General Question

pickleshy's avatar

Which burns more calories, running a mile or walking a mile?

Asked by pickleshy (40points) June 25th, 2010

I have heard some say that walking burns more calories than running. Can you help clarify this statement?

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13 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Anything that expends more energy burns more calories. The two statements are interchangeable – calories measure the expenditure of energy. Since it requires more energy to run, it therefor burns more calories.

Coloma's avatar

My workout routine for years is a 3 mile walk with intermittent spurts of running.

Running is very hard on the joints, and breasts, if you have them. lol

Ideally the best workouts are ones that combine and periodically mix up the activities.

I am not a fan of pure running/jogging..waaay too strenious on the body as a whole. But..that’s just me.

dotlin's avatar

As you’re covering the same distance you could assume you use the same amount of energy but it’s not the case when running you quickly starve your muscles of vital oxygen so your body starts taking energy you break down from the foods you eat, also you heat up much faster and gain a higher core temperature what allows your body to sweat.

The fat on your body is not covered into energy you have to sweat that off only the food your recently eaten is turned into energy.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Plantasauresrex's avatar

The main thing to determine is why you’re trying to burn calories. All actions burns calories, walking a mile and running a mile are definitely different in burning calories, running a mile will consequently make you sweat more and work harder. Long distance running will after a while start to burn carbs, sugar calories, so you’re not actually getting a far burning work out if that’s what you’re looking for. But, running uphill for example will be slower and more intense (better if the goal is to burn fat and burn calories). Overall, the best thing to do is to mix the activities, run on a flat surface and then walk uphill. This is better for your muscle groups and your overall cardio.

DVSAZN's avatar

Weight & resistance training burns more calories, and for a longer duration after your workout is completed…

Fyrius's avatar

I know that when I run half a kilometre to catch the bus, I’m tired and out of breath on arrival, and sometimes the muscles in my legs hurt, whereas patiently walking the same distance has no such effects.
I don’t believe people who say this. I don’t believe running doesn’t use up more energy than walking, and I definitely don’t believe it uses up less.

Isn’t it a law of physics that it requires more force (energy) to move an object very quickly than to move it more slowly against the same resistance? More acceleration requires more force, for starters, but doesn’t the air resistance drag also become larger at higher speeds?

Also consider that when you run, not all your energy goes into moving you straight ahead. Every running step is a little jump, launching you upwards as well as forwards, isn’t it? When walking, you don’t need to overcome gravity, except the minimal effort it takes not to fall down.

Furthermore you don’t do cardio only to burn calories, you also do it because the heart is a muscle that needs training, in order to improve your stamina and decrease the risk of heart problems. Walking doesn’t get your heart rate up very much, so as cardiovascular exercise it’s not very much use.

If you’re worried about your joints, take a bike instead and ride it like you’re late for something important.

kevbo's avatar

Calorie expenditure by activity has been studied extensively for a number of years, and tere’s lots of tables like these available online.

andreaxjean's avatar

I’m not sure about calories, but I do know that when your heart rate’s BPM gets to about 120 or over…. that’s the fat burning zone. So if your burning fat while running, I’m sure you’ll be burning more calories than if you were walking.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, 120 and above is the high burn zone…but…don’t push the old heart envelope…I get off the track when I reach about 152…I may want to be in good shape but I’m not going to kill myself for it! lololol

Ya know..the good looking corpse thing….

gasman's avatar

From the table in @kevbo‘s post we have the following data for a 100 lb. person (works for any weight since given numbers are strictly proportional to weight):

Running (10 mph) = 350 Calories in 30 minutes
Running (9 mph) = 330 ” ” ”
Running (8 mph) = 305 ” ” ”
Walking (4 mph) = 100 ” ” ”
Walking (3 mph) = 80 ” ” ”
Walking (2 mph) = 60 ” ” ”

The distances covered in 30 minutes are, respectively, 5, 4.5, 4, 2, 1.5, and 1 mile(s).

This gives an overall caloric consumption per mile of:
Running (10 mph) = 70.0 Calories
Running (9 mph) = 73.3 ”
Running (8 mph) = 87.5 ”
Walking (4 mph) = 50.0 ”
Walking (3 mph) = 53.3 ”
Walking (2 mph) = 60.0 ”

Obviously the data are a little inconsistent, but I conclude that running and walking burn roughly the same number of calories per mile, though running tends to burn a little more.

mattbrowne's avatar

Energy is power times time, so in principle there isn’t a huge difference. Any difference has to be explained by other factors such as friction, but above all, the inner workings of our bodies as explained by @dotlin.

@Fyrius – Your legs hurt because of the difference between anaerobic and aerobic respiration. The latter is based on using oxygen. Aerobic metabolism is 19 times more efficient than anaerobic metabolism.

In skeletal muscles, the waste product is lactic acid which we can feel.

Flavio's avatar

The same I think, but you can probably run 2–3 miles in the same time it would take to walk one

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