Walking and weight loss – what’s realistic – some data

Found this information on go4awalk.com, its interesting / depressing reading.

It makes me think that walking is more for maintaining weight rather than for loosing weight.

“1 pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 Calories. So to lose 1lb in weight you need to expend 3500 Calories more than you’ve consumed.

The calories expended (and therefore the weight lost) when walking depends on a number of factors – crucially your level of fitness, your weight and the distance walked.

A good rule of thumb is that a reasonably active person weighing 168 lbs (12 stones) walking at approximately 2 mph will consume just under 100 Calories per mile walked.

Putting this another way, on a 6 hour walk over mixed terrain with an average walking speed of 2 mph:

a 14 stones person (196 pounds) will burn 1370 Calories (approx.)
a 13 stones person (182 pounds) will burn 1300 Calories (approx.) and
a 12 stones person (168 pounds) will burn 1190 Calories (approx.)

Perhaps surprisingly, you’ll actually expend a little more energy walking at slower speeds because your lack of momentum will mean that each step is more ‘energy imageconsuming’.

On the other hand, at a higher walking speed you are likely to be using more muscle groups (e.g. by swinging your arms) which will also have the effect of increasing the calories burnt per step.

It’s also possible to increase the calories expended by using walking poles. In fact, this is the source of some of the benefits provided by Nordic Walking.

Predictably perhaps, walking uphill does consume significantly more calories than walking on the flat at the same speed. However, walking downhill also uses more calories because you use energy to resist your downward momentum.

Uphill/downhill sections will increase the effect on your quads (the muscles at the front of your thighs that lift your legs). If you want to increase the impact on your hamstrings, hip flexors and buttocks – lengthen your stride and walk faster.

If you’ve experienced a ‘second wind’ along a stretch of asphalt road at the end of a long, long day – then this may be because walking on asphalt or concrete also require less energy than walking on clay or sand.”

On the other hand if we use our pedometers and walk 3,000 steps over 30 minutes, five days a week Ò€” or 1,000 steps for 10 minutes a day as reported in this article bought to my attention by Geoff.

Then maybe walking would be helpful for weight loss.

I suppose we all have to decide what’s right for us and just do what we enjoy  πŸ™‚

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7 thoughts on “Walking and weight loss – what’s realistic – some data

  1. quietbadger

    I’ve always enjoyed long walks, and have little need to be told of the health benefits of walking – and of course, it’s also a good way to see and enjoy the world around you! πŸ™‚

  2. lady macleod

    I prefer to run because – well you know my personality. But – that being said I shall be forced to walk the next few months and MY research shows that you can lose weight just as easily and with less danger of injury by walking – you have to walk longer and further, that’s all. Get those hands up, bend the elbows and have that add to your momentum. Enjoy your surroundings but no stopping to smell the roses. Trust me – it works, and for many reasons better than running.

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  4. sally

    Anne… basically it means if you weigh 12 stone and walk for 6 hours you only burn 1190 calories and to lose a pound of fat you need to burn 3,500 calories .. so you have to walk alot of hours to burn just 1 pound of fat πŸ™‚

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