They say laughter is the best medicine when it comes to mental health, but what about physical health?
Hippocrates believed walking is man’s best medicine, and if you’ve spent any amount of time at the local park, I’m sure you’ve witnessed people “taking their medicine.”
Not only is walking inexpensive (unless you do it at the gym), but it’s easy to do with a friend, your dog, or alone.
Walking not only gives your leg muscles a workout, but it also gives your heart (cardio!) a workout while you burn calories and lose weight.
Whether you try to walk a certain number of steps or a certain amount of time, it’s always good to get up and walk.
Years ago, you had to buy a special device to clip on your waistband in order to count your steps. Today, we have wristbands, pendants, and apps on our phones to count steps for us.
But, exactly how much walking do you need to do to burn off that donut you had at work this morning? How many calories do you burn while walking?
The answer to that varies.
How many calories does walking burn?
If you’re counting calories, knowing how much you burn is as important as how much you consume.
Runner’s World came up with some approximations to help you figure it all out whether you’re counting miles or minutes.
Calories burned per mile = .57 x weight in lbs.
For example, multiply your weight (in pounds) by .57.If you weigh 150 lbs, you will burn about 85.5 calories (150 X .57) when you walk a mile.
Calories burned per minute = .03 x weight in lbs.
For example, multiply your weight (in pounds) by .03. If you weigh 150 lbs, you will burn about 4.5 calories (150 X .03) per minute of walking or 270 calories per hour.
Both of these are based on walking a mile on a flat surface in approximately 18-20 minutes.
(Please remember: before starting any exercise regimen, including walking, check with your doctor.)
As mentioned, these formulas are based on your weight. A person who weighs more will burn more calories simply because their heart will need to work harder. Any time you raise your heart rate (there’s that cardio again!) you’ll burn more calories.
And burning more calories is good because it means more weight loss if your caloric intake doesn’t go up.
3 Easy Ways To Burn More Calories:
1) Walk uphill. If you use a treadmill, you can adjust the incline by five degrees to simulate walking uphill. If you’re walking outside, find a route that includes some gently rolling hills with a 10% or less grade. Gravity will work against you as you walk uphill and give your heart a good workout.
2) Wear a weighted backpack. Adding five, ten, or even 20 pounds to a backpack and wearing it as you walk a mile or walk for 30 minutes will burn more calories. Be sure you have good padding on the shoulder straps, or you’ll be feeling the weight on your shoulders as well as your legs.
3) Walk in sand. It’s not easy to walk in sand. If you’ve done it, you know what I’m talking about. You need to lift your legs a bit higher and be more conscious about how each step settles into the shifting grains so you don’t twist your ankle. It can be quite a workout!
While you may only want to walk for 15-20 minutes, which will be approximately a mile depending on your stride, consider going the extra mile. Once you get a steady pace going, the second mile will be easy.
If you absolutely cannot walk for more than 15 minutes due to time constraints, pick up the pace to be sure you get close to a mile. The increased intensity will get your heart pumping and the calories burning.
And let’s not forget the afterburn.
Also known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), the afterburn kicks in when you finish your walk, as your body returns to its normal resting metabolic rate. Your body will burn fat while it recovers since your brisk walk was burning stored carbs.
How many calories do you burn while walking? I'll let you do the math since it's slightly different for everyone due to fluctuations in weight and the speed of the walk.
But, if you're serious about losing weight, why not try the 10K/day challenge?
You burn approximately one calorie (give or take) for every 20 steps. That comes out to about four calories a minute. Therefore, taking 10,000 steps per day burns about 500 calories, which equals a pound of fat.
Dolly Parton once said, “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” Wise words for those walking their way to weight loss. Find a new route to walk, buy a treadmill, join the Y, or become a mall walker.
The choice is yours. Just get up and go for a walk!