How Many Miles Do You Need for Weight Loss?

The more you weigh, the more calories you burn running.
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Whether you run or walk, every mile counts when you're trying to lose weight. If you've got a specific weight-loss goal in mind, you'll want to know just how much closer each mile brings you to this goal. Estimate the number of miles you'll need to run or walk based on your body weight.

Calories Burned

According to a 2009 article in "Harvard Men's Health Watch," the number of calories you burn is largely based on the distance you walk or run -- not the speed. According to the publication, a 140-pound person burns about 95 calories per mile, while a 180-pound individual uses 115 calories per mile and a 220-pound individual will burn off around 135 calories per mile.

Calories for Weight Loss

To lose weight you simply need to burn more calories -- with exercise, regular activities and basic biological functions -- than you consume. Burning an excess 3,500 calories works out to a loss of about 1 pound of fat. The recommended safe rate of weight loss is between 1 and 2 pounds per week. To lose weight at this rate, you should aim for a daily deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories.

Miles for Weight Loss

A 140-pound individual will need to cumulatively walk or run about 37 miles to lose a pound of fat. This would mean running or walking about 2.6 miles per day to lose half a pound per week. For a 160-pound person it takes just over 33 miles of running or walking -- about 2.4 miles per day -- to lose half a pound per week. A 220-pound person would need to walk or run nearly 26 miles -- nearly the distance of a marathon -- to lose a pound of fat. This works out to running or walking about 1.85 miles per day to lose half a pound weekly.


You'll only lose weight from running or walking if you also control your caloric intake. If you simply eat back all the calories you burn off, you'll maintain your weight and you'll gain weight if you consume more calories than you burn. Talk to your doctor before starting a weight-loss or exercise regimen. Your doctor can tell you if you're fit enough to safely attempt the program and can help you establish healthy weight-loss goals.

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