Assuming that I'm travelling the same route between two points how do walking, running and biking compare with one another?

My instinct is that calories per mile (metre, kilometre, or what have you) running is going to burn the most calories, but am I correct?

Are there formulae for this?


You are correct. Running consumes 110 calories per mile. Calories consumed when cycling depends upon the speed at which you cycle (due to air resistance). Cycling at 15 miles per hour will burn just 31 calories per mile.

Calories Burned Running Vs. Cycling

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I imagine that the gear of the bike would be as big, if not bigger, of a factor than the miles per hour. – Moses Sep 18 '12 at 18:39
  • Interesting question. It turns out the total work done is the same whether you spin fast in a low gear or mash slow in a high gear. That is assuming you are travelling at the same speed in each scenario. In the first case it is easier to pedal one revolution, but you need to pedal faster. In the second case it is harder to pedal one revolution, but you don't need to pedal as quickly. – Kenshin Sep 19 '12 at 2:04
  • Measuring it by distance is a bit misleading since few runners run the distances that bikers ride. A more meaningful measurement would be calories-per-hour, which has far less difference. – Carey Gregory Sep 20 '12 at 15:31
  • IIRC, running and walking have a very similar calorie-per-mile expendiature. – Nathan Wheeler Oct 1 '12 at 15:10
  • @CareyGregory my specific reason for being interested in calories by distance, is the distance from home to office does not change. I'm interested in the impact of mode of transport on my commute. – Simon Withers Oct 30 '12 at 2:57

From http://caloriecount.about.com/activities-bicycling-ac1, http://caloriecount.about.com/activities-running-ac12 and http://caloriecount.about.com/activities-walking-ac17 and then converting cal/h to cal/m for various speeds:

  • Running 10mph burns 1088cal/h so 109 cal/mile
  • Running 8mph burns 918cal/h so 115 cal/mile
  • Running or walking 5mph burns 544cal/h so 109 cal/mile
  • Walking 3mph burns 225cal/h so 75 cal/mile
  • Cycling 10mph burns 408cal/h so 41 cal/mile
  • Cycling 15mph burns 680cal/h so 45 cal/mile
  • Cycling 20mph burns 1088cal/h so 54 cal/mile

I suspect that either the 8 or 10 mph running number is slightly off, but clearly running/brisk walking is far more calorie burn per distance efficient than walking.

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