Not only does walking get you up and about, it can boost your mood, too. In an age of readily available, high-calorie and excessive amounts of tasty food, walking has also morphed into a weapon in the war against obesity. The amount of weight you can lose from walking depends on several factors.
If you don’t want to make major cuts in your calorie intake, walking provides an effective way to burn calories, which not only reduces weight but also enhances your muscle tone, endurance, health and cardiovascular fitness. You don’t have to join a gym, buy special clothes or subject yourself to the bone-crunching and possibly ungainly spectacle of running. Walking decreases stress and also enhances sleep, which can have a positive effect on weight loss, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Over the course of one month of walking, you can drop a couple of pounds, but the real benefit comes from incorporating walking into your lifestyle so you continue to drop weight and maintain the weight loss.
Calculate Your Losses
To lose one pound, you must decrease your intake or increase your burn by 3,500 calories. How many calories you burn, and how much weight you lose, depends on how much you weigh, how long you walk, and how fast you walk. Online calories-burned calculators, such as the one at the HealthStatus website, estimate how many calories you burn based on these factors.
Good News for Plus-Sizers
You don’t have to be obese to benefit from walking, but if you carry lots of extra weight, you have an advantage when it comes to losing weight by walking. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn. A 140-pound person who walks an hour a day at 3 mph burns 277 calories. Walking daily, that comes to about 2.4 pounds per month. A 220-pound person who walks an hour a day at 3 mph burns about 436 calories, amounting to 3.7 pounds per month.
Increase Your Losses
Double your time walking, and you double the number of pounds you burn in a month. Also, if you walk faster, you lose more weight. A 150-pound person who walks an hour daily at 2 mph burns about 1.5 pounds per month, but walking at 4 mph this same person burns about 2.3 pounds per month. Walking at least at the pace of 100 steps per minute, which amounts to about 3 miles per hour, increases your breathing, raises your heart rate and increases your metabolism. You burn more calories while you walk, but also continue to burn calories after you’ve completed exercising. The longer you maintain a heightened heart rate in exercise, the longer your afterburn.
Consult your physician if you hope to make significant changes to your exercise routine. Also, note that walking can increase your appetite, so be careful to avoid adding calories to your diet if you hope to use walking to lose weight.
- American Journal of Preventive Medicine: Translating Physical Activity Recommendations into a Pedometer-Based Step Goal; Simon J. Marshall, et al.
- HealthStatus: About the Calories Burned Estimator
- Fitness: Walk It Off: Burn 1,300 Calories Walking
- Postgraduate Medicine: Health Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
- National Sleep Foundation: Sleep, Diet and Exercise; Key to Your Fitness Goals
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.