Walking, like many forms of exercise, helps a person lose weight by allowing the body to burn more calories during the activity than it would at rest. While the number of calories burned varies from individual to individual, on average, a 180-pound person burns 100 calories per mile, while a 120-pound person burns 65 calories per mile.
Walking burns calories and promotes weight loss in several ways. It increases the body's metabolic rate, which is the rate at which it burns calories, even at rest. It also builds and tones muscle, which contributes to the rise in metabolism. In addition to its weight loss benefits, walking has been shown to decrease a person's risk of many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke and many types of cancer. Walking at slower paces may actually burn more calories than walking faster. This is because the body is forced to carry more of its weight with each and every step at slower paces. During faster paces, momentum helps move the body along, resulting in less effort being exerted. As with any exercise program, it is always best to start off gradually and build up the walking routine. Over training can result in injury and burnout.