Skip to main content
ASK AN EXPERT
Got a question about a health story in the news or a health topic? Here's your chance to get an answer. Send us your questions about general health topics, diet and fitness and mental health. If your question is chosen, it could be featured on CNN.com's health page with an answer from one of our health experts, or by a participant in the CNNhealth community.




* CNN encourages you to contribute a question. By submitting a question, you agree to the following terms found below.
You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. By submitting your question, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your questions(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statment.
Thank you for your question!

It will be reviewed and considered for posting on CNNHealth.com. Questions and comments are moderated by CNN and will not appear until after they have been reviewed and approved. Unfortunately, because of the voume of questions we receive, not all can be posted.

Submit another question or Go back to CNNHealth.com

Read answers from our experts: Living Well | Diet & Fitness | Mental Health | Conditions

Expert Q&A

  • Share this on:
    Share
  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print

Which burns more calories, walking or running?

Asked by Michael, Galesburg, Illinois

Open quote
Close quote

I have read and heard from other people that running and walking a mile burns the same number of calories. I have compared the two on a treadmill and the difference is astounding! Walking = 92, running = 158. I understand that treadmills don't show an accurate count of calories burned, but these numbers are so different. Is this true?

Expert Bio Picture

Diet and Fitness Expert Dr. Melina Jampolis Physician Nutrition Specialist

Expert answer

Hi Michael!

I'm not sure where you heard that running and walking one mile burns the same number of calories, but as you found out with your experiment, this statement is not correct.

Distance itself does not really determine total calories burned. How long you exercise, how fast/hard you exercise, how much you weigh, and your fitness level are the major determinants of calories burned.

According to the website http://www.caloriesperhour.com/, a 200 pound man would burn 113 calories walking 1 mile at a pace of 4 miles per hour (total exercise duration = 15 minutes).

The same man would burn 151 calories running a mile at a pace of 6 miles per hour (total exercise duration = 10 minutes).

And if you were strolling for a mile at a pace of 2 miles per hour, you would burn 113 calories but it would take you twice as long (total exercise duration = 30 minutes).

This may be where the confusion takes place. You burn fewer calories exercising at a lower intensity, but if you exercise for a longer period of time, in some cases, as with walking at 2 miles per hour versus 4 miles per hour, you may burn the same total number of calories.

Exercising at a higher intensity burns more calories per minute, which is much more relevant than distance. In addition, if you weigh more, you burn more calories doing the same activity (this is just something to keep in mind. I'm not suggesting that you gain weight to increase the number of calories that you burn!).

Also, if you are more fit, you actually burn fewer calories doing the same activity, but the good news is that you burn more calories from fat when you are fit.

The bottom line is that more intense exercise, like running, is a more time efficient workout. However, many people, including myself, are not able to run because of injury or arthritis. In this case, exercise as intensely as you can, but realize that you will have to exercise for a longer period of time to burn the same number of calories.

This is why the physical activity recommendations for adults are either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (brisk walking) per week or 75 minutes of vigorous (running or jogging) physical activity per week in addition to strength training.

You can also try walking on an incline (or hills) to increase calorie burn or alternating running and walking (interval training), which is great for people just starting a more intense exercise program or looking to improve their overall fitness level.

Have a question for our doctors? Ask it here

More Q&A

  • CNN's Medical UnitCNN's medical unit brings you the best experts available to answer your questions about current events and health issues that matter most to you.
Will jogging hurt an obese person's joints?asked by: Asked by John Simmet; St. Paul, Minnesota
Is creatine a safe supplement?asked by: Asked by Ralph; New York
What foods cause flatulence?asked by: Asked by Peter; United States
Quick Job Search
keyword(s):
enter city:

CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.

The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.