This is the Most Effective Walking Pace For Torching Calories

Cassie Shortsleeve
by Cassie Shortsleeve
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This is the Most Effective Walking Pace For Torching Calories

A brisk walk can count toward the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week and help you burn more calories. But beyond ballparking your speed — asking: Am I kind of breathless? Am I moving faster than a leisurely stroll? — how do you really know if you’re walking at what’s considered a ‘brisk’ pace?

Although the CDC says ‘brisk walking’ is movement that calls for heavy breathing, many times, exercise intensity is actually defined by more complicated figures such as how much oxygen we consume per kilogram of body weight per minute — a number that isn’t easily calculated by the average person, says Catrine Tudor-Locke, PhD, a walking behavior researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

THE LATEST RESEARCH

Tudor-Locke led a new review of research published in the BMJ that identified a more understandable threshold. After reviewing studies on the topic, researchers found that a cadence of about 100 steps a minute indicated a moderately intense brisk walk. “It’s a good way to communicate a general guideline,” Tudor-Locke says.

Of course, you don’t need to be at exactly 100 — some people might be at 96, others 103 — but just about 100 steps a minute constitutes a brisk walk, the research suggests. That figure holds regardless of age, fitness or athletic ability, she says.

HOW TO TRACK CADENCE

The next time you’re on a walk, take 15 seconds to mentally count how many steps you take, then multiply that number by 4 to get your step count per minute, says Tudor-Locke.

“Most people naturally walk at a higher rate than 100. It’s fairly easy to get to that value,” she adds. If you want to up your pace, more preliminary research suggests walking becomes “vigorous” around 130 steps a minute and jogging starts around 140 steps a minute, Tudor-Locke says.

About the Author

Cassie Shortsleeve
Cassie Shortsleeve

Cassie Shortsleeve is a Boston-based freelance writer and editor. She has worked on staff at both Shape and Men’s Health and contributes regularly to a slew of national print and digital publications such as Women’s Health, Condé Nast Traveler, and Furthermore for Equinox. With a degree in English and creative writing from the College of the Holy Cross, she has a passion for reporting on all things health, lifestyle, and travel.

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13 responses to “This is the Most Effective Walking Pace For Torching Calories”

  1. Homer says:

    So if I measure my average step length in feet
    Multiply by 100 steps per minute gives target feet per minute
    Multiply by 60 gives me target feet per hour
    Divide by 5280 gives me miles per hour
    Then set my treadmill !

    SL * 100 * 60 / 5280 = MPH
    SL * 1.136 = MPH
    2 * 1.136 = 2.3
    2.2 * 1.136 = 2.5
    2.4 * 1.136 = 2.7
    2.6 * 1.136 = 3.0
    2.8 * 1.136 = 3.2
    3.0 * 1.136 = 3.4

    Seems about right
    Easier to set

  2. Sue Tischer says:

    so what would it be – a 10 min mile? 12 min mile? 15 min mile? keep it simple

    • Johann Mostert says:

      Exactly ! How difficult is it to take your time for a km/mile you have walked ? I just want to know what is a brisk walking pace and nobody can tell me !!!!

  3. disqus_1uEOD4JUhM says:

    sure would be nice you the answer was given in a simple so many miles per hour speed on the treadmill gets you to 100 steps a minute. since a good hunk of us use treadmills.

  4. Woody Fowler says:

    Just use the number of steps in your last workout and divide by the number of minutes. Your phone should track that. (3,700 steps in 33 minutes) 3700 / 33 = 112 steps per minute.

  5. Mohamed Humdhan says:

    I use Garmin Vivoactive 3 which counts for me the moderate/vigorous intensity minutes. Sometimes i noticed the brisk walk time is not matching entirely with the minutes credited for the weekly moderate/vigorous intensity minutes. Then i learned how to tweak it… Typically if the heart beat rate is twice as the resting heart rate the minutes get counted.. to keep up with that i watch my heart beat and if it lowers while walk do a bit of a jog for say few seconds then the heart beat picks up and i don’t loose those minutes…

  6. Ron Murias says:

    Walk in time with music and you don’t need the math. Dancing Queen (ABBA) is 100 BPM, or Sweet Home Alabama if you’re into that. Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, The Rolling Stones “Beast of Burden”, there’s a ton of 100 bpm songs out there.

  7. Eduard Maandi says:

    Steps per minute is not a vital sign… Are you sure you are not talking about heart rate, that is much more Important?

  8. Johann Mostert says:

    Is it so difficult to give us a normal way to follow your walking speed – the most of us use minutes per km !!!

    A brisk pace is it 6 min per km or 9min per km

    • MadJo says:

      You can’t generalize the amount of kms for steps per minute.

      My stride
      length could be smaller than yours. So your 100 steps per minute could
      mean 80 meters per minute (if your stride is 80 cm per step), while mine would be
      70m/min (70cm per step).

      Also steps are more easily counted than kilometers, for which you’ll need a GPS or a fixed running track, which not everyone has or uses.

  9. John in Brisbane says:

    This 100 steps has come up a few times recently. It is close to that for me as the natural speed I go up hills when choosing to work hard. I’ve started from very heavy though and the focus has been on careful exertion while the weight has been coming off. On the flat I am more focused on smoothly achieving about 5.5kph than any particular cadence.

    Dunno if it’s related but I find 100 RPM is about right for serious cycling – spinning up hills or pushing for speed over time.

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