Does walking burn more calories than an hour at the gym?

-Jan 28, Hannah Hargrave , Fitness -

Walking is simple, it’s free and it’s fantastic for mind and body, but can it really trump an hour at the gym? We’ve taken a look at the benefits of this easily accessible form of exercise and determines just how fit you can get by putting one foot forward after another. 

Exercise comes in many forms, but often people think you have to go crazy on the treadmill or embark on an insane regime to get results. 

While it’s true that hard work pays off, the simple act of walking can work wonders for you too – you just have to do it right!

Related: Walk your way to inner peace

What are the benefits of walking?

A brisk walk in the fresh air can burn calories and improve your mood. The great outdoors does great things for your mental and physical health and on top of that walking can do the following:

How many calories does walking burn 

For a man or woman weighing between 140-160 pounds this is how many calories you can expect to burn in an hour, walking at the following paces. If you weigh less you will burn a little less and if you weigh more you’ll burn more. 

Walking at a moderate pace (3mph)

60 minutes – 225 calories

Walking at a Fast Pace (4-5 mph)

60 mins – 430 calories

Walking uphill (3.5mph)

60 minutes – 410 calories

Walking upstairs (3mph)

60 minutes – 540 calories 

Walking downhill (2.5mph)

60 minutes – 190 calories

How to get more out of walking

While people often focus on how many steps they’ve done it’s been shown that pace is more important than distance. 

Related: How walking faster can help you live longer

It’s recommended you get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week and a daily power walk can get you there. 

But if you want to challenge yourself a bit more on your walk there are several things you can do, to get even more out of it. 

 – Add weights – whether you carry a couple of small weights in your hands or invest in some which you can attach to your ankles, you can build muscle and add definition to your body.

 – Mix it up – walking on a flat surface, at the same pace can get boring and it’ll stop challenging you. Switching it up by walking uphill, upping the pace, walk up some stairs or add one minute intervals of each. 

 – Add some more moves – a walk doesn’t have to be just a walk. Try walking for a distance then stopping to add some lunges, planks or push ups

 – Challenge yourself – a fitness tracker can ensure you’re pushing yourself just that little bit more with every walk. Even if you’re only competing against yourself you’ll hopefully enjoy the challenge of doing better every time. 

So as you can see, done right, walking can pack a punch when it comes to getting a good workout. It’s not going to burn the calories an hour long spin class will, but compared to a moderate hour-long ride on a stationary bike or a session on an elliptical, it can hold it’s own. 

Related: The ultimate workout for mind, body and soul

If you’re looking for other low impact exercises to change things up too, then yoga or pilates are great as well.

The most important thing that you’re creating an active lifestyle to keep you heath and strong. 

For more exercise inspiration you might like to learn about PIYO – the ultimate workout for any age – and also take this expert’s top tips to squeezing more exercise into your day.

Healthy Beauty 24|7

Sign up to our weekly newsletter