Walking at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour usually burns between 314 and 469 calories an hour. The exact amount depends on the weight of the person and the terrain covered.
Walkers can increase the amount of calories burned by adding loads or walking uphill. Carrying backpacks or even grocery bags can help increase strength as well. Speed is also a factor in the amount of calories that walking burns. A casual stroll at a pace of 2 miles per hour burns 204 calories for a 160-pound person compared with 314 calories at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour.
Walking across difficult terrain burns more calories. For a 160-pound person, hiking burns approximately 438 calories an hour. Backpacking, which requires the hiker to carry heavy loads, burns about 511 calories an hour. Even simply carrying clubs around a golf course at a leisurely stroll burns about 314 calories per hour, the same as a brisk walk without extra weight.
Regular walking provides other health benefits as well. Walking for at least 30 minutes a day lowers the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and some cancers. Moderate daily exercise also improves mental health and lowers the risk of depression.