Half Truths (Walk a Mile/Run a Mile…It’s All the Same)

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Earlier in the week I wrote about stuff that I feel is overrated. I alluded to something that I feel gets mentioned quite a bit in the fitness community, and that I feel needs some sort of clarification. Namely, I’m referring to the notion that it doesn’t matter if someone walks a mile or runs a mile, you’ll still burn 100 calories; or 80, or 90, or how bout I don’t give a crap, I’m just trying to make a point. I’m sure someone is going to write me saying “Tony it’s actually 82.56 kcals/mile, you’re so stupid. Everyone knows that, gosh!” Haha, and I’m the nerd because I bring my home made light saber replica to the local mall to pick up chicks? Pffffft, whatever.

Anyways, while it’s absolutely true that given a distance, one will burn the same amount of calories whether they walk or run, it’s really a half truth. As Mike Boyle has stated many times, it’s true, except when you take a 20 minute workout (for example).

Walk 20 minutes (at 2.5 MPH)= 1 mile= 100 kcals/mile. OMGFATBURNINGZONEYOUWILLGETRIPPED!!!!

Now take someone and have them run/jog for 20 minutes (8 minute mile pace). They cover two and a half miles and end up burning 250 kcals in the same amount time.

Whenever someone says it doesn’t matter if you walk or run, they’re simply wrong (and should be punched in the throat). They don’t take into context the amount of time it takes to accomplish the task at hand (someone can jog a mile faster than they can walk a mile). What really matters is how many kcal/minute they’re burning. I’d rather have someone go hard for ten minutes and increase the amount of kcals/minute they’re expending (which will increase their EPOC), then have them go slooooooooow for 45 minutes.

Unfortunately, most people would rather go longer than go harder. People still insist that there is such a thing as a “fat burning zone,” which is another half truth, but a can of worms I don’t want to open at the moment. And to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of advocating people go for jogs either, but I just wanted to clarify that it’s asinine to say that walking a mile and running a mile burns the same amount of calories without putting things into context. You know, like making sense.

EDIT: Ceaze left a comment that it’s NOT “absolutely true that given the same distance one will burn the same amount of calories.” He even gave a link to a nice research review to back it up: Energy expenditure of walking and running: comparison with prediction equations. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Dec;36(12):2128-34.

1. Thanks for the link Ceaze.

2. Oh, by the way, you’re officially banned from this blog for two weeks for making me look like an ass. GET OUT!!!!!…….;o)

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