Exercise! Does running burn more calories than walking?

Re: Exercise! Does running burn more calories than walking?


This article: Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin (published 8/6/09) helps to back that up. This article says that bursts of exercise may actually help make you fatter…!

That’s not really what it says. It says that some people consume more calories after exercise than if they hadn’t exercised at all. This will impede weight loss, but probably won’t make you much fatter.

It’s a little more than that. It says that exercise doesn’t burn all that many calories, so eating afterwards will quickly exceed the calories that the exercise expended.

So if you exercise and don’t eat more, you probably won’t gain weight, but the suspicious factor is the additional hunger and/or “treat” factor, which means more consumption because of the exercise.

There’s also the suggestion that those who exercise in bursts don’t particularly expend more energy, because they balance it with less motion throughout the rest of the day.

Exercise is measured in Metabolic Equivalents (METs). The way METs work is that you expend about 1 METs (still plural) by standing around and watching TV. If you walk at a fast pace, you expend 4 METs. If you run at a really fast pace, you could expend 6 or more METs. There are charts showing you the Metabolic Equivalents for various exercises.

Let’s take a nice jog at 6 METs. That means you burn 6 times as many calories as you do standing around watching TV.

Let’s assume you burn 70 calories per hour by watching TV. When you jog for 30 minutes you burn 210 calories. That’s 140 calories more than you would have burned watching TV. If you downed a can of soda (about 140 calories) after you jogged because you were thirsty, your net loss of calories due to exercise is back to zero.

Most diet programs will tell you that you need to burn 3500 more calories than you consume to lose one pound of weight. That’s 500 calories per day. Most people only need 1800 to 2000 calories. So, if you cut back your daily calorie count down to 1300 to 1500 calories, you’re only losing 1 pound per week. That’s a reduction of 25% or more of your calorie intake. Now, you know why it is so difficult to lose weight.

However, if you exercise strenuously for an hour per day, and you still watch what you eat, you would be burning an extra 250 calories or more calories per day. Combining exercise with diet will help you lose weight faster.

As an extra bonus, exercise can turn that light fluffy fat into heavy, compact muscle. Thus, exercising will also help you look thinner at the same weight. And, since muscle burns more calories than fat (even at rest), replacing fat with muscle will mean you burn more calories (which will help you lose even more weight).

Plus, it improves your cardiovascular fitness and you get to meet all those cute girls at the gym.

When I use to go to the gym. I knew those cute girls weren’t saying any more “Look at that old, fat funny looking man standing there.” No, they saw me run on that treadmill and said “Wow! That old, fat funny looking man is going to give himself a heart attack!”

Well described qazwart. I appreciate the numbers, too. I’ll have to remember those for the next weight loss discussion I get into.

Many people confuse the difference between losing weight and maintaining weight or maintaining weight loss/fat percentage reduction. Exercise doesnt lose much unless at fairly high activity levels. But increasing or maintaining muscle mass over time probably makes a difference, that wouldnt show in the shorter studies linked to above.

When they did a survey of people who had lost significant amounts of weight years and kept it off for 5 years or more one of the most common factors was that they did an hour or more of physical activity a day.

It could be an indirect effect, but it seems unlikely, losing weight without doing exercise risks muscle loss which as a long term risk for weight relapse would be fairly high.

I cant remember the studies name to save my life though.

Of course, if you were going to drink the soda and snack on some popcorn while you sat in front of the TV because that’s what you’re in the habit of doing…

The article talks about this, and about how much of an effect it has. It talks about converting a significant portion of fat to muscle, and the net result is burning 40 calories more per day, whether or not you use the extra muscle for exercise. That’s 87.5 days to burn off one pound of fat. Yes, that’s 87.5 days faster than if the muscle hadn’t been converted, but the article’s point was that doing moderate exercise throughout the day (as opposed to bursts) and reducing your caloric intake is the better way to lose weight.

Thats about 2kg a year.

For fast weight loss thats not much but for weight maintenance Id call it significant.


These articles all have one thing in common, they are true, as long as you aren’t too fussy about the truth.

There are 3,500 calories in a pound. If someone says you burn an extra 100 calories an hour that sounds like a lot but it’s not that less than 3% of what it takes to burn off a pound.

And a pound has no visual difference, you simply cannot tell the difference between a man who weighs 150lbs and one who weighs 151lbs

The bottom line is your ablity to LOSE weight is always greater than your ability to exercise it off.

Try to think of it like this. Suppose your strapped for cash. The first thing everyone does is cut back on expenses and purchases. This makes sense, to a degree.

But eventually you get the point where your ability to save ends. I mean you need minimums for food, rent, electricty etc.

But your ability to earn is much greater. In most cases even taking a part time minimum wage job will increase your money more than any cutting of your expenses. (OK this is a bit oversimplified if your taste runs to lobster dinners and weekends at the Four Season Hotel, but you see my point)

Your ability to earn extra money is almost always greater than your ablity to save it. Yet few of us ever consider getting a second part time job.

Same for dieting your abilty to not consume the calories is hundreds of times greater than your ability to burn them off.

Your probably bette off walking than driving to work but you may have a greater risk at getting hit by car while you walk than any health benefit walking gives you. Of course this depends on where you walk and how much.

If you burn 200 walking and 225 calories running, that extra 25 calories is negligible.

First - walking vs. running; walking is basically pivoting your body over your ankle, step by step. In running, you are jumping from foot to foot. Jumping is more work than lifting up and falling forward. If you want to get into physics, not auto mechanics, you probably lift your center of mass a bit further up and down running. There’s also the energy in stopping your movig body when you land on the next foot.

The science of diet and weight loss is complex and has a lot of gotchas. Basiclly, our bodies have numerous adaptions to ensure that feast in good times can be used to help during famine in bad times. There’s issues from cardiac fitness to muscle tone to muscle mass (burning more calories) to aerobic vs. anerobic and fat v. carb consumption, to caloric intake. Phelps for example was supposed to be eating (and burning) 10,000 calories a day during training.

Another interesting take - I heard an interview with some professor who was experimenting with the 30-second workout. (Seriously). They took typically sedentary couch-tubers and put them through a regimen of “exercise as hard as you possibly can for 30 seconds a day”. I believe this used a stationary bike. Their goal was to examine carb absorbtion and use in muscles. The theory was that type II diabetes was due to muscles learning to to ignore insulin because they were always already full of carb energy. (Glycogens, IIRC?) Routinely draining the large leg muscles of carbs meant the muscles always refilled daily and never learned to ignore insulin. The result was that guys on the 30-second workout were as likely to avoid type II diabetes as anyone on a moderately good, low intensity exercise program. Mind you, it did nothing for the rest for their overall health and fitness.