You know walking is good for you but do the calories burned walking really add up? If  you’re thinking about starting a regular fitness routine and want to lose weight, is the calories burned walking the same as the calories burned running?

Most people assume running burns more calories than walking. But is this actually true…and how much do those calorie differences count in the big picture of healthy living?

It all comes down to intensity.

Simply, the more intense your exercise is the more calories you’ll burn. This chart shows an example of a comparison for a 55 year old woman who spends 30 minutes running versus 30 minutes walking.

Time                      Speed                       Distance covered            Calories

30 minutes            9 minutes/mile            5 km                      510 calories

30 minutes            17 minutes/mile            3 km                     288 calories

To burn that same 510 calories, be prepared to spend 50 minutes walking.

Think Beyond Calorie Benefits

It’s important to understand that your walking or running workout has benefits that go beyond burning calories and losing weight – even if weight loss if your primary reason for starting a fitness routine. We already know that walking can boost your mood, increase energy, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke and tone muscle, but did you know it is good for you brain too?

Research recently published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology makes a connection between moderate exercise and brain health.

“Our study showed that for older people, getting regular exercise may be protective, helping them keep their cognitive abilities longer,” reported study author Dr. Clinton Wright of the University of Miami. Moderate exercise (think: brisk walking or jogging) slowed brain aging significantly, with people who didn’t exercise, with inactive seniors reporting a decline in cognitive ability equal to 10 years of aging.

3 Ways to Turn Up the Intensity of Your Walk

If you prefer walking to running and want to increase the calories burned walking, there are easy ways to amp up your walking workout. Short bursts of speed (also called intervals) boost the intensity of your walk, and these intervals don’t have to be long. Every three minutes, add 30 seconds of speed walking to easily bump up the calorie burn.

Another option is to bring along a set of light hand weights on your walk. Start small, with 1- to 2-pound weights, holding one in each hand and swinging them gently as your walk. To mix up your workout, stop and do weight-bearing exercises with your hand weights, like shoulder presses and bicep curls. Traditional dumbbell-style hand weights or velcro wrist weights are ideal additions to your walking workout.

Urban poling (also called Nordic walking), is also an effective way to burn more calories while walking. Research suggests by adding poles when you walk, this fast-growing workout burns up to 46% more calories!

Do What You Love

Looking at the big picture of living an active lifestyle, it’s more important to include any type of exercise into your daily routine regardless of the calories burned. Since any type of aerobic exercise is better than no exercise at all, lace up, head outdoors and get your body in motion. Your waistline and your brain will thank you for it.

PIN this to your Getting Active Boards as motivation to get out for a walk! 
How do the Calories Burned Walking Measure Up Against Running?