If you’ve got an hour to burn, you can lose weight by doing something you’ve been doing since about the age of 2 – walking. It’s inexpensive and it takes no special skill you haven’t already honed. And for those who carry enough extra pounds that running presents the possibility of an ungainly spectacle you would rather not put on public display, rest assured that anybody can walk and maintain an air of dignity. Walking has many benefits, but how much weight you lose depends on how much you weigh, how fast you walk and the nature of the terrain you walk through or the tilt of your treadmill. Ultimately, how much you lose walking an hour daily depends on how well you mind your diet.
Sure, walking burns calories and helps you lose weight, But, there’s so much more. When you walk at a fast pace, say of 3 mph or more, you are doing aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise works the big muscles in your lower body, using lots of fuel. It causes your lungs to work hard to take in extra oxygen, which is used to stoke the calorie burn. Walking pumps up your heart rate, so your blood can deliver raw material to your muscles and carry off by-products of metabolism. Walking at least 30 minutes a day at a moderately intense level lowers your risk for many health conditions, including viral illnesses, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. Less stressful to your bones than running, walking nonetheless causes some impact stress to your ankles, knees, hips and spinal cord, which strengthens your bones and reduces your risk for osteoporosis.
The more you weigh the more you burn walking for an hour. Basic physics tells us that it takes more energy to move a larger mass. If you’re hosting super-sized fat cells, you will burn more calories when you propel that fat mass of yours along the walking trail. A person who weighs 140 pounds burns 220 calories walking for an hour at 3 mph, but the 200-pound person burns 314 calories -- more than a 50 percent increase in calories burned. If you carry extra weight, hit that treadmill. You will see your weight come off more quickly than your thinner peers’ weight comes off. You lose one pound of weight for every 3,500 calories you burn walking. The 170-pound person walking an hour at 3 mph burns 267 calories per day, so it would take 3,500 divided by 267, or about 13 days to burn a pound. That’s about 28 pounds a year.
Any kind of activity, even a leisurely stroll, burns calories, but the faster you walk, the more you burn. A 170-pound person burns 267 calories at 3 mph, 405 calories at 4 mph and 648 calories at the very brisk pace of 5 mph. Walking one hour daily, this translates into 2.3 lbs. per month at 3 mph, 3.5 lbs. per month at 4 mph and 5.5 lbs. per month at 5 mph.
Terrain And Incline
If you walk through a hilly terrain, you burn more calories while going uphill, fewer calories going downhill but more overall than if you walk where it’s flat. You can increase the intensity and burn of your treadmill workout by walking on an incline. A 170-pound person who burns 406 calories walking at 3 mph boost the burn up to 537 calories walking on a 5-degree incline. This translates into a weight loss of about 1 lb. per week.
Walking can enhance your health and improve your profile, but you won’t see much weight-loss if you don’t also watch your calories. A few sodas, snacks or super-sized portions at the dinner table can easily more than make up for those calories you walked off. Load up on vegetables, avoid high-calorie and fatty foods and eat a balanced, properly portioned diet to assure that the weight you lose walking is lost for good.