Does Running or Walking Burn More Calories?

One method keeps burning long after you have finished your workout.

Ben Greenfield,
October 26, 2011

Q. Does running or walking burn more calories?

A. I remember my exercise physiology professor posing this question to the class. If a personal runs one mile, do they burn more calories than if they had walked that one mile? Technically, the answer is no. According to physics, if all you're moving is your body, and you're traveling by foot, you burn the same amount of calories getting from point A to point B.

However, the true answer is actually more complex. When you run, you consume more oxygen, so your body has to pay back that oxygen debt by consuming more calories for several minutes or hours after you finish running. That is called a "metabolic-boosting" effect. The hormonal fat-burning response to running is also greater! So the answer is: both walking and running burn the same amount of calories during exercise, but running continues to burn far more calories after you're done!

Running image courtesy of Shutterstock