Health News: How much walking do you need to do to lose weight?

Posted by Kathleen Utley on Mar 22, 2016 4:00:00 AM
Kathleen Utley
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Loseweight.jpgMany people I know use walking as a way to de-stress, burn energy and get moving. It’s a simple activity and you already know how to do it. Walking is easy on joints and requires little to no additional equipment. Recently, treadmills and bikes have been added to many 911 dispatch centers and the question arises, how much walking do you need to do to lose weight?

Let’s take a minute and review the general principles of weight loss, starting with calorie input and calories burned. The MayoClinc describes this as 3,500 calories equals 1lb of fat, so you need to burn 3,500 calories more then you take in to loose 1lb. To simplify that daily, you need to burn 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound per week. (500x7days a week) Based on age and activity level, is suggested that the average male should have an intake of 2,640 and women should have 1,785. (See this handy chart on Estimate Calorie Needs from USDA) So, to put this more simply, to create this 500 calorie a day deficit, you need to consume less calories and burn more calories. You can do this by walking. But how much walking does it take to burn 500 calories?

Sadly, I did learn one thing while doing my research on the subject. The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn participating in the same workout as a smaller person. Wait…that just doesn’t seem fair! :( Ok, and now the meat of the subject: on average a 155lb person can burn approximately 500 calories walking 4mph for 90 minutes while a 185lb person will burn 500 calories in about 75 minutes walking at a 4mph pace. So there you have it, consume less calories, burn more calories through walking and you’ll lose weight. If only there weren't temptations.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind. Walking at a 4mph pace is quite fast. Probably too fast for most people especially while walking on a treadmill desk. And, while walking is great, keep in mind if you can combine it with some other form of activity, you will hit your 500 calorie burn mark a lot quicker. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you need to do two types of physical activity each week to improve your health–aerobic and muscle-strengthening. Finally, get a pedometer, or fitbit, or smart watch and start tracking your fitness and working toward your health goals. 

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Topics: Health, Treadmill and Bike Desks, Human Interest