How Many Calories Are Burned Walking? Certified Nutrition and Fitness Experts Explain

Walking is a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and your overall health. If you’re also trying to lose weight, you may wonder how many calories you can realistically burn during a walk, whether outside or on your favorite treadmill.

I talked with two fitness experts — Erin Beck, certified personal trainer (CPT) and director of training for STRIDE Fitness, and Calum Fraser, physiotherapist and CEO of Advantage Healthcare & Physiotherapy — to create this guide to calories burned walking. Ahead, you’ll learn about the concept of calories and average caloric burn while walking, as well as various factors that can make significant differences in your personal calorie burn. 

What Is a Calorie?

A calorie is a measure of energy expenditure. Though the concept of calories can feel confusing, it’s really quite simple, Fraser explains. 

“Think of a calorie as a tiny packet of energy. When we talk about calories concerning what we eat and how we move, we’re just chatting about the energy our bodies take in or use up,” he says. “We measure this energy in terms of a unit known as a kilocalorie, which is commonly referred to as just a ‘calorie.’”

[Read More: Does Cardio Burn Fat? The Anatomy of a Fitness Myth]

So, the number of calories a food has — or the number of calories a given activity burns — is simply a measure of how much energy the food provides or how much energy the activity uses.

Calorie Calculator

Though it’s not safe for everyone to count calories — for example, those who are in recovery from disordered eating habits — some people may find it helpful

A calorie calculator is a helpful tool that can help you understand the amount of calories you burn each day based on your basal metabolic rate or BMR (how much energy you use each day at rest) and your physical activity level. 

If you want to change your body composition or lose weight, BarBend’s calorie calculator can help you do the math you need. 

Calorie Calculator





Activity Level

BMR estimation formula


Your daily calorie needs: Calories Per Day

Daily calorie needs based on goal

Calories Per Day


Fat Loss

Extreme Fat Loss

Exercise: 15-30 minutes of elevated heart rate activity.
Intense exercise: 45-120 minutes of elevated heart rate activity.
Very intense exercise: 2+ hours of elevated heart rate activity.

[Read More: The Best BMR Calculator for Fat Loss and Muscle Gain]

How Many Calories Does Walking Burn?

How many calories a person burns by walking depends on many factors — more than you might think. Generally, walking at a moderate pace for an hour can burn around 200 to 300 calories, Fraser says, based on the MET value of walking. But, Fraser emphasizes, this is a broad average, and the actual number can fluctuate dramatically.

(A MET is a metabolic equivalent. Like a calorie, a MET is a measure of energy. One MET is defined as the amount of energy you use when you’re doing nothing.) 

[Read More: 10 Science-Backed Benefits of Walking for Strength Athletes]

According to the Compendium of Physical Activity, walking at a pace of 2.5 miles per hour on a firm, hard surface like concrete has a MET value of 2.5. That means you’ll burn 2.5 times more calories doing it than you would at complete rest. 

The intensity of your walk, variation in terrain, the ambient temperature and humidity, and the distance you walk all influence how your body burns calories during a walking workout. Age, sex assigned at birth, body weight, height, and body composition also impact calorie burn while walking. 

Factors That Impact Calories Burned During a Walk

Here’s a look at how various factors can influence the number of calories you burn while walking.

Age: Metabolism tends to slow with age, so older adults may burn fewer calories on the same walk as younger individuals. Muscle mass plays a big role in overall calorie burn, so an older adult with ample muscle tissue may burn more calories than someone the same age with less muscle mass. (1)(2)

Gender: Individuals assigned male at birth generally burn more calories during all forms of exercise, because they typically have a greater body size and more muscle mass than people assigned female at birth. Hormone levels make a difference, too, for people of all genders. (3)

Body Weight: Larger bodies require more energy for movement. A 160-pound person walking at the same speed and effort level as a 130-pound person will burn more calories in the same amount of time, simply because they weigh more. Body composition, or the ratio of fat mass to muscle mass an individual has, further influences calorie burn while walking. 

Effort Level: Walking speed makes a significant difference in calorie burn throughout your walk. A leisurely pace burns fewer calories, while a brisk pace burns more. Effort level is relative, so Beck recommends tuning into your heart rate to understand your workout intensity. In general, a higher heart rate during exercise correlates to higher intensity, thus greater calorie burn, she says. That said, it’s important not to push yourself too hard all the time, to avoid making yourself more susceptible to injury or burnout. 

Distance: The further you walk, the more calories you will burn, as walking time and step count increase.

Terrain: Terrain can significantly impact the calories you burn, Fraser says. “When you’re trekking uphill or navigating an inclined surface, you typically burn more calories compared to walking on a level path,” he says. “This is because ascending requires extra effort to lift your body against gravity. Likewise, tackling softer terrain (like sand) demands increased energy, as your muscles need to labor harder to maintain stability, resulting in a higher calorie burn.”

Temperature: Walking at sea level in 70-degree weather is a whole lot different than walking in 100-plus-degree temperatures in high humidity or at high altitudes in cold weather. Fraser points out that cold environments and higher altitudes can stimulate increased caloric burn as your body works harder to maintain body temperature and oxygen supply. Beck reminds us that in hot, humid weather, your body will struggle to cool down and use more energy trying to maintain a safe body temperature.

Physiological Adaptation: One factor that many people don’t think about is how the body adapts to exercise, particularly cardiovascular exercise like walking. Though the health benefits of walking remain constant, you may find that weight loss or body fat loss stalls as you become more experienced. 

[Read More: How to Burn Fat for Weight Loss and More Definition]

“Chronic walking exercise does indeed make your body more efficient at calorie burning,” Fraser says. “The more acquainted your body becomes with an activity, the more efficient it gets at performing that activity, often requiring fewer calories to perform the same task. This is partly due to an increase in mitochondrial density, potentially leading to an improved metabolic rate.”

Calories Burned During a Walk?

Despite all of the above nuance, we can still make some strong estimates regarding how many calories you may burn while walking. The ranges provided below are based off of the MET values in the 2024 Compendium of Physical Activity. The MET values are based on the relative energy expenditure of the average person. (4

[Read More: How Many Calories Do You Need Post-Workout? (Brought to You by Ample)]

Additionally, all of these estimates assume that you are walking on a firm, flat surface with no external weight. You can safely assume that you’ll burn more calories if you weigh more than the American average for your birth-assigned gender, are walking up and down hills, are walking on a soft surface, or are carrying any sort of external load, like a backpack. 

Strolling Pace: A slow, leisurely walking pace (about 2.0 miles per hour) burns about 60 calories per mile.

Moderate Pace: Walking at a moderate intensity (about 2.8 miles per hour) burns about 80 calories per mile.

Fast Walk: Brisk walking (about 3.5 miles per hour) burns the most calories, comparatively. You can expect to burn about 95 calories per mile. 

How to Burn More Calories While Walking

If you’re interested in losing weight, you may be wondering how to burn more calories while walking. Those interested in improving their fitness level while sticking to low-impact exercise may also be curious about making their walks more intense. You’ll be pleased to find out that there are several ways to make your daily steps more effective for these purposes.

Even if you are trying to lose weight, it’s important to eat enough calories each day to support your physical activity and energy levels. Cross-training, such as strength training exercises, can help with weight management, injury prevention, and overall wellness, too. 

Incline Walking 

Walking uphill is one of the best exercises you can do for your lower body strength and muscular endurance, as well as your cardiovascular endurance. According to the Compendium of Physical Activity, climbing hills — even without any weight and at a slow pace — significantly increases calorie burn.

Walk With a Pack 

Adding weight can increase your calorie burn, too. Try wearing a weighted vest, rucksack, or simply a backpack with water bottles in it. Even on a flat, firm surface, adding an external load will increase calorie burn at any pace.

Increase Walking Speed 

Simply walking faster is a good way to burn more calories while walking. You can use a fitness tracker to monitor your progress over time and ensure you’re progressing your speed. Remember that different terrain and temperatures affect walking speed, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t maintain the same speed every day. 

Walk on the Beach 

Walking on the beach can be a great workout. Beck says, “The movement of the sand makes the ground much less stable, and any time you’re training in an unstable environment, you force your body to work harder. The firmer the sand is, the more stable it is, thus challenging your muscles and nervous system less. In contrast, less firm sand will move much more and create a more unstable surface.”

[Read More: Calories In, Calories Out; Myth or Truth for Weight Loss?]

If you don’t have easy access to a sandy waterfront, you can also try walking on soft dirt trails or grassy areas.

Walking Interval Workouts 

Interval workouts involve periods of higher effort followed by periods of lower effort or complete rest. Incorporating intervals into your walks can help you burn more calories in the same amount of time, or less time, by increasing your overall effort level. For examples of walking workouts that tap into the aerobic and anaerobic systems, take a look at our guide to the best treadmill walking workouts

Frequently Asked Questions

How many calories does a 30-minute walk burn? 

Walking for 30 minutes burns, on average, 100 to 200 calories at a moderately intense pace. Age, walking speed, body weight, terrain, and temperature affect this range. 

How many calories does walking 10,000 steps burn?

Walking 10,000 steps per day is a common fitness goal. But the number of steps you take per day isn’t the only factor in calorie burn. Walking 10,000 steps all in one go (roughly five miles if you have a stride length of about 2.5 feet) at a brisk pace will burn far more calories than a total of 10,000 “normal” steps (as in, to and from work, around the house, etc.) will burn. A five-mile walk can burn a couple hundred to several hundred calories, depending on pace, terrain, body weight, and other factors. 

Does walking burn belly fat?

Walking does not directly burn belly fat; no type of exercise does. However, walking more can help you create a calorie deficit — AKA, burning more calories than you consume — which can result in fat loss over time. 

Editor’s Note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. When starting a new training regimen and/or diet, it is always a good idea to consult with a trusted medical professional. We are not a medical resource. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. They are not substitutes for consulting a qualified medical professional.


Palmer AK, Jensen MD. Metabolic changes in aging humans: current evidence and therapeutic strategies. J Clin Invest. 2022;132(16):e158451.

Kim G, Kim JH. Impact of Skeletal Muscle Mass on Metabolic Health. Endocrinol Metab (Seoul). 2020;35(1):1-6.

Varlamov O, Bethea CL, Roberts CT Jr. Sex-specific differences in lipid and glucose metabolism. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2015;5:241

Herrmann SD, Willis EA, Ainsworth BE, et al. 2024 Adult Compendium of Physical Activities: A third update of the energy costs of human activities. J Sport Health Sci. 2024;13(1):6-12.

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