Can You Lose Weight by Walking?

Technically, yes, you can. However, a better answer might be β€˜it depends.’ Walking, an easy and inexpensive activity helps you burn calories and tone muscles. The more lean body mass or muscle tissue you have, the more calories you will expend daily, even while at rest.

To lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume, creating a calorie deficit. Whether or not you can lose weight walking depends upon the FIT principle, the frequency, intensity and time (or duration) of the activity. According to the National Institutes of Health, it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories in one week, or 500 calories per day for seven days, to lose 1 lb. Talking frequent, vigorous walks daily, paired with a reduced-calorie diet, helps to create that deficit, resulting in slow, steady weight loss.

Casual strollers may only walk about 2 miles per hour (mph) while very brisk walkers can clock up to 5mph. The average amount of calories you expend depends upon your weight; the more you weigh the more you will burn, your pace and other factors. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), if you weigh 140 lbs and walk at a very brisk pace for 40 minutes, you will burn about 212 calories. Increase the speed and duration, walking at a faster pace (about 5mph) for 50 minutes and burn 476 calories, nearly meeting the daily deficit required to lose 1 lb per week.


  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine; National Institutes of Health – Medline Plus Fact Sheet: Tips for Losing Weight.
  2. M Navratilova. Walking: The Easiest Exercise. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP); Sept 2010.
  3. American Council on Exercise (ACE); ACE Get Fit: Physical activity Calorie Calculator.

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