walking a mile in 13 minutes or less.
  • Walk longer distances to burn more calories.
  • Move your arms because using more muscle groups increases your calories burned.
  • Increase inclines by choosing hillier routes or walking on a treadmill if possible.
  • Carry extra weight to increase the calories you burn while walking.
  • Use a walking pole to increase upper body toning and avoid problems with weights.
  • Walk on the beach or walk backward—both increase the number of muscle groups you use while walking, thus increase your calories burned walking.

Walk on the beach or walk backward—both increase the number of muscle groups you use while walking, thus increasing your calories burned walking.