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Friday, September 13, 2013

How Far Would You Need to Walk to Burn off a Doughnut?

How Far Would you Need to Walk to Burn Off a ...

Walking is the simplest form of exercise.  No special equipment is needed.  You can do it indoors or outdoors.  The amount of calories burned by walking is about 100 calories per mile.  The exact amount of calories burned by walking depends slightly on body weight and walking speed, but is close to 100 calories per mile. 

If you know how many calories are in the food you want to burn off, you can easily calculate how far you would need to walk to burn off a donut, candy bar, hamburger, ice cream cone, etc.  The table below lists some typical junk food items and how far you would need to walk to burn them off.  The table also shows how long this would take at a walking pace of 4 miles per hour.

Food items, walking distance, and time required at 4 mph walking pace
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Table: Food items, walking distance, and time required at 4 mph walking pace

Food Item Calories Distance to walk-miles Time required-minutes
Coke or Pepsi- 16 oz 130 1.3 20
Donut- Duncan, medium 195 2.0 29
Hersheys candy bar 210 2.1 32
Medium Dairy Queen ice cream cone 330 3.3 50
Quarter Pounder with Cheese 520 5.2 78
Value meal: cheeseburger, small soda, small fries 710 7.1 107

For example, the top line of the table shows that if you drink a 16 oz Coke with 130 calories, you would need to walk 1.3 miles to burn it off and this would take 20 minutes at a 4 mile per hour walking pace.  So if you want a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, are you prepared to spend 78 minutes walking 5.2 miles to burn it off?

How Far is it to Walk a Mile to Burn off Calories?

One mile is equivalent to 17.6 football field lengths or about 8 typical city blocks.  This is the distance you need to walk to burn off 100 calories.  Keep this in mind as you are considering ordering a fast food snack!  Fatty foods contain lots of calories and if you eat calorie intense foods, it requires a lot of effort to avoid gaining weight.

How Far to Walk to Burn off X Calories?  How Long Would it Take?

The table below shows how long it takes to burn off calories by walking at various walking paces.  Average human walking speed is about 3 miles per hour.  Measurements of other walking paces show that purposeful walking is about 4 miles per hour.  The fastest most people can walk is about 6 miles per hour- this is almost like running and few people could sustain this pace very long.

Table of walking distance, calories burned, and time required at various walking paces

Table: Walking distance, calories burned, and time required at various walking paces

Time Required- minutes
Distance- miles Calories Burned Leisurely
1 100 20 15 12 10
2 200 40 30 24 20
3 300 60 45 36 30
4 400 80 60 48 40
5 500 100 75 60 50
6 600 120 90 72 60
7 700 140 105 84 70
8 800 160 120 96 80
9 900 180 135 108 90
10 1000 200 150 120 100

You can use the table to see how much walking time and walking distance that extra food will cost you.  For example, if you are thinking about eating a huge meal with 1000 extra calories, you can see from the table that it would cost you 150 minutes to burn it off by walking 10 miles.

How Long Does it Take to Burn off a Pound of Fat by Walking?

Losing a pound of fat requires burning about 3500 calories.  If you burn 500 extra calories per day by walking 5 miles per day, you would lose one pound per week.  From the table above, you can see that burning 500 calories requires walking 75 minutes at purposeful walking pace.  So you would need to walk 75 minutes per day to lose one pound per week, assuming you do not increase your caloric intake.

If you are beginning an exercise program, you will likely not see a steady reduction in your weight at first.  You may gain some muscle mass- which is a good thing.  Muscles burn calories all the time, so you want to increase your muscle mass.  Also, you may hydrate more when you start exercising, so even though you will start loosing fat right away, the scale may not show that you are loosing weight until after a few weeks of increasing your exercise level.

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