ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. - Running and walking can both be good for your health, but is one really better than the other for burning calories?

Viewer Kelly Hoerter wanted to know: "While running is great exercise, is it true that you can burn just as many calories walking?"

We took Kelly's question to Savannah Kent, Run Coordinator and Running Coach at Life Time Fitness in St. Louis Park.

"Yes and no," Kent said. "You're going to have to walk more miles or longer distances to burn the same amount of calories that you would running. Essentially, the harder you work, the more calories you burn."

While exact calories burned depends on many factors for each person, this estimate from Mayo Clinic provides a good example: A 160-pound person walking for an hour at two miles-per-hour would burn about 204 calories. That same person running for an hour at five miles-per-hour would burn 606 calories.

Kent says running is also more efficient for getting oxygen to your muscles, and can be good for your heart and strengthening your bones; but running still isn't for everybody-- and that's OK.

"Some people can't take the impact of running, and walking is very much less impactful than running. So walking can benefit somebody in that sense," Kent said.

You'll just have to walk more to match the calorie burn from running. Ultimately, any activity is better than doing nothing.

"Get moving at all, whether you're walking, getting on a bike, running, elliptical, anything, is really important," Kent said.


Life Time Fitness

Mayo Clinic


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