How many Calories Are Burned By Walking?

Walking, probably the oldest form of exercise known to mankind undoubtedly remains popular to this day. But you are probably interested in knowing how many calories burned during walking.

To understand how walking can help you, burn calories, lose weight and improve your overall health then you need to understand what is known as Caloric Expenditure. Caloric Expenditure is the number of calories (energy) your body expends to complete a given task.

Everything from waking up in the morning to climbing up flights of seemingly endless stairs expends your body’s calories. Any form of exercise will burn calories (when you burn more than you consume and utilize you lose weight) but just how many calories you burn depends on a few things. An average person burns around 1 calorie every 20 steps.

Calories burned per km at slow walking speeds

The pace at which you travel does impact the number of calories you burn. At a normal walking pace of about 4 km/hr, this amounts to roughly 40 calories per km of a person that weighs 60 Kgs.

The heavier you are the more you burn, someone who weighs around 125 Kgs would burn about 93 calories over the same distance at the same pace.

Calories burned per km at fast walking speeds

Walking faster means you reduce the time taken to cover 1 km. Apart from saving time, the output of energy to move your body from point A to B translates to burning an increased number of calories.

At a faster pace of around 8 km/hr, a 60 Kg individual would burn about 60 calories while a 125kg individual would burn around 124 calories.

Walking at a faster pace nearly at the speed of a slow jog is known as brisk walking. Brisk walking is a great way to tone up your muscles without increasing your heart rate through the roof. Although you can expect to sweat and pant depending on your fitness level.

What determines how many calories are burned?

How do calories burnt depend on body weight, gender, and duration of walking The reason you burn more with weight and speed is the total expenditure of energy?

There are a number of factors which affect how many calories are burned and they all relate to your bodies metabolic activity. Metabolism in its simplest form of understanding is the chemical changes an organism undergoes in order to sustain life. Without breaking into a biology class here’s what you need to know.

I. Basal Metabolic Rate

This is the number of calories your body would consume if you did nothing but lie in bed all day without moving, just to keep you alive. When it comes to calories burned your metabolism plays a role in defining just how many are burned by NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis). This usually accounts for 60% of your total calories consumed. For the average male, this is roughly around 1800 calories and for the average female, it is about 1400 calories.

II. Activity Levels and Lifestyle

This patterns to any form of activity that burns calories, it could include a sport you play, the job you hold, recreation activity, or anything in between. Yes, this includes calories burned by walking. Hence your lifestyle significantly impacts the number of calories you can consume on a daily basis.

III. Thermic Effect of Food

In order to digest food and break it down into a source that is usable by your body, your body needs to expend calories. A mere 3% of metabolism makes up for the thermic effect of food and is negligible unless you are a seasoned athlete or man of science. However, research does indicate that consuming foods such as cayenne peppers, green coffee, and cinnamon can increase your metabolism slightly.

It is important to remember the only variable that you can actually control to a considerable extent is your activity level and lifestyle. Keeping this in mind adding volume/intensity to your workouts and replacing sedentary habits with active ones can dramatically impact your overall appearance over the due course of time. Then again this isn’t new news to you, is it?

How does walking help?

With respect to walking, it lies under the category of activity levels and lifestyle.

Walking helps people maintain healthy body weight, reduces the chances of dangerous conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. In addition to calories burned by walking not only contributes directly to weight loss but provides a secondary benefit, it improves muscle and bone strength.

Performing the activity outdoors has been proven to alleviate stress and improve your mood, balance, and coordination. Further, walking around nature or barefoot on the grass might help you experience the best results.

To move a heavier body or to move at an accelerated pace an excess amount of energy is required. This means someone extremely overweight can lose weight easily with comparatively less effort.

From this, we understand that the duration and pace at which you move impacts calories burned by walking.

Low-intensity cardio such as walking is known to burn fat at a faster rate. This means after your glycogen supply gets depleted you begin to use fat as a source of fuel. The drawback on this, however, is that you only burn calories while you are moving.

Alternatively, high-intensity cardio burns more calories over time as your body continues to burn calories even in a rested state. It is known to spike metabolic activity for hours after completing your workout.

How can you burn more calories while walking?

When walking you can try increasing the pace at which you walk to burn a few additional calories. Brisk walking can help you burn a significantly greater number of calories than regular leisure walking.

You can consider adding 2-minute jogging intervals followed by 2 minutes of walking until you complete your distance goal.

Your second option is to increase the duration of your exercise activity, if you are walking 1km with ease then consider doing 1.5km or 2km.

Grabbing a buddy and going for a walk will help you enjoy your walk and pass time quickly. As a bonus, you may end up walking longer than you expect.

The above chart represents the number of calories burned when you walk at the given speed per 1.6km or per 1 mile as per your given body weight.

Do you burn as many calories walking as running?

As explained earlier the amount of energy expended to move a body from point A to B increases with:

  1. A) The weight of the body, and
  2. B) The momentum and intensity required to move the given body

From this, it is easy to understand that running will burn an increased amount of calories when compared to walking.

Is running or walking better for losing weight?

Photo by Alexander on Reshot

Both running and walking are great exercises to lose weight, it all depends on your lifestyle, goals, current level of activity, and mainly your caloric deficit.

Your food intake is more important than the type of activity you undertake to lose weight.

Confused? Let’s break it down.

Let us assume your daily caloric requirement is 2000 calories, this is taking into account your daily job and regular expenditure (without walking or running to lose weight). At this maintenance number, you would neither gain nor lose weight.

Now assume you increased the calories burned by walking, creating a deficit of 200 calories. This means your body has 1800 calories and over time you will lose weight.

On the other hand, if your maintenance is 2000 calories but you are consuming 2800 calories, keeping things as they are you will gain weight. If you then introduced running and burned 400 calories (double of walking) you can still expect to gain weight.

This is because of the calories consumed 2800-400= 2400. 2400 calories are excessive, with your requirement in a lower range. This means you shall still gain weight despite the added activity.

Walking or any exercise isn’t a free pass to start eating unhealthy foods. Instead, it is a bonus to help you derive the most from an already solid nutrition plan.

Ways & tools to track calories burned while walking

Today, there are a plethora of options to help you track the number of calories burned while walking. A pedometer counts the steps taken by a person to display a reading of the calories burned. You can buy a Fitbit, Apple watch, or Mi Band which is a fitness band wearable technology for tracking.

Alternatively, you can download a number of apps on your phone to give you the same data. My fitness pal, Nike + and Nike Run Club, Step Set Go, and many more applications exist, which are for the most part free to use. Each of these have unique features that vary from updating your playlist to ‘power mode’ for when you are approaching your threshold for a little extra boost, to rewards that you can redeem after a certain number of steps.

Walking and exercising does not have to be mundane or monotonous.

Grab your sneakers and head outdoors

The takeaway?

Choose a form of exercises that you enjoy, it doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent. Take measures to hold yourself accountable and track your food and calories. This way you can experience maximum results with minimal effort.

Speed and weight along with distance are important factors when it comes to weight loss. While calories burned through walking alone are not as important as watching your diet, they can have a positive impact when used in conjunction with a solid nutrition plan.

A weighing scale can help you track your weekly progress and adjust your food intake accordingly.

Add walking and other forms of exercise to achieve weight loss results and boost your mental and physical health.

Danesh Engineer
Danesh writes on a broad spectrum of topics such as financial health, consumer goods, health & fitness, and on best protein sources about protein and their impact upon the human body. His passion for lifting weights sees him in the gym before and after his professional life. No one loves a meathead so he works out his mind here. Research, experience, and factual data helps Danesh flex his Brain Gains.
Leave a Reply