The calories you burn by walking depend on two factors: your weight and the distance you walk.
Ideal for people of all ages, walking is kinder to your joints with most people being able to walk comfortably for a longer period of time than if they were to run.
Remember too, the heavier you are, the more calories you 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 an 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 1050 calories per week.
Expressed as calories burned per mile when 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 metric:
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 referred to as a 20-minute mile
Walking 3.5 miles per hour is referred to as a 17-minute mile
Walking 4.0 miles per hour is referred to as a 15-minute mile
Walking 4.5 miles per hour is referred to as a 13-minute mile.
The reason you burn more calories per mile at very low speeds, ‘museum walking’, is because with each step you stop and start without momentum driving you forward. At the other end of the spectrum, walking at very high speeds of 4.5 miles per hour using a race-walking stride and arm motion, more muscle groups are brought into play, resulting in you burning extra calories with each step.
When you start out and wish to burn as many calories as possible, do so by gradually walking further, rather than 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 full sentences. This would be 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate.
If you want to increase your pace even more, learn how to race-walk. The unusual gait enables you to walk at speeds in excess of 5 miles per hour, building shapely muscle (especially your butt and legs), resulting in you burning more calories even when resting.
Many people, including cardiologists, say you burn the same number of calories running a distance as you do walking it; the only difference is the runner would do it in less time than the walker.
Runner’s World report differently. They say according to tests carried out by them, running is harder and burns more calories than walking for 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 probably because walking at very fast speeds forces your body to move in an inefficient and unnatural way, boosting your heart rate, oxygen consumption and calorie burn.
Whichever option you choose, walking is an excellent 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 fitness, strengthens your bones, helps fight disease, enhances 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.