Monday, January 31, 2011

Which Burns More Calories - Running Or Walking?

I always assumed running burned a lot more calories than walking, even power-walking.  But someone said to me the other day that they were about the same. Huh?  How can that be?  I will say that as a hard as I do walk, I know (and the results prove it) that I burn a lot of calories, but still the concept seemed almost ludicrous to me.

So, I decided to do some research on the internet to get more data.  Naturally, there were conflicting reports on this subject, and all kinds of variables.  Sorting through all the data, I managed to see that the concept of equal calorie burn is in reference to equal distance traveled, not equal time spent in the activity.  The assumption is that it takes roughly the same amount of energy to cover the same distance, regardless of how quick you get there.  Obviously running one mile will take a lot less time than walking the same mile, but you end up with a high rate of energy burn over a short time span versus a lower rate of energy burn over a longer time span.

Okay, the experts agree on the principle, but research has shown all kinds of twists and turns, due to an assortment of variables, meaning that the answer is fuzzy at best.  Here are two articles to look at:

Both articles do agree on one thing - for rough calculations, you can assume that 100 calories are burned for every mile traveled.  But keep in mind that its only a basic estimate that doesn't take all the other details into mind.  For example, a heavier person will expend more energy covering a mile than a lighter one.


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