Running VS Walking: Which is Better?

Is it better to walk or run? Which burns more calories?

Running and walking are fairly similar concepts; both get you from A to B. How different are they when it comes to weight loss, then? Where do the differences between the two forms of exercise lie, and which one holds the title as the better weight loss aid?

Before comparing the two activities head-to-head, it is important to note that both are beneficial. Both running and walking are proven to offer cardiovascular benefits. Another fun fact is that they have been shown to reduce a risk of cataracts with age. They are beneficial to bone density and, therefore, bone strength.

Running VS Walking

Calories Burned Per 1-Mile Walk vs 1-Mile Run For A 70-Kg (156-lb) Person

Walk Calories Burned Per Mile: 88.9
Run Calories Burned Per Mile: 112.5

Walk Calories Burned Per Minute: 4.78
Run Calories Burned Per Minute: 11.25

Walk After-Burn Per Mile: 21.7
Run After-Burn Per Mile: 46.1

Which Burns More Calories?

Does running burn more calories than walking? Well, yes and no.

If you run for 20 minutes or walk for 50 minutes, you end up burning about the same amount of calories. But if you walk for 20 minutes or run for 20 minutes, running will create the biggest calorie deficit.

So I generally tell people, if you’re short on time, kick up the intensity. If you’ve got more time, are more prone to injury or simply have an aversion to high-intensity activities, then go with a lower-intensity exercise, such as walking, biking or swimming. Just remember that the lower your exercise intensity, the lower the calorie expenditure, so how long you exercise becomes more important.

What’s So Great About Walking?

Walking has a few benefits that set it apart from running:

  • Walking is correlated with an even lower risk of high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes than running
  • Walking is ideal for joints because it is a low-impact activity
  • Lower intensity exercise, such as walking (as opposed to running which is high-intensity), burns energy directly from fat stores

Then Why Bother Running?

Now, those are all great benefits, but that does not necessarily mean that they outweigh the benefits of running. Running stacks up pretty well in comparison:

  • Running is correlated with a lower BMI and waist circumference than walking
  • Running burns more calories per hour, making it more time-efficient than walking
  • Runners controlled their weight better, so they were able to maintain weight loss long-term
  • Running suppresses the appetite and regulates hunger hormones
  • Running causes a more lasting metabolism increase even after exercise has ended

How Running And Walking Match Up

So, which is the better exercise? At the end of the day, that is really a matter of personal decision. The most important factor to consider is that intensity doesn’t have a significant impact on weight loss if you are burning the same amount of calories.

Say you do a high-intensity workout for a short period of time. You can likely burn the same amount of calories by doing a low-intensity workout for a longer time. This means that you don’t necessarily have to go for a run to burn the calories, though running will be much more time efficient. A calorie is a calorie, and the subtle differences between running and walking are unlikely to add up much.

This is reassuring for those who can’t run, but you may not necessarily want to give up the time. Running is typically recommended for its time-efficiency and lasting metabolic benefits, so how can you make walking more efficient? A quick and easy fix for that dilemma is to do weighted walks or walk on an incline. Both of these strategies will benefit your workout by increasing effort and energy expenditure.


For those who seek more personal challenge or competition, running is the way to go. The satisfaction that comes with your first mile, your first 5K, etc. is unbeatable. It also isn’t hard to find local running groups that would quickly take you in as one of their own.

On the other hand, walking at a brisk pace is a good weight loss method that can also lend itself to a social time. Get together with friends or neighbors with similar goals or bring the dog out for a walk with you.

Finally, a mix of both walking and running can be a happy medium. It can also be a useful tool for transitioning from walking into running. Don’t feel restricted to one over the other. Make the decision that is best for you. Regardless of what it seems like everyone else is doing, the exercise that you are most likely to stick with is the one that you find most enjoyable.