Walking isn't one of the best short-term weight-loss exercises, so you won't burn as many calories on a one-mile walk as you would burn on a one-mile run or bicycle ride. However, walking is an excellent long-term weight-loss exercise. You can easily walk thousands of miles over decades, because walking has a very low injury risk. How many calories you burn on a one-mile walk depends on your speed and weight.
Walking faster requires more effort. Your heart rate measures your effort. When your heart beats faster, you need more oxygen and "oxygen is a critical component of the calorie-burning process," according to "The Complete Guide to Walking." Author Mark Fenton reports that a 150-lb. person walking for one hour burn 190 calories when he walks at 2 mph, 258 calories at 3 mph, 308 calories at 3.5 mph, 374 calories at 4 mph and 586 calories at 5 mph. Burning 3,500 calories is the same as burning 1 lb.
A 150-lb. person burns more calories walking, and via any other exercise, than someone who weighs less than 150 lbs. and fewer calories than someone who weighs more than 150 lbs. People who weigh 125 lbs. and walk for one hour burn 160 calories when they walk at 2 mph, 216 calories at 3 mph, 256 calories at 3.5 mph, 312 calories at 4 mph and 490 calories at 5 mph. People who weigh 200 lbs. and walk for one hour burn 252 calories when they walk at 2 mph, 344 calories at 3 mph, 410 calories at 3.5 mph, 500 calories at 4 mph and 782 calories at 5 mph.
The calories you burn walking divided by the number of miles you walk equals the calories you burn walking one mile. For example, the 150-lb. person who burned 190 calories per hour walking 2 mph walked two miles and, thus, burned 95 calories per mile. Walking faster burns more calories per hour, but doesn’t necessarily burn more calories per mile. The 150-lb. person burns 86 calories per mile walking 3 mph, 88 calories per mile walking 3.5 mph, 94 calories per mile walking 4 mph and 117 calories per mile walking 5 mph.
People who weigh 125 lbs. burn 80 calories per mile walking 2 mph, 72 calories per mile walking 3 mph, 73 calories per mile walking 3.5 mph, 78 calories per hour walking 4 mph and 98 calories per mile walking 5 mph. People who weigh 200 lbs. burn 126 calories per mile walking 2 mph, 115 calories per mile walking 3 mph, 117 calories per mile walking 3.5 mph, 125 calories per mile walking 4 mph and 156 calories per mile walking 5 mph.
A 160-lb. person who walks 35 minutes per day weighs about 18 fewer lbs. than a 160-lb. sedentary person after 15 years, according to a 15-year study of both men and women, reported by “Harvard Men’s Health Watch.” Walking burns fewer calories than running but runners are 14 to 20 times more likely than walkers to sustain exercise-related injuries. Factor in the lower risk for injury and commit to a daily walk as part of your plan to reach or maintain your ideal weight.
- "The Complete Guide To Walking"; Mark Fenton; 2008
- The Merck Manual of Medical Information; 2003
- "Harvard Men's Health Watch"; Walking: Your Steps to Health; August 2009
- State of Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services: Calories Burned Per Hour
- "Harvard Heart Letter"; Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Weights; July 2004
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.