I have a treadmill, and my normal routine is to use it for 20 minutes, on a programme that gives me...

  • 1 min at 2kph
  • 18 mins alternating between 6kph and 9kph (one minute each)
  • 1 min at 3kph

Now the winter is receding, I'd like to swap in some walking outside instead, but am wondering how long I would need to walk to burn up the same number of calories. To clarify, I'm trying to compare my running on the treadmill with walking at a normal walking pace.

I realise that there are too many unknowns to give an accurate answer, but was hoping someone would be able to give me a rough guide.


1 Answer 1


Calories burned during walking and running is primarily dictated by distance traveled.

This means the amount of walking you need to do needs to be however long it takes you to travel the same distance you would in the treadmill.

So assuming you travel 4km on the treadmill, then you need to travel 4km outside regardless whether you walk or run. This is assuming elevation is the same. If you do an incline on the treadmill, then you need to travel the distance that you would have traveled vertically as well.

This seems unintuitive because you do burn more calories running in a given time. However, when you equate distance then you run in a shorter time frame than you would walk. There are some things like arm pumping that increase calories burned while running, but this has a negligible effect unless you are running for extreme distances.

  • Thanks, that's really helpful. According to my calculations, my treadmill routine takes me about 2.3Km (assuming the speeds are anywhere near accurate), so I'd need to walk about that distance to burn the same number of calories. Less than I expected! Mar 3, 2023 at 15:39

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