How Many Calories Does Walking Burn Vs. Sitting?


Pulling out the old, dusty treadmill may not sound appealing, but walking every day burns calories and trims down that growing waistline. A unit that measures energy, the body uses calories to fuel activities like running and walking. Even when sitting down, the body uses calories to perform basic tasks like breathing, thinking and digesting. The rate at which the body burns calories depends on many factors including gender, height, weight and age; an average-sized, 25-year-old male would burn between two or three times more calories walking than sitting.

Calories Burned While Sitting

  • Basic metabolic rates (BMR), or resting metabolic rates (RMR), approximate how many calories your body burns during a 24-hour period of inactivity. The number of calories burned while sitting varies substantially from person to person; taller, heavier and older individuals use more calories sitting still than do shorter, lighter and younger individuals. A 25-year-old, 5-foot 8-inch male weighing 160 pounds would burn about 2,000 calories if he sat and did nothing for 24 hours. Sitting down, he would burn about 85 calories per hour. A 50-year-old, 5-foot 6-inch woman weighing 140 pounds would only use about 1,500 calories. Sitting down, she would burn about 60 calories per hour.

Calories Burned While Walking

  • Walking demands more energy from the body and consumes large amounts of excess calories. Not only does size matter when calculating consumed calories, but so does the intensity of a workout. For example, a 200-pound male would burn about 250 calories if he walked two miles in one hour. That same guy would burn nearly 400 calories if he walked three and a half miles in one hour.

Walking vs. Sitting Calories

  • In one hour, a 200-pound male would burn about 80 calories sitting down and between 250 to 400 calories walking. In this example, you could burn three or four times more calories walking as opposed to sitting. Walking actually helps the body burn more calories in the long run, too. Walking regularly builds muscle and increases your resting metabolic rate, so you can burn even more calories when you're sitting. For example, a walker may burn 85 calories while sitting down for one hour, whereas a non-walker of the same size and gender may only burn 65 calories in an hour. All things considered, walking burns substantially more calories than does sitting.

Walking vs. Sitting Health

  • Walking is a great activity because it reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes and other metabolic diseases. It builds strong bones, improves a person's mood and strengthens coordination. Sitting down for long periods of time is unhealthy. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, even if an individual gets enough exercise, long periods of inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle create health risks. The healthiest lifestyle is an active lifestyle with plenty of walking and not so much sitting.

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