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Walking Off The Weight

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Bretton Curtis - TOBS staff

With spring just beginning to sprout, many of us are ready to shed some of the extra weight gained from winter and the holidays.

How can walking help?

Walking is probably the oldest form of exercise to date. Humans have been walking the earth for thousands of years and will continue to walk for the foreseeable future. Adding in some incline can really boost the calories burned and weight lost. It can also help boost your mood and overall feeling of wellness. Walking after a meal can also help your body digest the food you just ate and help to get the calories going to all the right places. It can also help heal injuries by improving circulation that would further be aggravated by higher impact movements such as running.

How many calories does walking burn?

It depends on how much you weigh, how fast your walking speed is, as well as other factors such as incline, and your general overall fitness level. The body will naturally get more efficient at walking meaning you will burn slightly less calories the more time yoy spend walking. And the more time you spend exercising the more weight you will be dropping, requiring less effort to move the same amount of distance.

Walking speed

The general consensus of walking speed from several sources on the internet conclude that a low speed is anything under 3 mph (or 100 steps per minute) and a brisk walk as anything over 3 mph (or 100 steps per minute). Anything over a brisk walk (3 mph-4.5 mph) would probably be breaking into a jog. For the sake of numbers, we will assume the person walking is about 180 lbs.

Calories burned

A 180 lb person walking at a moderate speed (2-3 mph) would burn about 90-100 calories per mile

A 180 lb person walking briskly at 3-4 mph would burn about 100-115 calories per mile.

If you add just a 5% incline (hands off the rails people!) you can factor in about a 17% increase bringing your calories burned up to 115 calories/mi for a moderate walk and 130 cal/mi respectively.

A 10% incline can gain you a 32% increase in metabolic activity which is quite substantial, taking you up to 125-130 for a moderate walk and 130-150 calories per mile on a brisk walk.

Walking on an incline can also help strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and calves which can really improve the entire posterior chain and help tone and define muscles. If you aren't used to an incline you may really start to feel the burn as you don't normally use them just walking around throughout the day.

Walking is a great way to break into the fitness scene and can help increase your mood and your fitness. When I first started getting into shape I would walk 4-5 miles every day and was able to lose weight more easily than I had thought. I hate to admit it but at first it made my shins quite sore due to my tibialis being quite out of shape from years of little activity. Once I got comfortable walking, I started jogging and lifting weights and all of the walking really helped my cardiovascular endurance and got my body used to moving. Stan Efferding recommends walking 10 minutes, 3x a day (once after every meal) to anyone wanting to get started. Personally I think this is a great way to break into a good regiment that you can keep building on.

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