Weight Loss
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# A mile of walk, a mile of run. Where more calories are burn?

A friend told me that you burn same amount of calories if the work done is same. For example, he said that if I walk a mile or run a mile then I will burn same calories but of course it will take more time (the actual time spent) for the former and less for the latter. He extrapolated this rule to mild walk to brisk walk as well. I suck at physics (in fact science in general ) so was lazy to look up any scientific explanation.

What do you think?

12 Replies (last)

That assumes the work done is proportional to the time taken regardless of the action involved.  A 150lbs person running at 5mph will use about 500-600 cals in an hour.  The same 150lbs person walking very briskly at 4mph will use about 300 cals in an hour.   The speed is 20% different but the calories used are significantly less.

Running is a different & more strenuous action to walking.  Involves both feet leaving the ground for a start!

Walk at 2mph and you use about half the calories of walking at 4mph.... that works because it all involves the same basic action.

why walk and run when you can cycle???? cycling burns 600 cals an hour!!!!!!!!!!!

But the OP is not asking about speed (mph), they are asking about distance.  One could run a given distance twice as fast as they could walk it.  But let's forget how many hours you are exercising.  If you walk 5 miles or run 5 miles (disregarding how fast you go at either), what's the net burn for each activity?

As I understand it, it's close.  You burn slightly more calories running 5 miles than you do walking the same 5 miles, but not as much as you'd think.  I use the following calculator:

Fitness Partner

Think of it this way. Suppose you can run 4 times* as fast as you can walk. If you run for 1 hour, you will burn a certain number of calories.

But if you walk the same distance, you will be walking for 4 hours! That's a long, long walk, and you burn a lot of calories walking 4 hours without a rest! This is how you can burn nearly as many calories walking the same distance: you have to walk a lot longer to cover the same distance.

The relation breaks down at the extremes of absurdity (for example, it wouldn't work for calculating the calorie burn if you were almost standing still, and just moving your feet forward once per minute) but for any sensible walking or running pace, it's a good rule of thumb: If you walk twice as fast, it will take you half the time to cover the same distance, and by the same token, half the time to burn the calories you burn covering that distance.

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*For example, suppose your average walking speed is 3 miles per hour and your average running speed is 12 miles per hour.

mephyle is exactly correct.

I walk 4 miles a day.  It takes me ~80 minutes.  I know I could run it in 40 minutes, but I enjoy the walk more, so I am more likely to do it.  And since it burns nearly as many calories, and I have the time, I prefer the walk.

Calories burned per activity can be "relative."

If you burn 600 caloriees running, and your heart rate is up in Zone 4/5, then guess what?  All those calories are carb calories and this will not help you lose significant weight.

If you burn 600 calories at a moderate pace, staying in your Zone2/3, then most of the calories burned will come from fat stored in your body.

I would rather move slower and burn fat than push myself intoi Zone4/5 just to burn carbs.

Basically, its a complicated matter and there is no easy way to make general statements about calorie burning.

But - for weight loss - longer duration at a moderate pace, 3-3.5 mph walking is a better bet than 30 minutes of running.

Good luck!

I have read that walking burns about 10-15 more calories per mile, this based on the fact that runners lose a little to momentum.

Here is a site with a chart.

Original Post by puh8suwrux:

Here is a site with a chart.

And thanks to all of the others too. I think the bottom line is that my friend was, more or less, right in his statement.

Original Post by nancybehrend:

But - for weight loss - longer duration at a moderate pace, 3-3.5 mph walking is a better bet than 30 minutes of running.

Good luck!

For weight loss, what matters is that you burn more calories than you consume.  It's true that when working out a moderate pace, more of the calories burned come from fat stores and when working out at an intense pace more of the calories burned come from carbs.  However, it doesn't matter where the calories are coming from or how intense you are working out.  As long as you burn enough calories to create a deficit, you will lose weight.

Original Post by haqyunus:

A friend told me that you burn same amount of calories if the work done is same. For example, he said that if I walk a mile or run a mile then I will burn same calories but of course it will take more time (the actual time spent) for the former and less for the latter. He extrapolated this rule to mild walk to brisk walk as well. I suck at physics (in fact science in general ) so was lazy to look up any scientific explanation.

What do you think?

He's both right and wrong :)

In term of calories burned to achieve the distance, he's right. There is not enough of a difference in wind resistance and body movement to cause much difference in calories burned.

However, in term of calories the body burned overall he's drastically wrong. Aerobic metabolism (practical yield 29-30 mol ATP/mol glucose) is 19 times more efficient than anaerobic metabolism (2 mol ATP/mol glucose). So if you run flat out and provided most of the energy for the miles using anaerobic metabolism, after the run, your body continues to burn calories to get rid of the waste products, hence the after work out burn.

Original Post by haqyunus:

A friend told me that you burn same amount of calories if the work done is same.

It might be close  ...  except doing the work faster allows you to do more.  Today I will run 10 miles at an easy (for me) 9:15 pace.  That is just over an hour and a half.  I will burn roughly 1500 calories.

If someone walks at a brisk pace  ...  say 15 minute miles  ...  they will have to walk for 2 1/2 hours.

Also, I don't know the quantitative difference  ...  but I can tell you that if I ran it at say a 7:45 pace  ...  it takes significantly more energy on my part.  It takes more leg strength, stamina, energy, and lung conditioning.

So I do both.  Last night I ran 6 miles then walked (briskly) 3 miles with my wife.  They are different.  They work different parts of the body.  Both are beneficial.

I'm not sure it is as important which you do  ...  as it is that you do something.

12 Replies