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Burn Twice as Many Calories Running

Ed Yourdon / flickr

One of the great misconceptions of exercise is that it doesn't matter if you run or walk because you burn the same 100 calories per mile.

Truth is, you do burn approximately the same number of calories if you run or walk the same distance, but the net effect is not the same. At least, not if you have a busy life with limited time to exercise.

The reason: Just look at the number of calories you burn per minute, not per mile. For example, if you were to walk one mile at three miles per hour on the treadmill, it would take you 20 minutes. If we assume 100 calories per mile, then you're burning five calories per minute of exercise. Three miles per hour is a 20-minute mile pace.

But if you were to run one mile at an eight-minute mile pace (7.5 miles per hour), the mile would take eight minutes and burn the same 100 calories. This would result in a caloric expenditure of about 12.5 calories per minute.

So, the reality is that running (or more importantly, exercising at a higher intensity) results in a caloric expenditure of 2.5 times as many calories per minute than walking in the example given.

Your best hope to drop pounds fast is to do exercise that maximizes your calorie burn per minute. In other words, work harder, not longer. Sure, you always want to slowly increase your intensity of training to avoid injury, but your ultimate goal should be to work up to a higher intensity workout.

Another way to think about it: Would you rather take 20 minutes to burn 100 calories or do it in eight minutes?

Michael Boyle is one of the world’s leading experts in the area of performance enhancement and the owner of StrengthCoach.com. He is also the author of Functional Training for Sports.

Tags: Outdoor Recreation, Walking, Running, Metabolism, Weight Loss, Calories