Are more calories burned the faster you walk, when walking the same distance?

Are more calories burned the faster you walk, when walking the same distance?

Yes, and this holds true for most ways of moving. Many of the forms of resistance you have to overcome, from air to the inertia of your legs, increase faster than your speed increases. So the faster you move, the more calories you need to get there.

No, at least not for running. The formula for calculating calories burned is only dependent on miles traveled and the runner’s weight. According to Exercise Physiology by McArdle, Katch and Katch, a book I currently don’t have and can’t find any good references on the web. So this is really only half a cite.

I won’t dispute MadScientistMatt’s logic, which is sound, but I think this formula was based on actual measurements.

One thing that’s missing from MadScientistMatt’s physics is the fact that the human body burns Calories just by not doing anything. So, the more time you spend doing anything, the more “background Calories” get burned. That may be enough to cancel out the effect.

I believe work is defined something like a mass being moved a certain distance (or changing it’s vector, or something like that). I don’t think time enters into the equation.

So, in that sense, running, walking, or crawling a mile takes the same amount of work (calories).

Think of it this way…running takes more calories, but you’re done sooner, so the walking person has more time to use up the same amount of calories.

(Technically…it could be postulated that running uses less–because you sweat off more body weight.)

None of this addresses aerobic/nonaerobic considerations–mainly because I don’t know how to. :slight_smile:

This is my second WAG today, so I wouldn’t be surprised if someone proves me wrong.

I found a simple calorie calculator on the net. First, I plugged in a 5 MPH pace for 60 minutes. The resulting calculation said I would burn 1,423 calories. Then I plugged in a 10 MPH pace for 120 minutes. Calories per hour necessarily decreased, but the total burned was about the same.

I am NOT a mathematician, so I have no idea if I’ve done something obviously wrong. But it seems that the distance traveled for both scenarios is the same, the only thing changed was the pace. I also can’t vouch for the site; it was the first convenient one I found. But even if the method of computing calories is a bit simple, it still garners the same result.

Any thoughts?

Yes. You made a typo when making this post. You did 10 for 60 and 5 for 120, I assume.

Walking the same distance versus running:

Walking burns more calories. Running creates more forward momentum, less strides per mile and doesn’t last as long.

Sorry, connection too slow to track down my fave calculators.

I am not a doctor, a physicist, or a runner - but if you spend more time exerting more energy (i.e., walking faster, or even running), won’t you burn more of those background calories?

It would appear that the answer is: We don’t know. But I would say that the difference is not appreciable.

TIME: Minute for Minute walking burns about the same, maybe a tad more.

DISTANCE: By distance, walking clearly burns more calories than jogging.

Walking: To cover the same distance as a runner, you are involved for a much longer time and taking many more strides (3-5 times as long a time verus running).

At rest, a 180 pound male is burnig about 200-220 calories an hour just to live and sustain life functions…so if walking takes another two hours over jogging the same distance, all those extra strides and extra minutes burn more calories.


I’m confused as to how you arrived at the ‘by Time’ comparison.

At the site that you mentioned:

walking for 30 mins burns 131.1Cals
jogging for 30 mins burns 427.5Cals

Surely if there wasn’t any caloric burning benefit, few people would jog. Especially since most of us can walk for longer lengths of time than we can jog.

I can see why, distance-wise, it doesn’t matter how you get there… but for length of time, your assertion doesn’t make sense.

I have no cite (yet) but when I was a runner back in my youth, I was always told that calories burned was not affected by pace.

Distance was the only factor. Walking a mile in 30 minutes burned the same number of calories as running a mile in 6 minutes.


I got confused in there somewhere. You are correct.

Jogging/running does burn more calories by the minute, but I wanted to contrast that with distance, where walking seems to burn more if you factor in the extra time it takes to cover the same distance and the number of calories involved in that time just to sustain life.

From college, I remember that the calories/mile for me was 110 for walking and 120 for running. There is a small additional increase for running because of the additional effort for the arm swings and for raising the legs a bit higher. Most people don’t run fast enough to have wind resistance be a significant influence.

There is a big difference if you look at calories per minute. Even though you burn about the same calories running or walking, you might be able to burn them twice as fast running versus walking.

I think these numbers are all assuming aerobic activity. If you’re pushing yourself too hard and your muscles are working anaerobically, I don’t know if that makes a difference. So if you were to try and run a 4 minute mile, you might burn a significantly different number of calories as opposed to running a 10 minute mile.

Sorry to dig up such an old thread, but I wanted to add a clarification here. Although the total number of calories burned while walking or running over a set distance might not be very different, a vigorous workout can lead to a much greater Post Exercise Caloric Expenditure (PECE). This means that during the recovery phase after the workout, your body uses more calories during that time than it would have had you not worked out. Some studies have shown that there is an additional 50% extra calories burned during recovery over what was burned during exercise. For example, you run 3 miles in 30 minutes and burn 300 calories. Over the rest of the day after your workout, you burn an additional 150 calories over what you would have normally used. But if you were to leisurely walk the 3 miles in 60 minutes, you would still burn the 300 calories during the workout, but you would not have the additional 150 after your workout.

So there is an additional caloric benefit from working out vigorously, but it doesn’t happen just during the workout. The additional benefit comes from the metabolic changes your body goes through in gearing up for and dealing with the vigorous activity.

It takes the same number of calories to move x of pounds [y] amount of distance. The reason for jogging rather than meandering a mile is that it exercises your heart at the same time.

So I can sit on the couch all day and eat 4800 Calories and not gain weight ? Seems off by a factor of roughly 2.

Running will burn more calories not during the run but because your metabolism is elevated for some time after the run. I stay warm for hours after a run in the winter. I don’t have a cite, just personal experience so it’s just opinion.

Running is, of course, more beneficial because it gets your HR up higher. Calories is a measurement of work done. So if you transverse one mile, all other things being equal, you would expend the same number of calories (about 100). However, all other things are not equal. Running a 6-minute mile is more efficient than running a 10-minute mile. The more efficiently you run, the less calories you expend. Running is more efficient than walking. Besides the cardiovascular benefits, as noted by others, your HR stays elevated longer, expending more calories, and if you develop muscles, these are more metabolically active than fat or no muscles; hence, you expend more calories just by resting if you are well-toned and in shape. I’ve heard it said, but have no cites, that once you get up to 30-mile week in running, your metabolism shifts into overdrive.