Walking is an excellent form of exercise that can aid weight loss and provide other health benefits.
Still, compared with other forms of exercise, many people don’t view walking as effective or efficient for weight loss.
This article explains whether walking for an hour per day can help you lose weight.
The simplicity of walking makes it an appealing activity for many — particularly those looking to burn extra calories.
The number of calories you burn walking depends on numerous factors, especially your weight and walking speed.
This table estimates the number of calories burned per hour based on the following body weights and walking speeds (1):
For reference, an average walking pace is 3 mph (4.8 kph). The faster you walk and the more you weigh, the more calories you expend.
Other factors that influence the number of calories burned include terrain, outdoor/indoor temperature, and your age and sex (2Trusted Source).
SUMMARYThe number of calories you burn walking depends mainly on your weight and walking speed. Walking faster allows you to burn more calories per hour.
Walking 1 hour each day can help you burn calories and, in turn, lose weight.
In one study, 11 moderate-weight women lost an average of 17 pounds (7.7 kg), or 10% of their initial body weight, after 6 months of brisk daily walking (3Trusted Source).
The women progressively increased their walking duration over the 6 months to reach a maximum of 1 hour per day but experienced little weight loss until they walked at least 30 minutes daily.
This result indicates that the time spent walking may be correlated with weight loss.
Another study noted that women with obesity who walked 3 days per week for 50–70 minutes lost about 6 pounds (2.7 kg) over 12 weeks, compared with women who didn’t walk (4Trusted Source).
Combined with your diet
While walking itself can help you lose weight, it’s much more effective when combined with a calorie-restricted diet.
In a 12-week study, people with obesity restricted calories by 500–800 per day. One group walked 3 hours per week at 3.7 mph (6 kph), while the other group didn’t walk (5Trusted Source).
While both groups lost a significant amount of body weight, those in the walking group lost about 4 pounds (1.8 kg) more, on average, than those who didn’t walk.
Interestingly, weight loss may also be influenced by whether you walk continuously or in shorter bursts.
In a 24-week study, women with excess weight or obesity restricted their calorie intake by 500–600 per day and either walked briskly for 50 minutes per day or did two 25-minute bouts per day (6Trusted Source).
Those who did the two shorter workouts per day lost 3.7 pounds (1.7 kg) more than those who did 50 minutes of continuous walking.
Thus, you should choose whichever routine works best for you.
SUMMARYMultiple studies confirm that walking promotes weight loss, especially when combined with a low calorie diet.
To lose weight, you must consistently eat fewer calories than you expend on a daily basis.
You can either increase the number of calories you burn via exercise like walking, decrease the number of calories you consume, or both.
It’s often stated that 1 pound (0.45 kg) of body weight is equivalent to 3,500 calories. Based on this theory, you would need to reduce your calorie intake by 500 for 7 days to lose 1 pound (0.45 kg) per week.
Although this rule fails to account for people with lower body fat percentages, as well as the decrease in calorie expenditure that comes with weight loss, a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day is appropriate for most people who want to lose weight (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Part of this deficit can be achieved by walking 1 hour per day, while you can also gradually decrease the number of calories you consume.
Depending on your calorie intake, a deficit of 500 calories per day may lead to 0.5–2 pounds (0.2–0.9 kg) of weight loss per week (13Trusted Source).
SUMMARYA 500-calorie deficit per day is sufficient for most people looking to lose weight. You can burn some of these calories by walking an hour per day.
Beyond weight loss, walking has several other benefits, especially when you walk multiple times per week for 30–60 minutes. These health effects include (5Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source):
- decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol
- increased HDL (good) cholesterol
- improved mood
- decreased blood pressure
These benefits translate to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and overall mortality, as well as improved quality of life (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
Moreover, an extra 30 minutes of walking, on top of your normal daily activity, is associated with less weight gain over time. This is noteworthy because adults tend to gain 1.1–2.2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) per year (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).
SUMMARYWalking is associated with several health benefits beyond weight loss, including improved mood and quality of life, as well as a reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Walking is an excellent form of exercise that most people can engage in.
If you want to walk daily for exercise, it’s important to start slowly and progressively increase your duration and intensity.
If you’re just starting, walking fast for a long time can leave you fatigued, sore, and unmotivated.
Instead, start by walking 10–15 minutes per day at a comfortable pace.
From there, you can increase your walking time by 10–15 minutes each week until you reach 1 hour per day, or a different length of time that feels good for you.
After this, if desired, you can work on increasing your walking speed.
SUMMARYIf you’re new to walking as an exercise, it’s important to build up your stamina by progressively increasing the duration and intensity of your walks.
As with any exercise regimen, it’s good to shake things up every so often to keep your routine engaging and challenging. Here are a few tips.
- Modify your route. Walk on bike trails, in a different neighborhood, or at your local mall, or take the route you usually walk in reverse.
- Split up your walking time. If your goal is to walk 60 minutes per day, split this time into two 30-minute walks.
- Change your walking times. If you regularly walk in the morning, try evenings, or vice versa.
- Walk with a partner. Walking with a partner provides accountability and can keep you motivated.
- Listen to an audiobook or podcast. Keep yourself entertained by listening to an audiobook or your favorite podcast.
- Reward yourself. Reward yourself every once in a while with new walking shoes or attire.
As you lose weight, it’s also important to increase your walking intensity. That’s because your body needs fewer calories to perform the same physical activities at a lighter body weight than a heavier one (12Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).
For example, a 150-pound (68-kg) person burns nearly 50 fewer calories per hour walking 3 mph (4.8 kph) than a 180-pound (82-kg) person at the same speed.
While this may seem insignificant, 50 fewer calories per day amounts to 350 fewer calories burned per week.
By increasing your walking intensity, you can burn more calories. Try upping your pace or walking steep hills, uneven terrain, or soft surfaces like sand or grass (26Trusted Source).
Although one of the benefits of walking for exercise is that it doesn’t require any special equipment, walking with handheld weights or a weighted vest can also boost the intensity (27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source).
SUMMARYYou can keep yourself motivated on longer walks by switching up your routine. As you begin to lose weight, increase your walking intensity or duration to avoid stalls in weight loss.
Walking is a great form of exercise, and walking for 1 hour each day may aid weight loss and provide other health benefits.
It’s effective because it helps you increase the number of calories you burn.
At the same time, you’ll need to pay attention to your total calorie intake.
Remember to intensify your walking routine to progress toward your weight loss goal. Shaking up your regimen can also help you stay motivated.