Does Running Burn More Calories than Walking?

By Laura Moncur @ 4:21 pm — Filed under:

Running on my treadmill from Flickr

I run and I walk. I usually like to believe that I am doing “better” when I run than when I walk, but is this idea correct? Wendy Bumgardner answers that question:

It seems that the most important factor in burning calories is DISTANCE, not speed. You may burn more calories with less mileage if you run, but it’s not as dramatic as being able to go that extra mile.

What’s the best speed?

If you can build up your walking speed to 5 mph, or 12 minutes per mile, you will be at the top calorie burn per mile and achieve the same burn as a jogger. If you are a runner, you don’t get any calorie burning benefit by going faster than 10 minutes per mile or 6 mph.

Next time you’re tempted to kick your butt and go a little faster, remember that you won’t see any extra benefit unless you actually cover MORE MILES than you would have if you had walked the whole time.


8 Responses to “Does Running Burn More Calories than Walking?”

  1. Megan Says:

    Great post! Very interesting.

    I too like to walk and run. I walk at 3 mph (maybe a little more) and have 2-3 minute bursts where I will run/jog 5-6 mph. I really like watching my speed pick up and the time that I am able to spend on the treadmill increase, as I am building more endurance and strength.

  2. Misty Says:

    I walk (and run) very slowly. I can walk tremendous distances, but haven’t really picked up the pace at all. I’ll try pushing myself more next time I’m out.

  3. iportion Says:

    Walking works for me

  4. One Big Health Nut Says:

    Great guide. I have observed many people tired themselves faster by maintaining a fast pace during their walking exercise. It’s the distance not the speed. It actually work well if you can run faster while covering more distance, somehow that’s just not the case with many people that I know.

  5. Tony Says:

    What about building muscle?

  6. Chief Says:

    A couple of thoughts-

    I do not dispute that the actual calories burned during the activity are similar for walking and running over the same distance, but as a runner I think there are other advantages to running including these: 1. The increased cardio vascular fitness that comes from constantly striving to improve your speed. 2. The boost that strenuos exercise (ie running) gives to your metabolism for hours after the actual activity. 3. Training to run faster builds muscle and the more muscle you have the more calories you burn, even while you are resting.

    Don’t get me wrong, walking is great exercise, and way better than sitting on your butt!

    Just my two cents…

  7. B. Says:

    I’m going to have to agree with the chief on this one. I like short spurts of all sprinting myself, followed by hours of sitting on the couch.

  8. Tom Says:

    I have to disagree with Chief and B, I’ve always had MUCH better results with walking than running. I am guessing that its because I spend more time exercising if I walk but I get tired quickly and do less if I run.

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