Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Running vs Walking: More Calorie Burn

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If you have not already read it, please read my post yesterday about the question I often get, "Do you burn more calories if you run a mile vs walking a mile?" The answer is yes, you do burn more calories running.

Why?

It is more difficult to run than walk, which causes you to engage more muscles and exert harder which in turn burns more calories. Think about walking and the effort and muscles involved. If you run, you actually have greater shock absorption (harder on the joints) and you also engage more muscles to push off. Using more muscles causes the body's metabolism to rise, therefore burning more.

If you don't like to run, or can't run more than a half mile without giving up, there is hope. Research on interval training is very promising for those people who want to work out more intensely but can't sustain that high level for a long period of time.

Alternating between a leisurely pace, or somewhat hard pace, and a hard pace has numerous benefits. A study from 2005 in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that after just 2 weeks of interval training the subjects doubled their endurance. Other documented benefits include improved fitness, increased ability to burn fat, and better glucose control.

Interval Training Sample Workout (30 minutes)
  • 3 minutes warm up
  • 3 minutes HARD
  • 3 minutes recovery pace
  • Repeat 3 minutes hard and 3 minutes recovery 4 times
  • 3 minutes cool down

The Hard phase should be hard enough that you are not able to really sustain it for much longer than the 3 minutes. Recovery is not finding a park bench, but rather going to an easy pace. A perfect example of interval training is track work that you may have done in high school where you did 6 or 8 repeats of a certain distance.

Of course, nutrition plays a big part in the body's ability to burn fat, too. I recommend having a small snack within an hour or two of exercise (or right before if you can stomach it) and having a snack or meal within an hour after exercise.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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