fbpx

Walking An Hour A Day: Here Are The 8 Incredible Health Benefits

Improve your health by getting out there and walking!

Regarding exercise, running gets a lot of attention, and runners are usually enthusiastic missionaries of the sport. And while running is a fantastic workout, not everyone can run or enjoys running. 

Whether you have joint, bone, or muscle issues, other acute or chronic health conditions, or simply don’t find running to be a form of exercise that appeals to you, you might find that walking can be a much more attractive and safe workout for you.

Walking an hour a day is a great workout and affords many physical and mental health benefits. Whether you choose to walk alone and enjoy some “me time,” or join a walking group to socialize with, walking will be a healthy addition to your daily routine.

In this guide, we will look at the benefits of walking an hour a day, answer questions such as, can you lose weight by walking an hour a day, and discuss how walking an hour a day can support your fitness and health goals.

Let’s get started!

A close-up of a person's sneakers while walking.

What Are The Health Benefits of Walking An Hour a Day?

Spending 60 minutes walking every day can sound like a big investment of time, but there are many benefits of walking an hour a day, including the following:

#1: Walking An Hour A Day Gives You A Great Fitness Base

If you walk an hour every day, you’ll be covering a distance of 3 to 4 miles or more, depending on how fast you walk. 

Adding daily walks to your routine for a month or more will build a solid aerobic base and improve your fitness level.

This means that you will have a certain degree of cardiovascular fitness that will enable you to do other forms of cardio exercise at a similar level of intensity without being completely winded.

For example, if a neighbor suddenly asks you to join her at a 5k charity walk over the weekend, you can hop in with them at the last minute and be able to complete the walk.

Or, if your knee is sore and you want to take a day off from your daily routine of walking, you can probably handle a moderate-intensity 30-minute workout on a stationary bike without feeling out of breath.

An hour of walking a day builds your stamina, conditions your heart and lungs, and strengthens your leg muscles so that you have a good foundation to handle physical activity.

People walking their dog on a river bank.

#2: Walking An Hour A Day Increases Your Aerobic Capacity

The results from a large review of 32 studies1Object, object. (n.d.). The effect of walking on risk factors for cardiovascular disease: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials. Core.ac.uk. https://core.ac.uk/reader/185482381?utm_source=linkout investigating the effects of walking on cardiovascular disease risk factors showed that walking 20-60 minutes per day for 2-7 days per week for a mean of 18 weeks increased aerobic capacity (VO2 max) by 3.04 mL/kg/min.

#3: Walking An Hour A Day Strengthens Your Muscles

Walking uses your hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, and core to varying degrees, depending on the incline and speed at which you are walking. Walking uphill primarily targets the hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

Actively pumping your arms will recruit additional muscles and make your walks a total-body workout.

#4: Walking An Hour A Day Improves Markers Of Health

Walking is a form of aerobic exercise, which has been found to confer quite a few health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure, lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increasing insulin sensitivity, and reducing blood sugar levels.

For example, studies have found that walking interventions (20-60 minutes per day 2-7 days per week for a mean of 18 weeks) reduced systolic blood pressure (-3.58 mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (-1.54 mm Hg).2Object, object. (n.d.). The effect of walking on risk factors for cardiovascular disease: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials. Core.ac.uk. https://core.ac.uk/reader/185482381?utm_source=linkout

‌In this way, regular walking for an hour a day can reduce your risk of various lifestyle diseases, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), and improve overall health and wellness.

A group of people used to walking an hour a day.

#5: Walking An Hour A Day Can Help Maintain A Healthy Weight

Many ask, can I lose weight by walking 1 hour everyday? Physical activity like walking an hour a day will burn calories so it can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

To lose one pound of stored body fat, you have to create a caloric deficit of roughly 3,500 calories. Therefore, to lose one pound of fat per week, you need to create a daily caloric deficit of 500 calories per day. 

A 500-calorie per day deficit can be generated by consuming fewer calories, burning more calories, or a combination of both. 

Walking an hour a day factors into the calories you burn and can contribute to weight loss.

A review of 32 studies found that walking interventions (20-60 minutes per day 2-7 days per week for a mean of 18 weeks) reduced waist circumference (-1.51 cm), weight (-1.37 kg), body fat percentage (-1.22%) and body mass index (-0.53 kg/m2).

Two people holding hands walking on the beach.

#6: Walking An Hour Day Can Reduce Your Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease And Mortality

According to the CDC, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week to reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases.3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 2). How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

‌So, is 1 hour of walking a day enough? More than enough according to the CDC.

Walking an hour a day 3 days per week will help you surpass these recommendations. The more you can move your body, the better. 

In addition to cardio, the CDC also recommends two strength training sessions per week. This would be a great addition to your walking routine.

Another review of 17 prospective studies involving over 30,000 adults demonstrated a significant association between daily step count and reduced risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease.4Hall, K. S., Hyde, E. T., Bassett, D. R., Carlson, S. A., Carnethon, M. R., Ekelund, U., Evenson, K. R., Galuska, D. A., Kraus, W. E., Lee, I-Min., Matthews, C. E., Omura, J. D., Paluch, A. E., Thomas, W. I., & Fulton, J. E. (2020). Systematic review of the prospective association of daily step counts with risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease, and dysglycemia. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-020-00978-9

‌Each 1,000 daily step count increase at baseline reduced the risk of all-cause mortality by 6-36% and cardiovascular disease by 5-21% at follow-up 4-10 years later for mortality and 6 months to 6 years later for cardiovascular disease. 

An older prospective study found that walking more than 4 hours per week was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of heart disease (hospitilization) compared with walking less than 1 hour per week.5LaCroix, A. Z., Leveille, S. G., Hecht, J. A., Grothaus, L. C., & Wagner, E. H. (1996). Does Walking Decrease the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Hospitalizations and Death in Older Adults? Journal of the American Geriatrics Society44(2), 113–120. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.1996.tb02425.x

A person walking their dog.

#7: Walking An Hour A Day Can Reduce Chronic Pain

If you suffer from chronic low back pain, osteoarthritis in your knees or hips, or have some other form of localized or generalized musculoskeletal pain, walking an hour a day may help alleviate your discomfort as it is a low-impact form of exercise.

A review of 26 studies found that walking can reduce the severity, discomfort, and functional limitations associated with chronic musculoskeletal pain.6O’Connor, S. R., Tully, M. A., Ryan, B., Bleakley, C. M., Baxter, G. D., Bradley, J. M., & McDonough, S. M. (2015). Walking Exercise for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation96(4), 724-734.e3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2014.12.003

#8: Walking An Hour A Day Is Good For Your Mental Health

In addition to the numerous physical health benefits of walking, walking an hour a day is wonderful for your mental health. Studies have found that walking regularly is associated with better emotional health compared to infrequent walking.7Zhu, Z., Chen, H., Ma, J., He, Y., Chen, J., & Sun, J. (2020). Exploring the Relationship between Walking and Emotional Health in China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health17(23), 8804. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17238804

‌Walking, like all forms of exercise, can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood and overall feelings of wellbeing, and can improve cognitive function.

Walking can increase your focus, energy, executive functioning, and may even improve your memory and creativity.

Moreover, you can use your 60-minute walls as a time to unplug from screens and technology and give your brain a much-needed break from the stresses of life.

Footsteps on the sand of a beach.

How Many Calories Can You Burn By Walking For an Hour Each Day?

The number of calories you will burn depends on a number of factors including, your body weight and composition, your walking speed, the distance you cover, the terrain, incline, and whether you carry any extra weight (for example, a backpack or weighted vest). 

The more you weigh, the faster and further you walk, and the steeper the incline, the more calories you will burn on your walk. With that said, there are ways to estimate the number of calories you burn walking an hour a day. 

The Compendium of Physical Activities reports that walking at a leisurely pace of 2.8-3.2 mph on a level surface is equivalent to 3.5 METs.

Walking at a pace of 3.5 mph on a level surface is 4.3 METs, while brisk walking at a pace of 4.0 mph on a level surface is rated at 5 METs, and finally, walking at a very brisk pace of 4.5 mph is 7 METs.82011 Compendium of Physical Activities. (n.d.). https://download.lww.com/wolterskluwer_vitalstream_com/PermaLink/MSS/A/MSS_43_8_2011_06_13_AINSWORTH_202093_SDC1.pdf

The faster you walk, the higher your heart rate will climb, getting in an even more intense workout.

Adding an incline greatly increases the caloric burn. For example, walking 2.9–3.5 mph uphill at a 1 to 5% grade is roughly 5.3 METs, and maintaining that pace while attacking a 6 to 15% grade bumps the metabolic demand up to 8 METs.

A close-up of a person's sneakers while walking.

Using these METs values, you can calculate the number of calories burned walking an hour at various speeds and weights using the following equation to determine energy expenditure:

Calories Burned Per Minute = METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 

Then, if you are walking one hour a day, this calculated value is multiplied by 60 (because there are 60 minutes in an hour).

Below, we’ve created a chart that uses these METs, values for various walking speeds, and conditions to calculate the approximate number of calories burned walking an hour for different body weights. 

You can use this table to get a rough idea of approximately how many calories you will burn.


Weight (lbs)
Weight (kg)Calories Burned Walking 2.8-3.2 mph
60 Min
Calories Burned Walking 3.5 mph 60 MinCalories Burned Walking 4.0 mph 60 MinCalories Burned Walking 4.5 mph 60 MinCalories Burned Walking 2.9–3.5 mph at 1-5% grade 60 MinCalories Burned Walking 2.9–3.5 mph at 6-15% grade
60 Min
9040.9150185215301228344
10045.5167205239334253382
11050.0184226263368278420
12054.5200246286401304458
13059.1217267310434329496
14063.6234287334468354535
15068.2251308358501379573
16072.7267328382535405611
17077.3284349406568430649
18081.8301369430601455687
19086.4317390453635481725
20090.9334410477668506764
21095.5351431501702531802
220100.0368452525735557840
230104.5384472549768582878
240109.1401493573802607916
250113.6418513597835632955
260118.2434534620869658993
270122.74515546449026831031
280127.34685756689357081069
290131.84845956929697341107
300136.450161671610027591145
310140.951863674010367841184
320145.553565776410698091222
330150.055167778811038351260
340154.556869881111368601298
350159.158571883511698851336

Harvard Health Publishing reports that 30 minutes of walking at a moderate pace of 3.5 miles per hour (17 minutes per mile) burns about 107 calories for a 125-pound person, 133 calories for a 155-pound person, and 159 calories for an 185-pound person.9Harvard Health Publishing. (2021, March 8). Calories burned in 30 minutes of leisure and routine activities. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/calories-burned-in-30-minutes-for-people-of-three-different-weights

‌Therefore, walking an hour at 3.5 mph will burn approximately 214 calories for a 125-pound person, 266 calories for a 155-pound person, and 318 calories for an 185-pound person. 

Walking at a brisk pace of 4.0 miles per hour (15 minutes per mile) for 30 minutes burns about 135 calories for a 125-pound person, 175 calories for a 155-pound person, and 189 calories for an 185-pound person.

Therefore, walking an hour at 4.0 mph will burn approximately 270 calories for a 125-pound person, 350 calories for a 155-pound person, and 378 calories for an 185-pound person.

These numbers are somewhat lower than those predicted with the METs equations; however, this just goes to show you that the energy expenditure values are ballparks. The number of calories you burn walking an hour will really depend on your unique combination of factors.

That said, burning calories is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of walking, so lace up those walking shoes and get out there!

So, how can you start a walking routine for weight loss or health in general?

We have just the thing for you. To get started walking today and reach your fitness goals, try our Walking a 5k Training Plan:

A person walking on the beach at sunset.

References

Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

1 thought on “Walking An Hour A Day: Here Are The 8 Incredible Health Benefits”

  1. The Shocking Discovery of Walking Method

    For a few months, I struggled with leg cramping happening in the night. There is a small hill behind my backyard. The round length of this hill is about 225 paces from my foot. And the top of this hill has a small yard for the size of five car parking spaces. A lot of bushes and thorns cover this small hill, so one may find rattlesnakes and coyotes, rabbits, and many squirrels hanging around.

    I developed this hill as my walking weekend path. When I walk down this hill, for the safety, I put a metal booth and Razer Gaiters on my feet to protect myself from the snake bites. And I carry my spear all the time on this hill. This pair of booths and Gaiters weigh 4 lbs 10 ounces. In March early, I started walking down on this slope hill while lightly throwing my foot forward. I call it Foot Throw Walk = FuthWalk. This FuthWalk moves forward only a half pace. To the bottom of this hill, I paced about 160-170 half steps by throwing feet. Then, I climbed up 110 steps. On that day, I did 10 laps up and down the hill. On that night’s sleep, leg cramp starts. But moving my tows and foot somehow stopped cramping. In the morning, I understood FuthWalk did something good to stop cramping.

    After breakfast, I walked down this slope hill while throwing each foot added with an additional weight of 2 lbs 5 ounces of extra weight. On this date, I finished 15 laps of throwing foot into the air and then climbing up the slope hill. The total steps increased up to 3,300 steps. On this night, no cramping attacked my leg anymore. I asked why not cramping. In reality, the moment of throwing foot into the air is the shortest duration of the split second. The duration of a weightless moment of the three joints (ankle joint, knee joint, hip joint) from gravity and BMI is trivial. But consider the number of throwing a foot. The 1200 times (each lap, 160 times by 15 laps) of each foot throwing into the air somehow influenced three joints and a foot structure wider so that I did not have leg cramps any more.

    While throwing a foot into the air, I have been released from various muscle pulling and light aches from 3 joints and a leg. It has been almost 3 months. I never skipped a day without throwing foot down this slope hill. I climb up the hill a little faster. It takes me an exact hour long to complete 15 laps. And I came inside with sweat a lot. I have to change clothes and take a shower. I am 77. Now, I know how I could get into 80 soon. FuthWalk carries me into eighty years. Hesperia city is beautiful. It has clean air, clean water, and an amazing night sky!

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.