Written on May 22, 2023 by Theresa Vuskovich, DMD. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
Table of contents
Walking is an effective way to enhance your health and manage your weight.[1-5] If you are on a weight loss journey, walking can help you achieve your weight loss goals. This article explains how walking can lead to weight loss and answers, “How much to walk for weight loss?"
Although hormonal and genetic factors influence weight loss, calorie intake and energy expenditure remain the primary factors that contribute to weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) refers to how many calories your body burns daily based on your basal metabolic rate (BMR), activity level, and the energy required to metabolize food. Physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) measures how much energy you expend during physical activities, including walking. Increasing your TDEE and PAEE by walking can lead to weight loss.
How much to walk for weight loss depends on your TDEE and food intake. Weight loss occurs when you are in an energy deficit. Physical activity is essential for weight loss, but weight loss may also require changing your eating habits. The Mayo Clinic recommends swapping high-calorie foods for lower-calorie choices and reducing portion sizes to reduce calories and lose weight.
The intensity of your walks influences weight loss. Brisk walking at 3 miles per hour (mph) burns more calories and helps with weight loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can use the talk test to determine the intensity of your exercise. When exercising at a moderate intensity, you can talk but not sing. During vigorous activity, you can only say a few words at a time.
The CDC recommends exercising at least 150 minutes a week at a moderate intensity. One option is brisk walking for 30 minutes daily, five days a week. For an individual weighing 154 pounds (lbs), walking for 60 minutes at 3.5 mph burns about 280 calories. A person weighing 154 lbs. can burn approximately 460 calories per hour during a brisk walk at 4.5 mph. During an 18-month weight loss study, 10,000 steps per day led to more significant weight loss when approximately 3,500 steps were moderate-to-vigorous intensity.
People need different amounts of physical activity to maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining your weight may take more than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. How much to walk for weight loss varies from person to person, depending on your unique physical characteristics and dietary habits.
Yes, walking 10,000 steps a day may help you lose weight and maintain your weight loss. Researchers have found that higher step counts are linked to greater weight loss and health benefits.[1,3] Maintaining a healthy diet while walking 10,000 steps daily is also essential for weight loss.
Increased physical activity has countless benefits for your health.[9-11] According to a population-based study of 78,500 individuals, walking up to 10,000 steps daily may reduce mortality, cancer, and cardiovascular disease incidence. Physical activity, including walking, can help[9-11]:
How much to walk for health benefits can vary from person to person. If you have arthritis or have limited physical activity options, walking is a low-impact, convenient method for increasing your daily activity level.
Here are some tips to help you start walking more for weight loss:
Talk to your healthcare provider about your weight and health goals if you are new to physical activity.
Our comprehensive Weight Care+ program pairs online GLP-1 prescriptions with regular clinician care, lab testing, and support for related conditions. With Weight Care+, you can access GLP-1 prescriptions for qualified candidates, regular 1:1 virtual visits with a licensed clinician, quarterly at-home lab tests or supplements, and lifestyle content and support for health conditions. Medications are prescribed based on the clinical judgment of your healthcare provider and are not guaranteed when you join the program. The Weight Care+ program can help you manage weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle.