If you’ve been away from the game for a while or are trying to get fit for the first time, walking is an accessible, effective way to get moving and even lose weight. Some exercise is better than none, but if you want to see a difference on the scale, you’ll need to create a calorie deficit — and that means figuring out exactly how many calories those steps burn.
“For the average person, walking one mile would burn around seven calories per minute. So, if walking one mile took you 15 minutes, you would burn approximately 105 calories,” Kate Pfeifer, an ACE-certified personal trainer and wellness coach for personal training platform Ladder in Orange County, CA, told POPSUGAR.
“This is why I incorporate a daily step goal into my clients’ routines,” she continued, explaining that if a person were to hit their 10,000 step goal — the equivalent of walking five miles a day — they’d burn on average an extra 3,500 calories per week, which equates to one pound of fat.
Of course, exactly how many calories you burn depends on a number of factors, including your weight and pace, explained Meghan Kennihan, an NASM-certified personal trainer in Chicago. For example, while a brisk walk for a 180-pound person burns 100 calories, the same walk for a 120-pound person would only burn around 65 calories.
To ensure you’re creating a calorie deficit, “try adding weight like a weighted vest or wrist weights,” Meghan suggested. “You can also increase your calorie burn by picking up your pace or pumping your arms, or doing bodyweight exercises on your walk.” She suggested doing a set of squats, lunges, and push-ups every quarter mile.