Walking is a heart-healthy fitness activity that keeps you active and can help you lose weight. When you walk you burn calories and the faster the pace the more you can burn. You can determine how many calories you burn when you walk through various methods. The easier methods involve keeping track of your distance then using online resources to plug in the information to get a final result of calories burned. Longer equations utilising your heart rate plus the distance are also an option when trying to determine your exact energy expenditure. Use the method you are most comfortable with to keep track of your fitness from walking.
- Skill level:
Start by determining your exact weight. Get on your scale and write down your weight. The amount of calories you burn depends on how much you weigh. If you are trying to lose weight, make sure you weigh yourself periodically before determining your calories burned so you get an accurate result.
Time your pace to determine the miles per hour you walk. Use a stopwatch or your wristwatch and keep time from the moment you begin walking until you stop for one mile. On average, a 30-minute mile equals a pace of 2 mph, a 20-minute mile equals a pace of 3 mph and a 15-minute mile equals a pace of 4 mph. A 2 mph pace is considered slow, a 3 mph is moderate and a 4 or 5 mph is brisk.
Calculate your calories by distance with an online tool. The easiest way to figure the calories you burn per walking session is through health websites with an online calculator (See References). These sites ask for your weight and pace. Remember, your pace is the miles per hour per mile you walked and depending on the site this can mean the actual number or a descriptor, such as slow or brisk. Some online calculators also ask for the time spent walking.
Use a pedometer and compare to the average calories burned, as an alternative method. A pedometer is an inexpensive little device that counts the steps you take. With a pedometer you track how many steps you walk then determine the distance based on your steps. In general, 2,000 steps equals one mile but this varies depending on your stride length. On average the stride length for men is 2.5 and for women it is 2.2. If you use the average of 2,000 steps equals one mile then for every 2,000 steps recorded on your pedometer you add the distance of another mile. The average amount of calories burned per mile is 100.
Calculate your calories with the long equation, as another alternative. If you are mathematically inclined a specific equation in the "Journal of Sports Sciences," from a 2005 study differentiates calorie expenditure for each gender utilising your heart rate during exercise.
The equation for men is calories = Time x [ (Heart Rate x 0.6309) + (Age x 0.2017) - (Weight x 0.09036) - 55.0969] / 4.184.
The equation for females is calories = Time x [(Heart Rate x 0.4472) + (Age x 0.074) - (Weight x 0.05741) - 20.4022 / 4.184.
For example, a 30-year-old female weighing 59 kg (130 lb) with an average heart rate of 135 during a three mile walk lasting 60 minutes uses the equation as follows; 60 x [(135 x 0.4472) + (30 x 0.074) - (130 x 0.05741) - 20.4022] / 4.184 = 790.56 calories burned.
Tips and warnings
- Buy pedometers and heart rate monitors at local fitness stores or online.
- Before starting a new fitness programme consult your GP.
- Some pedometers are motion sensitive and may count random movement as a step.
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- Mayo Clinic: Walking for fitness: Make it count with a pedometer
- The Walking Site: FAQ
- "Journal of Sports Sciences"; Prediction of energy expenditure from heart rate monitoring during submaximal exercise; L. R. Keytel, et al; March 2005
- The Fitness Walking-Guide: Calories burned by walking
- Calories Per Hour.Com: Walking calculator
- Power Walkers World: Calories burned calculator