Does Walking the same distance but at different speeds burn roughly the same amount of calories?

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According to a walking calorie calculator I used-

Weight 172lbs Distance walked 1 mile

Pace Duration Calories

Slow (2.5mph) 24 minutes 98

Normal (3mph) 20 minutes 96

Fast (3.5mph) 17 minutes 100

Very Fast (4mph) 15 minutes 102

Even though you burn more calories per minute the quicker you walk, walking slower takes a longer amount of time to travel the same distance so it equals roughly the same amount of calories burned?

Edit: thanks for your responses! I was aware running burns more calories per mile than walking the same distance due placing greater demands on the body/being far less efficient, I was specifically interested in walking speeds alone over the same distances?

Personal anecdote; I’ve managed to lose a significant amount of weight over the past 6 months walking 5 miles daily at a very brisk pace (4-4.5 mph average), today due to fatigue I took it easy, walked a lot slower at 3-3.5mph, felt less fatiguing but obviously took longer amount of time, a good trade off if it means I can walk at a more leisurely pace some days and burn roughly the same amount of calories over the same distance. 🙂

In: Physics

28 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

On a treadmill, the faster you run, the more calories you will burn.

Same if you go uphill.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Ultimately you’re moving the same mass (you) the same distance so the total energy required is very nearly the same.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because you moved the *same* weight the *same* distance. According to the laws of thermodynamics, it should take *exactly* the same amount of energy.

Anonymous 0 Comments

So the walking itself burns the same amount whichever way you do it. But shouldn’t exhausting yourself, sweating more etc start other processes that consume even more energy? Just wondering

Anonymous 0 Comments

There will be a difference in calories burned after the activity is over.  Intensity matters in that regard- you will basically carryover cook following more intense exercise

Anonymous 0 Comments

Its takes longer at slower speeds. So yes you are working harder and burning more cals per hour.

Anonymous 0 Comments

This is a bit of a [spherical cows](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spherical_cow) situation. From a pure physics standpoint moving a mass M over a distance D requires the same overall energy output, regardless of how long it takes you to move the mass the distance, so from a very simplistic standpoint yes, the speed is irrelevant, only the mass and distance matter.

But human bodies are in no way simplistic systems, and the reality is your body under stress does other things. Heart rate goes up (which increases calories burned). Stress hormones release which increase calorie consumption. Running engages more muscles than walking (especially in the arms and pectorals). You breathe harder which causes your diaphram to work harder and burn more calories.

So “on paper” it’s the same, but biology is complicated. Putting your body “into stress” increases calories burned. But yeah probably *fairly close* to the same, but down to the nitty gritty there will be more calories burned running than walking a mile, simply because your body has a whole bunch of survival mechanisms designed to keep you alive when it detects you’re in stress. And those systems require energy to function. “About 4% more” seems..kind of correct?

But if you reduce your body to a spherical cow than it’s all the same, just mass and distance matter.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Approximately, yes… Same distance at different speeds uses about the same energy.

To *really* test this, scientists have set up experiments measuring the amount of Oxygen burned (it involves outfitting the subjects with masks that accurately measure O2 going in and O2 coming out).

It turns out, this is very individual, but for trained male distance runners, maximum efficiency is at approximately 7 minutes per mile. That’s faster than most people expected, but there it is. (Fyi, this is all from memory, I should really track down a link to the study)

Anonymous 0 Comments

A major component of the calories burned from walking/running is the recovery. I don’t know how strenuous 4mph is for you compared to 2.5 but if you feel sore after the 4mph mile and not after the 2.5mph then you will be burning more calories by going 4.

Also efficiency can have an effect, but i think this could only become relevant at much higher speeds. The difference between your body’s metabolism is much greater during a 5min mile race and a 10min mile cooldown than the difference between 24min and 15min miles.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Walking becomes less efficient at higher speeds.

The total amount of energy expended per metre goes up as speed goes up. ([source ](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4327363/))