How Many Calories Do You Burn While Walking?

How Many Calories Do You Burn While Walking?
From Nerd Fitness - November 27, 2017

How many calories do you burn while walking?

Its a simple question, but it inevitably leads to a series of other questions too:

Okay, so maybe you didnt ask that last question, but as a guy that runs Nerd Fitness, I certainly wanted to know the answer to that (spoiler: you can).

Ill be addressing each of the above questions in this monster article about walking, including everything you need to know about the most natural activity we can do as human beings.

Walking is not only a great way to burn calories and stay active, but its an incredible stress reliever and gives you a chance to explore your surroundings in much more detail than through a car window.

For starters, YES, you absolutely can lose weight just by walking! Heres a Nerd Fitness success story from Tim, who got hurt and could only walk for exercise.

50 pounds later (and another big change Ill get to below), Id say he succeeded!

But Ill get to Tims story shortly. Instead, Lets talk about the second question


In true Nerd Fitness fashion, we scienced the crap out of this, and even created a handy calculator for yousimply put your stats in the calculator here, and you can determine how effective walking can be when it comes to burning calories and losing weight!

What I thought would be a simple equation led me down a rabbit hole of labyrinthine proportions, but I feel weve found the best estimation as a starting point for discussion. [*].

So feel free to mess around with this calculator, and then keep reading so I can get you the information that will be helpful in your quest for health:

A few things to remember about the above equation:

Theres a difference between gross calories (total calories) expended and net calories (additional calories) expended! Your body burns most of its calories every day JUST by existing.

Youre a unique snowflake, and no box or formula can capture your awesomeness/uniqueness. Fortunately this equation below is JUST a starting point!

ANY exercise pales in comparison to a much more important part of the weight loss equation. Its what Tim did above, and what Ill explain below!

If youve come this far, and you want to learn more about why walking is so amazing, continue reading. Ill also tell you just how Tim had the dramatic success he had above.

And youre damn right, Ill show you exactly how to walk to Mordor too.

The Benefits of Walking

We are designed to walk.Its in our DNA, and its a huge part of our emergence as the dominant species on this planet (along with opposable thumbs, big brains, and Nintendo).

Lets get the basic stuff out of the way:

Every day, its recommended by the CDC that we walk around five miles, or 10,000 steps.Hence the reason why your Fitbitwhich Ill get to shortlyhas that 10k step goal as its default number.

Unfortunately, we Americans tend to average HALF that: 2.5 miles or 5,000 steps. And Id imagine that people who work outdoors or have more physically active jobs drag that average wayyyy up.

Which leaves us desk jockeys, who dont walk nearly enough.

We use our feet to get us from the front door, to our car, to our desk, to the vending machine, to our car, to our front door, to our couch where we put them up while watching four hours of TV before going to bed.

Not walking enough can be a big factor in the creep-up of weight gain over the years, and its probably why youre here reading this article!

Can I walk more to lose weight? Is walking REALLY good for me, or do I need to do more intense exercise?

Long story short, you should walk more and it can help you lose weight and be healthier.

Short story long, heres why walking is important:

Walking burns calories without exhausting you.If you walked the recommended mileage each day (5 miles instead of just 2.5), it can lead to a tremendous amount of weight loss over time.Youll burn an extra 100 calories walking just ONE more mile each day than normal: When thats multiplied out, its an extra 700 calories burned per week, which results in approximately a pound of fat lost every five weeks, or 10 pounds in a year. You can scale up your distances to get your desired results!

Walking doesnt add to training stress.If you are strength training regularly, adding in more weight training or running can lead to burnout, breakdowns, and injuries. If you are trying to look like a super hero, extra cardio sessions (or long distance cardio sessions) will kill your gains. But you can just walk. You can walk great distances, provided youve built up your bodys physical ability, and not get tired or sorewalking (especially outside while soaking in some sunlight) can make you feel better, not worse.

Walking is low impact. Unlike running, which can wreak havoc on peoples jointsif they run improperly or are severely overweight, walking doesnt have those impact issues. If you go for a walk and your feet or joints hurt, youre doing it wrongread the next section!

Walking can burn fat. Because walking is low impact and low intensity, your body doesnt need to pull from its glycogen and glucose stores to fuel itself, which happens when you strength train or push yourself into aerobic training with higher intensity cardio. Proponents of intermittent fastingsuggest walking in a fasted state in the morning before eating anything in order to help burn extra fat. This will have to be something you attempt and measure for yourself.

Walking relieves stress.Seriously! When you put on your iPod with your favorite playlist, and can go for a pleasant walk around your neighborhood or through the woods as the sun is going down, you have a recipe to forget the worries of your day.

Walking improves mental health (especially in older hobbits).Walking can improve mental health, increase brain size, improve memory, and is correlated with improved, longer lifespans.[1]

How walking can change your life

If you are severely overweight and cant run or strength train, walk on.

If you are building muscle and bulking up, walk on.

If you are trying to lose weight, walk on.

If you struggle with following a routine, or havefailed in the pastwith weight loss, walk on.

Why? Im a HUGE fan of small habit change and tiny victorieswalking is the PERFECT habit builder. If youre brand new and starting out, go for a walk TODAY and begin your journey to Mordor.

This afternoon, go for five-minute walk.Tomorrow morning before work, before breakfast, as SOON as you wake up, put on your shoes, and go outside for a five-minute walk. No snoozing, no lying in bed, no checking email or Twitter. Put on your headphones, pick your favorite song, go outside, and start walking.

Heres why:

How to walk properly

Uhhh, Steve, I know how to walk.I do it every day!

Welp, if youre starting from only walking from your car to the office, we need to make sure youre walking the right way for when you push that mileage up.

Lets start with your feet, provided youre not gonna glue hair to your feet and go barefoot to become a hobbit.

I recommend walking in shoes that have a a wide toe box and minimal drop (height at the heel vs height at the toes), as we discuss in our monster post on healthy feet and footwear:

You might not be used to walking with minimal cushioning under your heels, so walk slowly and land softly. Walking on softer surfaces to start isnt a bad idea either.

What about those tone up shoes? Will they make your booty pop like it says in the ad? This wont be a surprise to you, but those shoes are about as likely to improve your health as Gimli shaving his beard (not likely).

We were designed before the invention of big clunky shoes thus, we should be able to walk without big clunky shoes.If you are interested in goingbarefoot as a runner, get started by walking short distances first. Your feet will toughen up (though they probably wont grow hair quite like Frodo and Sam), your joints and muscles around your feet and ankles will strengthen, and your knees will deal with less stress.

Walking To Lose Weight

Walking tips and tricks

What about Fitbits and Nike FuelBands and Apple Watches?

How to Actually Walk to Mordor


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