How many calories does walking burn?

Walking is a great physical activity for those starting their fitness journey, regardless of their ability or physical limitations.

Walking is a low-impact activity so it won’t put too much stress on joints like running might, which means you’re less likely to get injured when starting out.

Since most people don’t need any special equipment when they walk, there are no financial barriers to entry like some other sports. 

However, some people erroneously believe that walking isn’t an effective exercise for burning calories. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Walking is an excellent form of exercise. The calories burned by walking can be surprising and can help the average person lose weight and support a healthy lifestyle. 

So how many calories are burned when you walk? 

As a really broad generalisation, it is estimated that going for a 30-minute walk can burn anywhere between 100 and 300 calories. 

So a daily 30-minute walk is likely to help you burn between 700 and 2100 calories per week. 

This is obviously quite a wide range, and people need a clearer idea of calories burned if they are working to a weight loss goal. 

So what impacts the amount of calories burned when you’re walking? There are two main factors: 

Your walking intensity impacts calorie burn

The intensity of your walk can be broadly calculated by reviewing how far you walk and your walking speed in any given timeframe. 

For example, someone that walks 3km in 30 mins (walking pace of 6km/hour) is likely to burn more calories than someone that walks at a more casual pace of 2km in 30 mins (walking pace of 4km/hour)

Your weight also impacts calorie burn when walking

This surprises some people, but your weight can have a significant impact on the calories burned walking. 

One of the reasons for this is that heavier people need to work a little bit harder to move their body weight. 

Let’s assume that two people both walk at an average 5km/hour pace for 30 mins. One weighs 15 stone (95kg) and the other 10 stone (93kg). 

The 15 stone person is likely to burn approximately 175 calories in 30 minutes, whereas the 10 stone person is likely to burn fewer calories, at around 115. 

How do I calculate how many calories I’m burning when walking?

If you’re interested in calculating the approximate calories you’re burning on your daily walk, there are some really useful walking calorie calculators available online. 

You typically just need to enter the amount of time that you walked for, the intensity of your walk, and your weight, and they will present you with a relatively accurate guide. 

We have built the simplest and easiest to use walking calorie calculator to help you understand more.

The walking calorie calculator at shapesense.com is a little more advanced and allows you to incorporate the incline that you walk at, as you can expend more energy by walking uphill. 

It’s also worth noting that the majority of modern fitness watches and their supporting apps can provide an accurate measure of the calories burned on your walking workout. 

Some watches and apps even provide real-time feedback, so you can see how many calories you’re burning as you walk.

Are there any calorie-burning benchmarks by walking distance? 

Some people will just want a broad overview of how many calories you burn by walking a set distance. 

To help us provide a broad overview below, we’ve assumed that people will be walking at the average 5km/hour pace, on a flat walking surface and with an average stride length.

We’ve also used an estimate of average body weight from the Office of National Statistics for women in the UK (70kg) and men in the UK (84kg). 

How many calories would you burn by walking 1km? 

It is estimated that walking 1km at an average pace is likely to burn around 51 calories for the average UK female, and around 62 calories for the average UK male. 

How many calories would you burn by walking 3km? 

It is estimated that walking 3km at an average pace is likely to burn around 154 calories for the average UK female, and around 185 calories for the average UK male. 

How many calories would you burn if you walked 10,000 steps? 

Many people believe that trying to walk 10,000 steps per day is some kind of official health guidance that the average person should strive for. It’s not! 

The origins of the 10,000 daily step goal actually date back to a marketing campaign for a Japanese step tracker in the 1960s.

However, many fitness apps and trackers use this 10,000 step goal as a benchmark and it can be a good ‘stretch goal’ for many people. 

If you did complete your 10,000 steps it is estimated that this is equivalent to around 5 miles (or 8km). 

It is estimated that walking 8km at an average pace is likely to equate to 429 calories burned walking for the average UK female, and around 515 calories burned walking for the average UK male. 

How long would I have to walk to burn 1000 calories? 

Looking at this the other way around, if the average UK male wanted to burn 1000 calories from walking it is estimated they would need to walk on flat terrain at an average pace of 5km/hour for approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes. This would cover a distance of approximately 16.25km. 

If the average UK female wanted to burn 1000 calories from walking, they would need to walk for slightly longer – approximately 3 hours and 55 minutes. This would cover a distance of just under 20km. 

How do I burn more calories when walking? 

There is so much to talk about here, that it is probably best covered in a whole separate article! 

If you’re interested to start walking to lose weight, have a look at our article “How much walking to lose weight?” to get a broader list of tips. 

However, as a quick tip, walking at a faster pace than normal is likely to help you increase the calories you burn walking. 

Another quick tip to burn more calories walking is to try walking on an incline – it can get those muscles working that little bit harder!

What is the average walking speed?

How long does it take to walk a mile?

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