How much weight can you lose walking an hour a day?

You know you can lose weight walking, but how much weight can you actually lose from your daily walks? Weight loss isn’t the only benefit of walking, but it’s a common goal of adding exercise to a daily routine. Walking is fun, sustainable, and doesn’t require fad diets or special equipment to work into your daily life.

When you increase your daily walking routine, you may feel like you’ve earned the right to add back a few sweet treats. Or you may feel the need to add in some pre and post-workout snacks. Though you certainly can eat a bit more if you want to, adding a daily food reward can undo your weight loss progress.

Read on to see just how much weight you can lose by walking an hour a day, plus how adding back a treat can affect your progress.

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Basic Assumptions

Group of women walking with poles for fitness

We can’t cover every possible case of walking, so we need to make assumptions. We’re covering 3 specific cases – 150lb, 180lb, and 250-pound people (68 kg, 81.6 kg, 113.4 kg). Your walking speed may vary, so we’ve included 3 mph and 4 mph walking for each person (4.8 kph, 6.4 kph). If you’re doing interval walking, you can use your average speed for quick calculations.

Adding an extra hour a day of walking is actually pretty intense for most people. Rest days are important to let your body recover and to prevent injuries. Plus most people can get busy, so it’s not reasonable to expect you’ll never miss your step goal. These calculations assume each person walks that extra hour 5 days a week and does their regular routine the other 2 days.

We calculated expected weight loss based on 3,500 calories = 1 pound of fat burned. It works as a general rule, but Pacer’s Coach actually uses a more accurate model that takes into account changes in your weight over time and other factors. As you lose weight, your body is smaller and burns fewer calories. This and other factors can make your weight loss tend to taper off over time.

To see what happens when people walk more and add additional calories, we’re assuming they’re drinking an extra Grande Starbucks Latte – about 190 calories. That’s over and above what they would normally eat for the day. 190 calories are about the same as an energy bar or around 22 peanuts. We assume our walkers are adding these calories all 7 days (not just the exercise days) because a habit of snacking can be hard to break.

How much can our 150-pound walker lose?

Sporty woman walking for fitness

Walking 1-hour a day

We’ll call our 150-pound walker Sally. Sally has added an hour of walking daily, 5 days a week. At 150 pounds, here’s Sally’s approximate calorie burn:

  • Walking @ 3 mph: 230 cal/hour (1150 cal/week)
  • Walking @ 4 mph: 350 cal/hour (1750 cal/week)

To burn a pound of fat, Sally needs to burn around 3,500 calories. By walking this extra hour per week, Sally might lose around:

  • Walking @ 3 mph: 0.3 pounds/week
  • Walking @ 4 mph: 0.5 pounds/week

Or monthly:

  • Walking @ 3 mph: 1.4 pounds/month
  • Walking @ 4 mph: 2.2 pounds/month

Of course, this assumes we keep everything else equal, but even 1-2 pounds can really add up over time.

1 hour a day + a latte

Woman drinking a coffee

Let’s assume Sally adds an extra 190-calorie latte every day (including rest days). That doesn’t sound like much, but those calories can add up over time – especially for a smaller person.

  • An average month of lattes: 5,800 calories

What’s that look like in weight loss terms?

  • Walking @ 3 mph + a latte: 0.25 pounds GAINED a month
  • Walking @ 4 mph + a latte: 0.5 pounds lost a month

That one latte undid all of Sally’s work at 3 mph (and then some)! At 4mph, Sally can still lose weight but she’s giving up 3/4 of her potential weight loss.

That extra hour of walking will do wonders for your health – even if you do end up adding back a sweet treat. But if weight loss is your goal, it goes to show that healthy eating is just as important. Many people don’t stop at that one latte!

How much can a 180-pound walker lose?

Businessman walking outside of his office

Walking 1-hour a day

Our 180-pound walker’s name is Robert. Robert has added an hour of walking on 5 days out of every week. At 180 pounds, Robert burns approximately:

  • Walking @ 3 mph: 270 cal/hour (1350 cal/week)
  • Walking @ 4 mph: 410 cal/hour (2050 cal/week)

Robert needs to shed around 3,500 calories to burn a pound of fat. That extra hour of walking 5 days a week can help him lose:

  • Walking @ 3 mph: 0.4 pounds/week
  • Walking @ 4 mph: 0.6 pounds/week

Or monthly:

  • Walking @ 3 mph: 1.7 pounds/month
  • Walking @ 4 mph: 2.5 pounds/month

Robert is making a real difference in his weight by adding just that walking! He may not actually lose 20 pounds in a year, because as he loses weight and gets smaller his calorie burn will decrease slightly. Even half that – 10 pounds/year would be an amazing achievement!

1 hour a day + a latte

Man drinking a coffee

Robert stops at a coffee shop along his walking route and picks up an extra latte that he normally wouldn’t drink, plus he grabs one on his rest days to stay alert. What effect does this have on his progress?

  • An average month of lattes: 5,800 calories

What’s that look like in weight loss terms?

  • Walking @ 3 mph + latte: 0 pounds lost a month (weight stays the same)
  • Walking @ 4 mph + latte: 0.9 pounds lost a month

Robert burns more calories than Sally due to being larger. He’s not gaining weight under the 3 mph scenario, but he’s not losing any either. Again, that walking will do wonders for his health even if he’s not losing weight. If weight loss is his goal, however, he’ll need to improve his overall eating habits or get more intense. We can see that he can still lose almost a pound a month if by walking faster – that’s assuming he doesn’t add any more calories in addition to that latte!

How much can a 250-pound walker lose?

Heavyset man fitness walking in a park

Walking 1-hour a day

Our 250-pound walker’s name is Ben. Ben adds an hour of walking daily, 5 days a week to his regular routine. At 250 pounds, Ben burns around:

  • Walking @ 3 mph: 400 cal/hour (2000 cal/week)
  • Walking @ 4 mph: 570 cal/hour (2850 cal/week)

Ben needs to burn around 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat. That extra hour of walking 5 days a week can help him lose:

  • Walking @ 3 mph: 0.6 pounds/week
  • Walking @ 4 mph: 0.8 pounds/week

Or monthly:

  • Walking @ 3 mph: 2.5 pounds/month
  • Walking @ 4 mph: 3.5 pounds/month

Adding an extra hour a day at 250 pounds might not be easy, but if Ben could pull it off he can lose some significant weight! As we mentioned earlier, as Ben gets lighter and more fit he’ll find he’s not burning as many calories as when he was larger. Getting fitter and lighter can help him walk faster and longer, however. If he starts at 3 mph, that hour a day might get him fit enough to increase to 4 mph. Even if Ben only loses half as much weight as this model predicts, that’s almost 20 pounds per year just by walking!

1 hour a day + a latte

Men drinking coffee in a cafe

Ben’s walks aren’t easy, so he takes a break midway to grab a latte and take a rest. He’s working hard, so he gives himself a treat on his rest days as well. What effect does this have on his progress?

  • An average month of lattes: 5,800 calories

What’s that look like in weight loss terms?

  • Walking @ 3 mph + latte: 0.8 pounds lost a month
  • Walking @ 4 mph + latte: 1.9 pounds lost a month

Our 250-pound Ben still loses weight walking and hour and adding the latte, but he’s cut his weight loss by 1/2 to 2/3 just through that one treat. Bigger people burn more calories through walking, as they’re moving more mass around. That means their bodies need more fuel. That doesn’t mean making good choices isn’t important, however! If Ben had added a 400-calorie Frappuccino every day instead of his latte, he’d be gaining weight at 3 mph and his weight wouldn’t change at 4 mph!

Ben should also be realistic about how fast he can walk sustainably. If he’s new to walking, overdoing it can lead to overtraining and injury. Even a 3 mph walk can make a big difference in health, fitness and weight loss.

Conclusions:

The important takeaway from this math exercise is that both exercise and what you eat comes into play when looking to lose weight. Imagine if our walkers had made a few healthier food swaps and actually reduced their calories slightly instead of adding on a latte!

An hour a day of walking is actually a pretty intense workout for many people. That’s about 6,000 to 8,000 steps! Even after adding that many steps, it’s easy to eat back all of the calories burned or more. This is one reason that many people feel so frustrated when trying to lose weight.

Our best advice is to get more active, make some small, sustainable changes to eat healthier (like drink less soda) and you’ll find you’re much healthier and feel much better than before. You might even lose more weight than you expect!

If you haven’t downloaded the Pacer app yet, download Pacer now for free (on mobile)! You can also check out our website (mobile or desktop) or follow our blog for more great walking and healthy lifestyle tips.

26 thoughts on “How much weight can you lose walking an hour a day?

      1. Can you send us an in-app feedback message through Me -> Settings (the little gear icon at the top right) -> Support? There’s no way to revert to a previous version, but we’d like to investigate to see what may have happened.

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  1. Hi
    Can you tell me if your normal walking around the house and cleaning counts or is ot only when you go on a walk that the steps are counted towards your goal/weight loss?
    Thank you

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    1. Hi Denyse. If you mean Pacer, we can track your steps as long as you have your phone on you. If you’re talking about weight loss, all of your steps burn calories! The faster you walk, the more calories you burn for 2 reasons. You’re getting more steps in over a given time and your body is working a bit harder. So your house cleaning and walking will definitely burn calories, but maybe not many as you would during a nice brisk walk depending on what you’re doing.

      The examples here are only estimates – your actual calorie burn could be more or less depending on your body type, fitness level, how much you eat etc. If you’re getting a lot of steps in walking around the house though, that’s great! Keep that up and you’ll get healthier before you know it.

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