Whether you “walk on the wild side” like Lou Reed or “walk this way” like Steven Tyler, walking is a super easy way to get in a cardio workout and burn some calories.
How can you figure out how many calories you burn walking?
If you’re tracking your calories burned to help a weight loss or fitness journey, there are several factors that affect how much you burn like your weight, distance, and pace.
The most common way to determine how many calories you burn walking is to consider your weight and walking speed.
For example, if you were walking on a flat surface at your average speed, the calories you burn from 30 minutes of walking could look like this:
|Weight||2.0 mph (casual pace)||3.0 mph (moderate pace)||3.5 mph (brisk pace)||4.0 mph (very brisk pace)|
|130 lbs||58 cal||97 cal||112 cal||147 cal|
|155 lbs||70 cal||116 cal||133 cal||175 cal|
|180 lbs||81 cal||134 cal||155 cal||204 cal|
|205 lbs||92 cal||153 cal||176 cal||232 cal|
Now if you’re walking uphill, your calories burned will increase. (Your legs and glutes will thank you later.)
Compared to walking on flat ground, an estimate of a 30-minute walk at an incline could look like this:
|Weight||3.5 mph on flat surface||3.5 mph going uphill|
|130 lbs||112 cal||177 cal|
|155 lbs||133 cal||211 cal|
|180 lbs||155 cal||245 cal|
|205 lbs||176 cal||279 cal|
But, these are just estimates, and your number of calories burned is pretty unique to you.
A more in-depth calculation for calories burned also factors in your:
- basal metabolic rate (BMR) — essentially your metabolism based on age, sex, height, and weight
- exercise intensity (METs)
- duration of your walk
The equation would look like this: calories burned walking = BMR x METs/24 x hour
Let’s do some math
Using this equation calculator, a 30-year-old woman who weighs 130 pounds, is 5 feet 5 inches tall (BMR = 1,374), and walks for 60 minutes at 3.0 mph (3.5 METs) will burn 200 calories.
A 30-year-old man who weighs 210 pounds, is 6 foot (BMR = 2,072), and walks for 60 minutes at 3.0 mph (3.5 METs) for 60 minutes will burn 302 calories.
It’s tricky to say exactly how many calories you burn walking a mile without taking into account your weight, pace, and time it takes.
But if you break down the average miles per hour you’re walking at a moderate pace, you can at least estimate your average calorie burn per mile.
|Weight||Calories per mile|
|130 lbs||64 cal|
|155 lbs||77 cal|
|180 lbs||89 cal|
|205 lbs||102 cal|
The American Council of Exercise estimates a 140-pound person would burn about 7.6 calories per minute walking. From that logic, this person would burn about 456 calories walking for an hour (but we don’t know the pace or incline).
Your walking speed and your weight will really impact the calories you burn over time, so you’re guaranteed to burn more calories the more time you spend walking (bonus points if it’s uphill).
Estimates that take into account your weight and speed would put your calories burned per hour closer to this:
|Walking speed||130 lbs||155 lbs||180 lbs||205 lbs|
|2.0 mph (casual pace)||117 cal||140 cal||163 cal||185 cal|
|3.0 mph (moderate pace)||194 cal||232 cal||269 cal||306 cal|
|3.5 (brisk pace)||224 cal||267 cal||310 cal||353 cal|
|3.5 uphill (hiking)||354 cal||421 cal||489 cal||557 cal|
Running will burn even more calories than walking. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention a 154-pound person would burn about 280 calories walking for an hour at a moderate pace, and 590 calories running at a pace of 5 miles per hour.
Like walking, your pace, weight, and time affect how many calories are burned running.
The American Council of Exercise found that on average, a 120-pound runner burns about 11.4 calories hitting the pavement. So they’d burn about 114 calories running a 10-minute mile.
The more you weigh, the more you burn. If you’re closer to 180 pounds, you’d burn 17 more calories a minute. This runner would burn 170 calories for a 10-minute mile.
There are endless ways to add a little pep into your step to burn out those calories. Here are some tips to increase the burn:
- Add an incline. A treadmill or an outside hill works.
- Walk in intervals. Start out at a moderate pace then slowly increase your speed, alternating every 1 to 2 minutes.
- Try adding a heavy backpack or hand weights. This will rack up those calories, even doubling the burn, just as if you were hiking through Sedona.
- Pick up the pace! Incorporating jogging into your walk will have those numbers jumping. Even if you jog for every other minute or mile, you’ll be pleased with the numbers.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to stay healthy and get your daily exercise. Whether you’re walking alone, with a friend, uphill or on a flat trail, you’re giving your body the energy it needs while burning calories.
If you’re focused on losing weight, add more hills or inclines to your walk. You also might want to walk for a longer amount of time. If you want to challenge yourself once you’re a walking pro, add some sprints or jogging into your walk.
Now grab those Yeezy’s and leggo.