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I’m Walking a Mile a Day: Will I Lose Weight Soon?

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a woman is casually walking_walking a mile a day
David J. Sautter post Reviewer David J. Sautter post Reviewer
Verified by David J. Sautter
NASM Personal Trainer, NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist, ACE Sports Conditioning Specialist, NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist

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For many, exercise can feel like a long and daunting task. If you want to lose weight, experts agree that it’s crucial to find easy and practical activities that you can perform consistently. 

For example, walking a mile a day. 

That seems like an easy task. But is it enough exercise to really help you reach your goal weight? Can it actually influence substantial weight loss?

Walking 1 Mile a Day 101

Let’s walk through everything you want to know about walking a mile per day. 

We’ll include the most frequently asked questions about the health benefits, weight loss effects, and technical questions about time and duration.

To kick things off…

infographics illustrating what walking a mile a day means: time, distance, calories burned

How Long Does It Take to Walk One Mile?

With an average walking pace between 2.5 to 4 mph, it takes an average of 15 to 22 minutes to walk one mile.

Let’s say it takes you less than 18 minutes to walk one mile. Maybe you’ve even completed it faster than someone in the same age and sex group category. That is considered brisk walking, and it counts as cardio exercise. 

How Many Steps Are in One Mile?

Walking one mile is equivalent to 1.6 km and about 2,000 steps. 

According to a recent study, the average American walks around 6,000 to 7,000 steps per day, which equates to 3 to 3.5 miles each day. [1]

How Many Calories Can You Burn Walking One Mile?

Walking at an average pace, a person burns 65 to 130 calories per mile.

The number of calories burned walking one mile varies based on the individual. Height, weight, age, and physical activity are significant factors determining the number of calories a person burns.

How to Count Calories Burned Walking

One of the best ways to calculate calories burned during walking is to look at the metabolic equivalent value.

What is a Metabolic Equivalent?

METs, for short, are a measure of the amount of energy your body uses during physical activity. 

This can be helpful when you’re trying to figure out how active you need to be to reach your fitness goals.  

Every physical activity has a MET value. The higher the MET value, the more calories are burned per hour of that physical activity. 

MET Value for Walking One Mile

For reference, one MET is equivalent to being completely at rest, like when you are sitting and reading a book.

  • The overall MET value for slowly walking at 3 km / 1.86 mph is 3.0 METs.
  • The overall MET value for brisk walking at double the pace above is 5.4 METs. [2]

How to Determine Your MET Value

The fastest way to determine your MET value for walking, or how many calories you burn if you walk one mile a day, is by multiplying your weight in kilograms by the activity’s metabolic equivalent value.

For example: Jessica weighs 59 kg (130 lbs), and she slowly walks one mile each day in around 22 minutes.

As mentioned above, the number of calories Jessica burns per hour is determined by multiplying her weight in kilograms by the activity’s MET.

  • 59.09 x 3.0 = 177 calories burned per hour

Based on the information above, if Jessica is only slowly walking for 22 minutes —how long it takes her to walk a mile —then Jessica would burn about 59 calories.

Naturally, if Jessica walks faster or for a longer duration, she’ll burn more calories than what’s displayed above.

Health Benefits of Walking a Mile a Day

Aside from the calories burned from walking a mile, there are various benefits for your physical and mental health. 

According to the American Heart Association, the benefits of walking a mile a day include the following:

  • Boosts cognitive function
  • Reduces disease risk
  • Lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health
  • Increases energy and stamina
  • Improves quality of life
  • Prevents weight gain [3]

This research even concluded that walking could reduce the risk of cancer and depression. 

Walking a Mile a Day for Weight Loss: Is It Enough?

In general, no. Walking a mile a day is not enough for weight loss if it’s the only lifestyle adjustment you make.  

However, when performed in combination with a caloric deficit diet, then walking could certainly be just what you need to hit your goal weight.

Whether walking a mile a day is enough for weight loss depends on other factors like the person’s current physical activity status, the speed and intensity the person walks at a day, and caloric consumption. 

To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume or consume fewer calories than is required to maintain your weight, also known as a caloric deficit. 

To determine your caloric deficit needs, you must first assess your BMR or the calories required to maintain your weight. 

How to Determine Your BMR

These equations are used to determine an individual’s basal metabolic rate:

  • For Men: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) —5 x Age + 5
  • For Women: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm)  —5 x Age —161 [4]

This equation can be multiplied by an activity factor to determine the actual caloric requirement to maintain weight. 

The activity factor ranges from 1.2 to 1.9, with 1.2 being little to no exercise (sedentary) and 1.9 being very hard training every day. 

Once maintenance caloric needs are determined, subtract 250 to 500 calories to get the maximum number of calories needed to lose weight.

Let’s continue with our example from above.

Jessica, 130 lbs (59.09 kg), 25 years old, 5 ft 5 in (165.1 cm), walks 1 mile/day (22 minutes/day), office job.

  • BMR = (10 x 59.09 kg) + (6.25 x 165.1 cm) —(5 x 25) —161 = 1,336.78 Cal
  • BMR + Activity Factor = 1336.78 Cal + 1.2 = 1,604.13 Cal
  • Caloric Deficit = 1354.13 —1,104.13 Cal to lose weight

Is Walking 1 Mile per Day Enough Exercise?

As you can see, walking 1 mile a day is only 15 to 20 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per day which gives 140 minutes per week. According to the World Health Organization, the bare minimum is 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, and at least 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity is considered optimal.

Consider walking at least 2 miles a day to increase your daily activity level.

Get The Most Out of Walking for Weight Loss

There are many ways to help maximize the results and benefits of walking, particularly for weight loss. 

Increase the Intensity

Some quick and impactful ways of doing so are to increase the overall walking intensity. Intensity can be increased through pace, surface, and time, to name a few. 

For example, try walking up stairs as fast as you can for 2 miles instead of 1 mile on a flat surface at a comfortable pace. 

Combine with Other Activities

You can also combine walking with other activities, such as running in intervals, to get the most out of walking for weight loss. 

Reach for a Higher Goal

Another simple way to get the most out of walking for weight loss is to aim to walk 10 miles a day instead of only one mile. 

As you increase your walking activity, building strong and flexible ankle mobility is also essential.

Walking apps, such as Walkfit, offer walking programs for weight loss and well-being that will cater to your individual needs through recommendations, challenges, and personalized walking plans.

Final Words

As mentioned, combining exercise with a caloric deficit is the best method for losing weight. 

Walking, if performed correctly, can be a great way to lose weight efficiently. However, more than one mile is necessary to reach weight-loss goals. 

  • Walking one mile a day is equivalent to around 15 to 22 minutes and 2,000 steps.
  • Use the equation Weight (Kg) x Activity MET to determine how many calories are burned from exercise per hour.
  • Consider determining your maintenance level for calories using an online calorie calculator or the formula above.
  • Then subtract 250 to 500 calories from that number to determine the caloric deficit needed to see successful weight loss.
  • Approximately 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity is the optimal recommendation for minutes of exercise per week.
  • Increasing your walking intensity or using apps like WalkFit is the best way to get the most out of walking for weight loss.
Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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