The bad news about walking is, you don't burn a lot of calories doing it. The good news is, you do burn some. How much weight you can lose walking a mile each day depends on how fast you walk and your current weight. If you combine exercise with a low-calorie diet, you will lose weight more quickly. Walking has benefits beyond just weight loss; it can help increase your metabolism slightly, for a short time.
Calories to Lose Weight
To lose weight, you need a 3,500 calorie deficit for every pound you want to lose. To figure out how much weight you will lose walking, take the number of calories you burn on each walk and divide 3,500 by that number. This will tell you how many days it will take to lose 1 pound if you add nothing but a 1-mile walk to your daily routine.
Calories Burned Walking
If you weigh 155 pounds and walk at a pace of 4 miles per hour, you will burn 83 extra calories for every mile you walk, according to the Harvard Heart Letter. If you walk slower or weigh less, you burn fewer calories. If you weigh 125 pounds, you would burn just 67 calories; if you weigh 185 pounds, you would burn 100 calories.
An Appalachian State University study published in the September 2011 issue of "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" found that 45 minutes of vigorous exercise burned 519 +/- 60 calories in 10 men between the ages of 22 and 33. The increase in metabolic rate for the next 14 hours burned an additional 192 calories during the day. Although you may not experience this level of metabolic increase from a 1-mile walk, after any exercise, your metabolism remains high for a certain amount of time. A revved-up metabolism increases your calorie expenditure from the original exercise.
If you weigh 155 pounds, it would take 42 days to lose 1 pound just adding up the calories burned by walking. If you weigh 125 pounds, it would take approximately 52 days. You would lose 1 pound in 35 days if you added a brisk 1-mile walk to your daily routine if you weigh 185 pounds. No two people will lose weight at exactly the same rate, due to differences in metabolism. And for some, exercise stimulates hunger; if you consume the same number of calories you just burned, you won't lose any weight.
- Time Magazine: Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin
- Harvard Heart Letter: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: A 45-minute Vigorous Exercise Bout Increases Metabolic Rate for 14 Hours
- MayoClinic.com: Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-loss Basics
A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.