Running v. Walking: How Many Calories Will You Burn?

If takes you 2 hours to walk a mile but only 6 minutes to run a mile, the time/intensity trade off basically means you’re burning the same calories, right? They say a mile, is a mile, is a mile.

This common misconception is interesting but it doesn’t hold up to scientific scrutiny.

A group of researchers from California State University have just published an article in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research this past April that confirms running will burn more calories than walking*.

Whether you finish your workout by collapsing on the grass, drinking a smoothie, or taking a shower, your body continues burning more calories than usual until it returns to its basal metabolic rate—it’s all about the after-burn.

From the article, running a mile burns roughly 26 percent more calories than walking a mile. Running a minute (or 30 minutes, or an hour, etc.) burns roughly 2.3x more calories than the same total time spent walking. This difference increases even more when you consider the after-burn.

*Okay, now a few caveats. These calculations are all derived from an “average” weight of the subjects; your weight is by far the biggest determinant of your calorie burn per mile. Also, when you look at per-minute burn, your pace also makes a big difference.

Running faster or slower than 10:00 min/ mile pace doesn’t make much difference in your calorie-burn per mile. (But has a major impact on your burn per minute). Walking is a different kind of animal– increases in walking-speed dramatically raises calorie burn per mile, as well as per minute. Indeed, at about 12:30 per mile, walking hits a point where it burns about the same calories/mile as running–walk faster and you will burn more calories/mile than running at 10:00min/mile pace. However, very few are walking faster than 18:36min/mile.

But instead of counting calories, do what you can to burn as many calories as possible in exercise and daily living. That’s the ticket to good health and weight. If you have questions concerning walking vs. running, consult with your Sheddon Physiotherapist! Give us a call at (905) 849-4576 or visit our website at

Ref: Wilkin, L. D., Cheryl, A., & Haddock, B. L. (2012). Energy expenditure comparison between walking and running in average fitness individuals. Journal of Strength

By Dana Clark