Walking Goal: Speed or Distance?

Just Me
on 8/13/05 5:50 pm - Happy Place, TN
Found this informative. It is a question with answer... found at http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/2028.html I have a question about walking for weight loss. My walking buddy believes the theory of walking distance is what helps you lose weight best versus my theory that it is the speed at which you walk that matters. So, could you help me figure this one out? Which matters most in ultimate weight loss: speed or distance? Sincerely, Speed walker Dear Speed walker, That's a very good question. Your buddy feels it is the duration of the activity that matters. S/he is correct in thinking that the longer one works out, the more calories s/he will burn. You are also correct in assuming that the more intensely one exercises, the greater the caloric expenditure. To illustrate, consider the numbers for each pace listed below for the average 150-pound person: Pace:2 mph Calories expended per minute: 3.6 Calories expended per Mile 108 Minutes per mile: 30 One hour total: 216 calories Pace: 4 mph Calories expended per minute: 6.6 Calories expended per Mile: 99 Minutes per mile: 15 One hour total: 396 calories Based on the figures above, the faster the pace at which a person walks, the more calories per minute s/he will use. If two people walk for the same amount of time, the speedier walker obviously will expend more calories. It also appears that at a slower pace, a person burns slightly more calories per mile, since it takes him or her more time to reach a mile. The slower paced person burns approximately 9 more calories per mile, which, by the way, is not very meaningful in terms of weight loss. (Theoretically, a person needs to expend 3500 more calories than s/he takes in to lose one pound of fat.) These numbers are approximations and vary according to body composition, with a more muscular person expending slightly more energy (calories) than a less muscular person. Intensity and duration of exercise are mutually exclusive. It is hard to stay active at the highest intensity for a long period of time. Most times, exercise is either at a higher intensity for a shorter period of time, or at a lower intensity for a longer period of time. A benefit of walking at a faster pace is that it helps improve cardiovascular function and fitness level. In time, a person who trains at higher levels of intensity can slowly increase his or her exercise time, building up endurance. A benefit of walking at a slower pace is that it allows a person to stroll for a longer duration before becoming tired, which helps to build up endurance. In time, a person can slowly increase the intensity (speed up his or her walking), improving his or her level of fitness. Improvements in fitness occur by increasing the body's use of oxygen (a.k.a., oxygen consumption). Whether the intensity is high and duration is short, or the intensity is low and duration is long, relatively the same amount of oxygen is utilized and the same number of calories is expended. One mode of exercise is no better than another -- for intensity or duration. What really counts is to be consistent in any activity you choose to do. Mixing it up -- some days going for intensity -- shorter, faster walks; some days going for endurance -- longer, slower walks -- can keep you on your toes (pun intended). It can also make your exercise routine more interesting, fit into any schedule, and keep you and your buddy satisfied and happy.
on 8/18/05 8:48 am - Loserland, GA
Great info......thanks for sharing. Pattyp
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