Calories can be both good and bad as they provide fuel for your body but can also lead to unwanted weight gain. Knowing that everyone splurges from time to time, what is the best way to burn extra calories throughout the day — and how long does it take to burn calories walking?
The length of time it takes to burn 100 calories walking depends on your physical size (weight) and intensity level. For example, a 150-pound person walking at a brisk pace will burn 100 calories in approximately 20 minutes.
How to Calculate Calories Burned
According to the American Council on Exercise, several factors influence the number of calories you burn with physical activity each week. How often a person exercises (frequency), the level of effort (intensity) and the length of a workout session (duration) all play their part in caloric expenditure.
In other words, more regular and intense exercise leads to a higher number of calories burned. But what you might not know is that your weight also plays an important role.
To estimate the number of calories you burn doing a specific physical activity, trainers recommend using Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) values and some simple math. MET values are numbers assigned by the American Council on Exercise to correlate with all sorts of activities, from walking to rowing to doing house chores and more. To calculate the calories burned during an activity, you must start by converting your weight from pounds to kilograms.
Let's say you are a 150-pound person. First, you would divide your weight (in this case 150 pounds) by 2.2 to get a result of approximately 68 kilograms. Then, you would use a simple math equation. MET value x 3.5 x body weight (kg) / 200 = calories burned per minute. Then, you simply multiply that number by the number of minutes you spent exercising.
Let's say, in this instance, the activity you are doing is "general" bicycling, which has a MET value of 8.0, according to the American Council on Exercise. So, 8 x 3.5 x 68 kg / 200 equals 9.52 calories burned in one minute's time. Multiply that by 60 minutes and you have burned a total of 571 calories. If a 190-pound person did the same bicycling activity for an hour, he or she would burn more — approximately 722 calories.
There are plenty of shortcuts to estimate the calories burned — if calculating using MET value isn't your thing. You can always go to the American Council on Exercise's website and determine your calorie expenditure by plugging in your weight and activity type.
Read more: How Long Does It Take to Burn 300 Calories?
Walk to Burn Calories
How long does it take to burn calories walking? This is a question everyone should know because, oftentimes, walking gets overlooked as exercise. The truth is that taking short walks throughout the day can add up to extra calories burned.
For a 150-pound person to burn 100 calories walking, they would need to walk at a brisk pace (MET value of 4.3) for approximately 20 minutes. If you only have 20 minutes to sneak away from your desk for a short break, try taking a brisk walk to burn calories faster.
Keep in mind that a 190-pound person would burn more calories walking at those same speeds. This is important to remember because sometimes, when people go out to eat together, the 150-pound person eats the same meal (and number of calories) as the 190-pound person, yet they burn it off at a much different rate. Be mindful about what you consume, particularly if your goal is weight loss, as certain foods may be higher in calories than you think.
How to Burn 100 Calories
According to the Obesity Medicine Association, walking can be a great option for individuals who have overweight or obesity. This is because they are more prone to workout injuries associated with high-impact movements, such as running or jumping, that increase torque on weight-bearing joints. But walking — even if just in place in your room — still burns calories and provides a low-impact option to reduce risk.
To burn 100 calories in your room, try marching in place while you watch TV, listen to music or tune into your favorite podcast for distraction. As intensity level plays a significant factor in energy expenditure, make your movements more pronounced and aggressive by high-knee marching or by adding some overhead arm movements up and down. Select a playlist with songs you like that have a strong beat to keep you moving quickly and having fun.
Also, remember that marching or walking in place isn't the only method of burning calories in your room. You can also incorporate lunges, squats, push-ups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, planks and more with very little space to work with.
And if that's too much, you can also spend time cleaning up clutter around the house or doing yard work to burn calories. Household activities have a MET value too — that includes housework like cleaning and sweeping (MET value of 3.5) and yard work (MET value of 5.0).
Read more: Calories Burned Standing Vs. Sitting
Just Keep Moving
Just keep swimming... just keep swimming… Remember the motto Dory kept singing in the movie Finding Nemo? Well, she was onto something. Make it your goal to just keep moving, just keep walking and just keep burning calories throughout your day. Not only do you burn more calories moving, but it gets you up and out of your chair.
Researchers have studied the dangers of sitting and living a sedentary lifestyle and what they've found is alarming. Sitting all day can lead to all sorts of problems with your hips and back. It may also contribute to varicose veins, higher levels of anxiety and depression and greater chances of developing certain cancers and heart disease.
Try scheduling time in your calendar to reach the weekly baseline of physical activity (at the very least). The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. Plan it, commit to it and make it part of your lifestyle. Your future self will thank you.
- American Council on Exercise: “Tools and Calculators”
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Measuring Physical Activity"
- Obesity Medicine Association: “Obesity and Exercise”
- Better Health Channel: “The Dangers of Sitting: Why Sitting is the New Smoking”
- American Heart Association: “American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids”
- American Council on Exercise:"5 Things to Know About Metabolic Equivalents"