It’s longer than you might think – but don’t worry, we outline how you can burn calories quicker when you walk, and how walking compares to other forms of exercise.
Reviewed by Brian Richards, CPT, CSCS. Last updated 16th December.
You’ve probably heard the (somewhat over-simplified) factoid that it takes 3500 burned calories to lose one pound of weight. Yikes! To someone just starting out with weight loss that seems like a lot. This often leads people to wonder if they could burn 1000 calories a day and some way, some how speed up their weight loss progress. In particular, many wonder if they can burn 1000 calories by walking.
How long you have to walk to burn 1000 calories depends on your weight and speed of walking. For example, a 180-pound person would have to walk for a little over 13.1 miles to burn 1000 calories, which means that they would have to walk for 238 minutes at the very least.
The process of burning calories isn’t easy, but you can do it with a bit of knowledge before starting. Also, walking isn’t the only way to burn calories. Interested to know more and lose weight with more ease? Read on.
How Many Calories Do You Lose per Hour of Walking?
As mentioned, the number of calories you’ll burn in an hour depends on many different factors, some of which you’ll learn about later. However, when it comes to walking, there are some definite numbers you can more or less rely on.
Two of the most important factors in calorie burning while walking are your weight and your walking speed. Naturally, you’ll burn more calories if you are heavier and if you walk faster.
For example, a 120-pound (54kg) person can lose 65 calories per mile of normal walking. Considering the fact that it would take them 17 to 24 minutes to walk a mile, that means that it would take them more than 15 miles (24km) and 255 minutes (at least) of walking to lose 1000 calories.
Now imagine that same person was in danger of running late for a 6 p.m. PTA meeting and they walked at a brisker pace. They would lose 68 calories per mile (1.6km), and they would need under 15 miles (24km) to lose that many calories.
At the same time, a 180-pound (81kg) person would lose 100 calories per mile of regular walking, and they would need to walk for a little over 10 miles (16km) to lose 1000 calories, which would mean 170 minutes at least.
If they walked faster, they would lose 102 calories and need a bit less time walking and fewer miles as well.
So, walking can help you burn 1000 calories per day, but you would need to walk for at least 4 hours at regular speeds and with higher weight. Many people consider adding weight by carrying weights, but that puts a strain on your joints, so generally, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Walk faster — the faster you go, the more calories you’ll lose with less time spent walking.
Try racewalking — this is an exercise that can truly enhance your weight loss and calorie burning.
Add hills or stairs. If you are walking outside, in nature, make sure that the terrain is hilly and take any stairs that you can — the bigger the incline, the more calories you can burn. If you’re walking on a machine, just add an incline through the settings.
Can You Burn 1000 Calories a Day?
Considering that it takes 3500 calories lost to burn a pound, many people want to burn as many as they can a day. So, a natural question is whether you can burn 1000 calories a day. The truth is that you definitely can.
However, you have to do it in a healthy way. It can be safe, but with consultancy from experts like dietitians, trainers, etc.
For one, you need to find the right form of exercise or a combination of exercises. Walking could be one of your options, but there are other exercise techniques that work even better. More on that later.
The next thing you have to do, ironically, is make sure you’re resting enough. You can’t just spend the majority of your day working out. Maybe that’s not you, but some people hit it hard right at the beginning.
You need rest, and your body needs it too. So, make sure that you are recuperating enough, especially if you’re adding in higher intensity exercise. Take breaks often.
You also need to eat enough. Most people do the opposite. Don’t even consider exercising this much and not eating well. You’ll probably have many health problems that way, and it won’t work. Your body needs food as fuel to exercise.
Of course, stay away from junk food, but consume enough lean protein, healthy fats, and some carbs. Avoid sweets, sugary drinks, and everything that seems remotely unhealthy. Choose healthy options.
When losing weight, always acknowledge the fact that other factors, rather than just your effort, play a vital role. For example, your genetics may affect the rate at which you lose weight (Thanks, mom and dad!) Another big factor that affects your weight loss is stress and hormones, particularly cortisol (Thanks boss and kids!) So be graceful to yourself and do what feels best.
How We Burn Calories
The number of calories you burn each day depends on several factors like:
Your weight and body composition. The heavier you are, the more calories you’ll burn. Also, the more muscles you have, the more calories you’ll burn as muscles need more energy than fat.
Your sex. Men generally have more muscles than women, so they might lose weight and burn calories more quickly than women.
Your age. The older you are, the lower your BMR (basal metabolic rate) is, and fewer calories you’ll burn on a daily basis without exercise.
Aside from these factors, you should also consider two more:
Thermogenesis. The body burns about 10% of the calories you consume just to digest food.
Physical activity. Naturally, the more active you are, the more calories you can burn. This one of two categories you can actually control, and if you want to burn more calories, you just have to work out more.
When losing weight, remember that your BMR is often not to blame for weight gain. There are only a handful of conditions that result in a weight gain because of a BMR that’s too low. Most likely, your weight gain would be due to calories consumed and not lost.
Activities That Help You Burn the Most Calories per Hour
As you probably know, walking is one of the activities that results in a lower calorie expenditure than most exercises. In that spirit, you may want to try something that will take less of your time and still provide the same results.
Here are the exercises that can help you burn the most calories per hour.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) involves many different techniques done at high intensity. For example, you can expect burpees, running, cycling, jumping jacks, rope jumping, etc. After a certain amount of time, you take a 10-second break, and then you continue. In a one-hour HIIT class, you can lose about 900 calories.
Swimming is another great activity for weight loss. If you swim for 90 to 120 minutes with 1-minute breaks every ten laps, you can lose 1000 calories. Much faster than walking! The key thing to watch out with swimming: Hunger. I remember as a kid, swimming for hours, and getting out of the pool absolutely starving! The reason? Because unlike after 2 hours of basketball, I wasn’t drenched in sweat and dehydrated. When you’re dehydrated, even if you’ve burned massive calories, the body prioritizes hydration. After 2 hours of swimming, there’s very little dehydration so the body moves to the next thing on the priority list—food.
Play hockey or basketball, and you’ll burn around 700 calories. With an hour or two of this every day, you can burn 1000 calories and have some fun with friends.
Go scuba diving, and you’ll be able to lose around 800-900 calories within an hour and 15 minutes when taking breaks.
So, if you want to lose 1000 calories every day, there are certainly fun and effective ways to do it. Walking will bring weight loss, naturally, but it might be a bit slower than most other exercise forms.
Keep in mind that no matter what you opt for when it comes to working out, you have to rest enough, eat enough, and consume enough water. Health comes first, and it should always be a priority over looking good.