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Walking vs Running


Just had to listen to someone tell me that you would burn the exact same amount of calories walking 1 mile as you would running 1 mile. I tried to explain EPOC but they refused to listen to anything to do excercise intensity on hormones. They seem to think its a simple matter of physics moving x weight a certain distance. I did a quick search of some primary literature but couldn't find anything specific to this debate. Can anyone provide some help in proving my point?


this was something i heard a lot back when i used to work at a running/walking specialty store. i didnt see any reason why it wouldnt be true. of course the walk could take 12-20 minutes while the run could 5-10 minutes. so of course the total caloric burn potential per hour is much greater with running, and therefore much higher over the next 24-36 hours.

and no, i dont have any links to any research journals. just going from experience and hanging out with runners and coaches on a daily basis for nearly 5 years.


use search, there are several articles about EPOC so you can show your friend


Without EPOC you still burn more calories running 1 mile versus walking.... depending on the speed of your walk of course.


Yes you are right, work is force over a distance and running produces far more force per stride than walking does so you perform more work which means you use up more calories


Playing devil's advocate here.

The smart thing to do would be to figure out "roughly" how much one walking stride is and how much one running stride is in terms of calories used.

If we assume 1 walking stride = 3 feet and 1 running stride = 6 feet (i'm a tall person) and in turn assume that 1 walking stride burns 1 calorie while 1 running stride burns 2 calories, we can set up the following, simple equation.

Goal: 24 feet
4 paces running
4 * 2 calories = 8 calories burned

Goal: 24 feet
8 paces walking
8 * 1 calories = 8 calories burned

Granted, this would be much different if 1 running stride burned 3 times as many calories as a walking stride (factoring in EPOC), or if any other variable were different. Would be interesting to know. Something I'll have to look up later.


Taken from the running wikipedia page.


There was an interesting article I read a few weeks ago on runnerworld.

The interesting find from this article was that walking fast burns more calories than jogging slow, make of it what you will lol

Also remember that the Net Calories Burnt is much less than the total calories burnt!


found this little tidbit while searching last night:
Results showed that high intensity, anaerobic type exercise resulted in a significantly greater magnitude of EPOC than aerobic exercise of equal work output.
-Schmidt, Wilfred Daniel (1992). The effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on resting metabolic rate, thermic effect of a meal, and excess postexercise oxygen consumption. Ph.D. dissertation, Purdue University, United States -- Indiana. Retrieved March 30, 2011, from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text.(Publication No. AAT 9301378).

but then if i remember EPOC correctly it means excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. so you may burn the same amount of calories when walking vs running a mile. and it may true that EPOC is higher for longer after running. so both of you guys may be right.


As previously pointed out, running is less efficient than walking and therefore it consumes more energy per distance covered. Besides EPOC, the lactate produced by running (over 75% MHR) stimulates growth hormone secretion which stimulates lipolysis. In that way running fast actually makes you eat your own fat after you're done. Plus all the other benefits of growth hormone. And there's also testosterone. People always chicken out and say they'll burn more energy with more volume and lower intensity but they'll be just as hungry and fat and never gain any fitness. I can only recommended the FIRST training program.


I know speed doesn't seem to significantly affect the number of calories per unit of distance when when running (EPOC aside). I would assume the same applies with walking but I don't know that for sure. Do you have any info on this?

To the OP, EPOC is more a result of working anaerobically rather than a result of running or walking. You could "walk" a mile while carrying something really heavy and induce a lot of EPOC.


There are so many variables involved. But I would wager the calorie burn is very similiar.

In my opinion the benefits of extra hormone release is probably outweighed by the negative drain on muscle recovery and CNS recovery.


Energy Expediture of recreational and sports activities from a text book

  • walking @ 4.0 mph burns 9.2 kcal/min (96 kg person)
  • running @ 10 mph burns 22.5 kcal/ min (96 kg person)


15 min (time to cover a mile at 4 mph) x 9.2 = 138 kcal
6 min ( time to cover a mile at 10 mph) x 22.5 = 135 kcal

Sorry, but if we are talking about energy expended during the activity the, numbers don't lie.


So then running for 30 minutes burns more calories than walking 30....that's what people should take away from this.


It annoys me whenever this questions comes up, because people who think the two activities burn the same number of Calories say physics supports their point. However, physics says nothing of the sort. A Calorie is a unit of work. To convert Joules to calories you multiply the number of joules by about .24. To convert calories to Calories you divide by 1000. For the sake of simplicity we'll stay with joules. The formula for work is mass multiplied by acceleration multiplied by distance. If you take a 100 kg man and have him walk a mile then have him run a mile, the argument the two activities burn the same calories means

Walking a mile = Running a mile

Mass * Acceleration * Distance = Mass * Acceleration * Distance

100 kg * Acceleration * 1.6 km = 100 kg * Acceleration * 1.6 km

Removing the like terms, the only determinant of work expended is acceleration. There is obviously much more acceleration in running relative to walking.

If my physics is incorrect, please correct me and point out my mistakes.


Interesting discussion and thread revival. I'm not all sciency like you guys, but really if you want to walk, you should add weight.

Weight Vest Walking is killer for burning some extra calories and I'd argue getting that EPOC as well if you've ever tried it.

See thread http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_conditioning/conditioning_weight_vest_training


I have a question that could throw everybody off... When I go run/walk I like to go to a track and walk the straights and run the curves... How does that effect calories burned??