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How Long Should You Walk A Day By Age?

Taking a daily stroll through the park isn’t just a pleasant way to pass the time; it’s actually an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Walking has multiple benefits that range from reducing stress levels and promoting heart health to managing weight and toning your muscles.

But when it comes to how long you should walk a day, the answer is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The ideal duration of your walk depends on various factors, including your fitness level, age, and overall health goals.

In this article, we’ll explore

  • How long should you walk a day?
  • Walking Guidelines by Age
  • How Long Should You Walk Each Day for Weight Loss?
  • Is it better to walk faster or longer?
  • How to Make a Walking Habit?

How Long Should You Walk A Day?

Walking is a form of moderate-intensity cardio exercise and one of the simplest, most accessible forms of exercise.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, such as brisk walking, to improve or maintain overall health. To meet the HHS guideline, you should briskly walk for 30 minutes per day, five days a week, to stay healthy.

  • Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a light sweat, being able to carry on a conversation but not sing a song.
  • For walking, moderate-intensity translates to a brisk pace of about 3 to 4 miles per hour.

This 30 minutes brisk walking per day guideline is the minimum threshold to help prevent diseases and maintain health. However, if you want to experience more significant health benefits, you may need to walk more than 30 minutes per day.

For even more health benefits, the guidelines suggest getting 300 minutes a week or more of moderate aerobic activity, which equates to about 60 minutes of Brisk walking per day, five days a week. Walking this much may help with weight loss or keeping off lost weight. 

Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who walked for at least 60 minutes per day had a lower risk of developing heart disease, even if they didn’t engage in any other form of exercise.

But 60 minutes of walking per day may not be feasible for everyone. If you’re short on time or have physical limitations, don’t worry. Even a short walk can provide health benefits. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that just 10 minutes of brisk walking per day can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of premature death.

Walking Guidelines by Age

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides the following recommendations for the amount and type of physical activity needed by age:

How Long Should You Walk A Day By Age

Children (6-17 years)

Children and adolescents aged 6-17 should engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily. While this includes games, sports, and planned exercise, walking to and from school or using playtime for active movement can contribute significantly to this quota. Encouraging a love for walking early in life can set the groundwork for a healthy, active lifestyle in adulthood.

Adults (18-64 years)

For adults, at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or an equivalent combination of both. This approximates to about 30 minutes of brisk walking at least five days a week.

However, for adults who are just starting to incorporate physical activity into their routine, it can be beneficial to start with shorter, less strenuous walks and gradually increase duration and intensity as their fitness improves.

Older Adults (65 years and above)

For older adults, regular physical activity, including walking, is crucial for maintaining mobility and independence, reducing the risk of falls, and managing chronic diseases. The same guidelines apply as for younger adults—150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week. However, the intensity should be adjusted based on the individual’s level of fitness and health status.

For those with mobility issues, even short walks can bring benefits. The key is to stay active and incorporate some form of physical activity into daily routines.

How Long Should You Walk Each Day for Weight Loss?

Weight loss fundamentally boils down to creating a calorie deficit, where you burn more calories than you consume. This can be achieved by reducing caloric intake, increasing physical activity, or, ideally, a combination of both. Walking, being a physical activity, can help increase the number of calories you burn, thereby contributing to a calorie deficit and promoting weight loss.

Walking for Weight Loss

Walking is a form of moderate-intensity cardio exercise. While it may not burn as many calories as high-intensity workouts like running or HIIT, it’s sustainable, less likely to lead to burnout, and easier to fit into your daily routine.

So, how much should you walk for weight loss? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer as it depends on factors like your weight, walking speed, and diet. However, as a starting point, many experts recommend aiming for 10,000 steps per day, which roughly equates to about five miles or 8 kilometers, depending on your stride length.

Assuming a pace of 3.5 miles per hour, this would mean about 1 hour and 25 minutes of walking each day. However, if this seems daunting, start with a smaller goal, like 5,000 steps, and gradually increase. Remember, consistency is key, and it’s better to maintain a manageable routine than to start with an unrealistic goal that leads to burnout.

Combining with Diet

Walking alone may only produce modest weight loss over time. For better results, pair walking with a calorie-reduced diet.

Most weight loss experts recommend creating a calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day through diet and exercise. Walking can help provide a deficit of 200 to 400 calories daily, leaving the remainder to dietary changes.

A 500 to 1,000 calorie deficit typically results in 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week. This slow and steady rate is ideal for safe and sustainable fat loss.

How many calories burn from walking?

Pace and Incline

The pace and incline at which you walk make a difference in how many calories you burn. Walking faster at a brisk pace or on an incline burns more calories than a leisurely stroll.

For example, a person weighing 200 pounds burns about:

  • 140 calories walking 3.5 miles per hour on flat ground for 30 minutes
  • 175 calories walking 3.5 mph with a 5% incline for 30 minutes
  • 210 calories walking 4 mph with a 5% incline for 30 minutes

So adding incline or picking up the pace can help boost calorie burn and maximize weight loss from walking. Aim for at least a moderate pace of 3 to 4 mph.

Current Weight

Your current weight also impacts how long you should walk daily. Heavier people burn more calories during the same amount of activity compared to lighter individuals.

As a guideline, walking briskly for:

  • 30 minutes burns about 100 calories for a 125-pound person
  • 45 minutes burns around 150 calories for a 175-pound person
  • 60 minutes burns about 200 calories for a 225-pound person

Is it better to walk faster or longer?

The benefits of walking, whether fast or long, can depend on your fitness goals, current health status, and personal preferences.

Walking Faster:

If your goal is to improve cardiovascular fitness, walking at a brisk pace might be more effective. Fast walking can increase your heart rate, improve lung capacity, and can potentially burn more calories in a shorter period of time. It’s also been associated with lowering the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Walking Longer:

Walking for longer periods can be beneficial if your aim is endurance training, and weight management or if you’re just seeking the mental health benefits of a leisurely walk. This type of exercise also burns calories but over a longer period of time. Additionally, it’s a great way to improve muscle endurance and joint health.

Balance is Key:

In general, a balanced approach often works best. A mix of both brisk and longer walks can provide a comprehensive workout regimen, combining the benefits of cardiovascular training and endurance building.

Remember, before you start any new exercise program, it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions or haven’t been active for a while.

How to Make a Walking Habit?

Developing a walking habit can be a wonderful way to improve your overall health and fitness. Here are some steps to get you started:

1. Set Clear Goals:

It’s easier to stick to a new habit when you have clear objectives. Your goal could be as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day or could be distance-based, like aiming to walk a certain number of miles per week.

2. Start Slow:

If you’re new to walking, start with a manageable amount, maybe 10 to 15 minutes a day. Gradually increase your walking time as your endurance improves.

3. Make a Schedule:

Consistency is key in forming a new habit. Try to walk at the same time each day. Many people find that walking in the morning can be a great way to start the day, but choose a time that works best for you.

4. Find a Walking Buddy:

Having a friend to walk with can make the activity more enjoyable and motivating. It also adds an element of accountability.

5. Mix it Up:

Walking the same route every day can become monotonous. Try varying your routes and include different terrains or inclines to keep it interesting and challenging.

6. Use Tools to Track your Progress:

Apps, pedometers, or fitness watches can help you track your steps, distance, and time. This can motivate you to push yourself further and reach your goals.

7. Make it Fun:

Listen to your favorite music, podcasts, or audiobooks while walking. This can make your walks more enjoyable and something to look forward to.

8. Celebrate your Success:

When you reach a goal, whether it’s walking consistently for a week, a month, or reaching a distance goal, celebrate your accomplishment. This reinforces your new habit and motivates you to keep going.

Remember, the most important thing is to listen to your body. Start slowly and increase your pace and distance gradually as your fitness improves. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new fitness program.


Just as no two people are the same, an optimal walking pace and length of time varies for each individual. However, it is generally recommended to aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of brisk daily walking, with the potential to reap even greater health benefits from integrating longer walks into your routine. Remember that you don’t need to walk non-stop; breaking up your walk into shorter segments spread out over the day can be just as beneficial. Whatever your chosen pace, get moving and make walking your own personal journey toward better health and well-being.

Written by

Jennifer Lewis