Aim for 30 to 60 minutes, as quickly as you reasonably can.

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A reader recently observed that they never lose weight with merely walking. As a cancer specialist, I often recommend that my patients aim for one hundred and fifty minutes per week of the equivalent of a brisk walk. For example, try to do a minimum of thirty minutes daily, five days per week (with minimum ten-minute intervals) if achievable. This approach leads to a lower probability of getting several cancers and a myriad of other health benefits.

Today, I want to chat with you about whether hitting the treadmill (or better yet, walking outdoors) can facilitate weight loss. We begin with a look at various intensities of walking and the number of calories burned, before offering a response to the reader’s observation about treadmill use and weight loss.

Walk to Burn More Than 120 Calories in 30 Minutes

Walking at a reasonable 3.5 miles per hour pace burns about 120 calories in thirty minutes, at least for a one hundred and twenty-five-pound person. A heavier individual will burn more calories; for example, a one hundred and eighty-five-pound person will burn one hundred and seventy-eight calories doing the same activity. This will not add up to significant weight loss; however, burning one hundred and twenty calories leads to a loss of about half an ounce of fat. In comparison, one hundred and seventy-eight calories are the equivalents of approximately 0.8 ounces.

Exert a Bit More to Burn Even More Calories

I work out on a treadmill as a warm-up before weight training and aerobic activity. I use one approach to burn calories by alternating walking (at various inclines) and running flat out for thirty to forty-five seconds. If you walk on a treadmill at a brisk 4.5 miles per hour, you will burn approximately one hundred and fifty calories if you weigh in at one hundred and twenty-five pounds. For a one hundred and eighty-five pound person, this means two hundred and twenty-two calories. I grant this a not a significant burn of fat but represents about 0.6 ounces for that lighted individual, and one ounce for the heavier ones.

Photo by Andy Beales on Unsplash


So much for walking. What if you picked up the pace and ran? You really can burn quite a few calories. On some days, I walk for thirty minutes on the treadmill, aiming for five miles per hour. Achievable for me, but a bit challenging in my late fifties. If you one hundred and twenty-five-pound individual, you may burn two hundred and forty calories in this fashion. A one hundred and eighty-five-pound individual can use seven hundred and thirty-three calories, or a weight loss of approximately 3.4 ounces.

That same lighter person who runs at ten miles per hour for thirty minutes (I can assure you that I am not that person) will burn nearly five hundred calories, and lose approximately 2.25 ounces. The heavier individual can burn just over seven hundred and thirty-three calories, losing 3.4 ounces.

You Can Lose Weight by Walking (But Pair It With a Good Diet)

Mix that brisk walking (with an occasional elevation of the treadmill, if you are on one) with subtracting some calories via diet. As we approach the new year, you know what you need to do. You can lose weight via walking, but you will likely need to integrate your caloric intake, too. Consistency, of course, is the other key element, but I genuinely believe that if you wish to optimize your weight, you will do well to consider walking as fast as is reasonable for you.

Thank you for joining me today. Is walking for fitness a part of your daily routine?


breast cancer and black race — understandcancerin60minutes.

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I have degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Penn. I am a radiation oncologist in the Seattle area. You may find me regularly posting at

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