What Burns More Calories: Walking Or Running?

Ah, the age-old question of which one is better! Which burns more calories? Is walking or running better for your fitness? All this (and more) is about to be answered!


The quick answer to which burns more calories in the same amount of time, is running. 

However, if you’re asking what burns more calories for most people, then the answer is walking!

The explanation

Kenyans, as well as a few other nationalities, are perfectly built for running long distances. They can run for hours on end, with minimal chance of injury, and well into their adulthood. 

This is because of:

Their bone structure

With narrower waists, longer legs, shorter torsos and slender limbs, these bodies are built for running quickly and effectively. In particular, their narrow hips mean a smaller Q (Quadriceps) angle, so there is far less pressure on the outside of the knees.

A high percentage of Slow-twitch fibres

Some nationalities tend to have more explosive fast-twitch fibres that are suitable for sprinting or weight lifting. However, long-distance runners tend to be genetically lean and light, with slow-twitch fibres, meaning they take much longer to fatigue.

So, with the correct bone structure and muscle fibre-type, you’ll be able to run for very long distances, thereby burning more calories. 

But, most people in the world do not have this genetic advantage! And we cannot run for long periods of time without causing injury from overuse. Running actually has the highest incidence of injury than any other sport, including boxing and rugby! Not to mention, becoming an injury-free long-distance runner takes biomechanical assessing of muscle imbalances, postural dysfunction and gradual progressions to intensity to become more efficient.

All of the running programs on work on the flexibility, stability and gradual progression principles to minimise the chance of overuse injuries developing. 

Okay, Tim, get to the point!

Here we go!

Walking has minimal risk of injury. It’s accessible to everyone, produces little impact and doesn’t require purchasing $200 shoes. Plus, it can be done for hours on end, day after day, by almost everybody! It is for these reasons as to why walking can be labelled as the best exercise for weightloss.

In essence, a 1-hour walk burns a similar amount of calories to a 30-minute run. And there are ways to up your calorie burn significantly. Walking long distances and for a long amount of time is doable, is beginner-friendly and is low impact. And, as we lose the elasticity in our muscle tissue as we get older, low-impact really is key to preventing serious injury.

The bottom line: walking or running?

If you have the right biomechanics to run without developing any ailments or injury, then for you, running is a more efficient exercise. However, if you’re not one of those people, or if you’ve not been running your entire life, then stick to walking. Walking at a fast, powerful pace, for a longer duration of time and as often as possible will burn calories and will improve your fitness. Consistency is just as good as intensity when it comes to exercise!

For more insight and expertise into walking or running, or to get your fitness on track, download your free sample of our 12WBT program here.

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