Walking is a great form of exercise for those who are out of shape or recovering from injury.
It is a low impact activity that benefits both the body and mind.
Not only will you burn calories and boost circulation, but it’s also a great way to prevent chronic diseases and improve your heart health.
In fact, recent research shows that walking an extra 2,000 steps per day up to 10,000 steps was associated with a 10% lower risk for a cardiovascular event.
But just how many calories are you burning when you’re out there pounding the pavement or taking to the hills?
Well, that figure will depend on a couple of things.
Your weight and the distance you walk are the biggest factors in how many calories you burn while walking.
You might be surprised to know that your pace has much less of an impact than you might think.
However, it should be noted that in a 30-minute period, if you’re walking at six kilometres per hour, you’ll cover twice the distance as if you ambled along at three kilometres per hour – therefore burning twice as many calories.
If you only have 15 or 30 minutes for your lunchtime exercise, then going faster is a good strategy.
If you weigh between 72 and 82 kilograms, the below can be used as a benchmark for calories burned.
Walking at a Moderate Pace (5 kph)
- 15 minutes: 65 calories
- 1 hour: 255 calories
Walking at a Fast Pace (8 kph)
- 15 minutes: 120 calories
- 1 hour: 485 calories
Walking Uphill (5.5 kph)
- 15 minutes: 115 calories
- 1 hour: 465 calories
Walking Up Stairs (5 kph)
- 15 minutes: 155 calories
- 1 hour: 620 calories
Walking Downhill (4.5-5 kph)
- 15 minutes: 54 calories
- 1 hour: 215 calories
If you want to get scientific, estimate your average walking speed and how far you’ve walked then plug it into an online calculator like this one, alongside your weight and height, and check how many calories you’ve burned.
If you want to burn more calories while walking, there are plenty of ways to do it.
Get your sweat on by building in some hills and stairs to your routine.
Change up your route to include some different gradients and terrains. Even walking across an uneven grassy field will increase your metabolic rate.
If you’ve only got a set window of time for your walk, slowly increase your pace week-on-week so that you cover more distance.
More mileage means more calories.
If you’re able to you might even build in some jogging or running intervals.
Running burns more calories than walking due to the effort of the lift phase, when both feet are lifted off the ground at the same time.
On top of this you will cover more distance and the intermittent spikes in your heart rate will closely mimic the effects of a HIIT workout.
As mentioned above, the more you weigh, the more calories you burn per kilometre covered. As such, many people choose to carry a weighted backpack or ankle belts.
However, before engaging in this just consider the extra strain you’ll be putting on your joints and feet.
Unless you’re in good physical shape you might be better off just upping your pace to cover some extra ground instead.
You could even choose to make your walk a full-body workout.
Choose a green area en route to stop off at and do some lunges and squats, press-ups, tricep dips on a bench, or anything else that takes your fancy.
Using fitness walking poles also add an upper-body muscular effort to your walking workout so that your outing doesn’t just target your legs.
Charlotte walks anywhere and everywhere she can. Although she hasn’t ticked off as many official routes as she’d like, she has walked her way around large parts of Latin America, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Bucket list routes: