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walking vs. running and cals burned

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so i was jus wondering do i burn the same amount of cals walking A to B as i do running the same distance? i mean i know running burns more cals in general but if u cover the same amt of distance walking even though ud be faster running than walking does it make a difference in terms of calories burned?

thanks for any input!!

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Running is definitely more intense exercise.  What you have to look at is the amount of time you engage in for each exercise.  If you walk three miles in 45 minutes, you burn (x) number of calories, but if you run three miles in 30 minutes, then you burn (y) calories.  There are all kinds of calculators on the internet to help you determine what x and y are.


As I understand it, running and walking burn about the same calories per mile/kilometer.  It's just that you can cover that distance faster when running so that increases the calories burned per hour.

This goes to heartrate (IMO) more than anything.  IF you run 1 mile or walk 1 mile the difference will be in the heart rate which is where it will show clearly that you burned many more calories running as your heartrate was more elevated.

So no, you won't burn the same calories unless you are a seriously intense fast walker and a very very slow runner (slower than your walk)... but even then it goes to heartrate (intensity) than anything.

I try to go out several times a week at a walk/jog combo.  Playing around with the math for myself, I have found is that (at least for beginners) what really matters is length of time you are out walk/jogging rather than how fast you you can complete a set distance.

What I mean, is at the beginning, it used to take me 50 minutes to complete 5k (10 min jog, 40 walk)  Now it takes me about 40 (20 jog, 20 walk) BUT in that period of time I only burn about 20 calories more than I did at the beginning.  It's because yes, technically I'm burning more calories going at a faster speed, BUT since I'm not doing it for as long of a period of time, it basically cancels out.  It didn't hardly seem worth the extra effort.  So now once I finish the 5k - I just keep walking for the full 55-60 minutes, so I keep increasing my burn.

Original Post by nightc1:

IF you run 1 mile or walk 1 mile the difference will be in the heart rate which is where it will show clearly that you burned many more calories running as your heartrate was more elevated.

True the heartrate will be higher running a mile than walking a mile, but when you run a mile your heartrate isn't up for as long as if you walked that mile.

In the end it comes out to pretty much a wash. 

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I am an avid walker/jogger....I love walking, but when I'm in a rush for time I jog....that said, I have asked both a nutritionist as well as a trainer this same question...the answer is it's a wash....4 miles or whatever running is the same as 4 miles walking pretty much....the time is just different.....


the only way there would be a difference between jogging and wlaking is if you tracked yourself by time and not distance....i.e. walking for an hour is not burning the same amount of calories jogging obviously...but if you cut your self off after a certain distance it doesn't matter really

Technically it should be the same number of calories based on distance and not on time ... the old theory of relativity equation   e=mc2 ... where e is the amount of engery that it takes for a certain mass to move a certain distance - of course this does not take into consideration the cardio benefits or the benefits to your metabolism.  In the end, what matters is getting out, getting your blood pumping through your body and getting active!!!Laughing

Yeah, I took a health class, and they said that calories burned is distance dependent. So you walk a mile in 15 minutes or you run a mile in 9 minutes, it's the same calories burned because they're both a mile.

Getting into which is better for you (walking or running) is a little more complicated.

thanks for all the great infomative replies everyone :) it definetly cleared it up for me.

currently i walk 35 mins a day( power walking) but wanna start jogging so im going to start incorporating periods of jogging into my walks and now im thinking il increase the time too!

From what I've read, when it comes to exercise, intensity and duration affect calorie burning. As someone above posted, E=MC^2.  If we assume calories burned is distance dependant (logical), than the two forms of exercise are quite equal in this regard.  That said, we can look at the other aspects of the two forms of exercise in order to find a preference.

Running raises your heart rate a lot.  This can contribute to a small increase in calories burned as your heart rate and metabolism stays elevate after the workout (probably not by much).

Running (hard) also increases your VO2 max, which will improve your endurance by quite a bit (waay easier to breath in my experience).

Running is high impact and can hurt some people's joints.

Assuming the distance is the same, running takes less time.

Walking is low impact.

Walking takes more time.

Walking is not as intense (some people find high intensity uncomfortable or painful).


Also jogging extremely long distances has been known to be catabolic.  That is, it will eat muscle mass.


In conclusion, take a look at a track team.  Look at the distance runners vs the sprinters.  Decide which body type you want.

The idea that walking and running burns the same amount of calories for a given distance is based on the idea that you are doing the same amount of work -- i.e., moving your body through a given distance -- whether you are walking or running.  The problem is efficiency.  Walking is far more efficient than running in terms of energy expenditure.  For example, in order to produce the higher energy levels that you need for running you have to pump blood at a higher rate AND you have to handle a lot more air -- oxygen in and CO2 out.  Some extra energy is released as heat -- you get a lot hotter and sweatier running a mile than you do walking a mile.  That heat is over and above the energy you need to do the work of moving your body through the mile.

There used to be a website that listed the normal expenditures for walking a mile at different speeds.  Walking (?) one mile at 7 mph only costs about 120 calories while walking the same mile at 4 mph cost about 80 calories.  So it is much for one mile but if you walk 3 miles a day 5 days out of a week, you burn an extra 600 calories that week.  If you crank your pace up to 9 or 10 mph (very doable paces), the difference is even bigger.  For 5 miles per day, 25 miles per week, the difference is 1000 calories  -- about 1/3 of a pound of fat.

Here are a couple of things to think about: In the olympics, the ultimate distance run is 40 km (26.2 mi), the corresponding distance for walkers is 50 km and it would probably be longer if there was enough time in the day, for cycling, the distance is 160 km (100 miles).  No one ever developed a 50 bpm heart rate by walking but a lot of people develop that kind of heart rate from running.  Competitive runners and cyclists need a VO2Max in the neighborhood of 70 to 80.  VO2Max doesn't seem to be a factor for walkers.  I can easily walk 3 miles in 45 minutes but I have never been able to run 3 miles in 15 minutes.  Running 2 or 3 miles a day erases a lot of my eating sins but walking is no help.  As a practical matter, running is much better than walking for weight management but if you want an exercise that you can fit into your everday life, walking wins hands down.

thats great AUSSIE, i guess youre at a healthy weight now then?

e = mc^2 has nothing to do with this question.  It's an equation that can be used when calculating the amount of energy that can be released in a nuclear reaction.  And 'c' represents the speed of light - not a distance covered.

WRT the efficiency argument, that depends on the speed you're going.  Olympic fastwalkers have to concentrate on not accidentally running because that's the more natural form of locomotion at that speed.  My sister had a biology lab where they had to move by different methods at different speeds and calculate the energy expenditure, and I remember her saying superslow running was one of the worst.

thanks for all the help everyone!! it makes sense that mile for mile the same amt of cals are burned or nearly the same irregardless of the type of excersise , its jus the timing that differs and benefits etc...

and agru no im not actually but ive always walked everyday and im still gaining 1-2 pounds a month which is what i feel comfortable with, theres nothing wrong with excersise when ur aiming to gain as long as you dont end up with a calorie defecit.

Caloriecount's calculators seem to agree with me.  It's about heartrate and intensity.   If you plug in 60 minutes for 3.5mph of walking (a brisk walk) you will burn less calories (by far) than running 30minutes at 7mph.

Here are my results.  Keep in mind this is weight specific.  It said I'd burn 372 calories for the walking but 563 for the running.   And this is the same distance of 3.5 miles.

Maybe at 1 mile the difference isn't that great but it's nearly 200 calories different for me doing a normal distance.   Maybe this is weight related only?  Maybe thin people that are in shape have the numbers closer together.  No matter what though for that distance I'm going to burn more running because of my heartrate is going to be much higher.  It may not cross 100bpm walking but it'll hit 170 when running.  I just can't see how that would not result in more calories burned.


Night: That's pretty good and I can tell you that for a given course or route, my heart rate and energy barely register on my  HRM when I am walking but they show up big time when I am running.  However, it might be worthwhile to mention a few technical details.  Energy and work are equivalent except that in the real world there are no 100% efficient systems so the energy required to produce a given amount of work is always higher than the work itself.  Power is the rate at which energy is produced or work is done.  So for your electronic devices, watts or kilowatts tell you the rate at which energy is used or needed. Watt-hours or KW-hours tells you how much energy you actually used.  So running 3.5 miles requires higher power than walking 3.5 miles because you are doing at least the same amount of work in less time.  Your heart and breathing apparatus have to work harder when you are running because you need more power, which means more oxygen, more fuel (sugar, glycogen) and more waste per unit time, to do the work in a shorter time.

I apogize for being of topic again, but c squared actually is distance covered -   (186,000 miles/sec) * (186,000 miles/sec).

Agree with the above posters that there's really not much difference between walking 3 miles vs running 3 miles, except running takes less time. 

Original Post by meganr:

I apogize for being of topic again, but c squared actually is distance covered -   (186,000 miles/sec) * (186,000 miles/sec).

Sorry, but the chemistry teacher in me can't leave this one alone.  Distance covered would be in units of length (meters, miles, etc.).  'c' is in units of speed (meters/sec, miles/sec, etc.) so it can't be a distance.  And it still has nothing to do with exercise.  :-)

On topic, I did ran some numbers like night's and got similar results.  In the long run, though, I think what matters most is what exercise you'll do and enjoy doing - because the difference wasn't big enough to make me want to run rather than walk.

She's right! ^^

I also think the fact that if you are running, you are putting extra energy into springing up in your step, which increases the amount of calorie burn compared to a brisk walk (just slightly though).

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