July 23, 2014
Running or Brisk Walking?
Ask the Experts

Running or Brisk Walking?

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

Q: Do you burn more calories if you run a mile or if you briskly walk it?

A: Many people claim you’d use the same number of calories, but running a mile does burn more. It’s not just that it takes more energy to move your body at higher speed, but running also requires more strenuous arm, leg and upper-body movement, and it raises your heart rate more, all of which burn extra calories.

And to achieve the longer stride of running, you have to repeatedly lift your body weight off the ground so that both feet are in the air at the same time. When you walk, at least one foot is always on the ground. Race-walking, with its hip-swiveling, arm-pumping motion, also burns more calories per mile than regular walking.

A standard reference guide to energy expenditures shows that for a 132-pound person, walking three miles per hour burns 70 calories per mile (in 20 minutes), on average, but running six miles per hour burns 100 calories per mile (in 10 minutes). And a 2004 study from Syracuse University, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, found that people running a mile on a track or treadmill burned 30 percent more calories than when walking it at half the speed.

Brisk walking is still a great way to burn calories, and many people prefer it to running, in part because it is easier on the body.