Sneak in Stats When Walking Briskly for Calorie Burn
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Dear Fun and Fit: Just listened to your radio show mentioning walking caloric burn at about 300 per 30 minutes at 150 lb weight. I’m curious on the source for that. I’ve tended to quote the legacy research to my customers of 100 Kcal per mile at a minimum of 4 mph walking pace. That calc would obviously give us 200 Kcal. I realize we are dealing with statistics here rather than VO2 measurements, but a 50% difference is profound. I certainly don’t get as much reading done on this subject as you do, hence my interest in this update.
Kim Santa Barbara, CA
Alexandra: We are (put happy adjective of choice here) that you listened to our radio show, and even more excited to learn that you paid attention! Darn girl, you even took notes! For those of you who have not yet come to the light (What is wrong with you? Our radio show was FINE), the comment Kim is referring to from our former radio show (Fun and Fit on Women’s Radio) is: “A 150 pound woman will burn more than 300 calories in 30 minutes of brisk cardio activity.”
We then followed up with these tantalizing tidbits of exercise tastiness that predominantly came from the American Heart Association:
- 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity improves overall health and helps maintain heart health;
- 40-60 minutes per day at a moderate pace helps prevent weight gain;
- 40-60 minutes per day at an intense pace may lead to weight loss.
Kymberly: Kim. love the name. So much shorter than mine and pointing to greatness! Our source for the Fun Fit Fact is Cedric Bryant, PhD who was quoted in the July 2010 Better Homes and Gardens issue (hard copy version. If you want the online version you gots ta’ pay BHG. Doesn’t everyone get their solid stats from BHG?) Cedric is the Chief Science Officer for the American Council on Exercise so we allow him to quote on our site. We’re that giving! The challenge (and fun) with stats is that 1) they can be interpreted widely and 2) the devil (sometimes confused with Alexandra) is in the details. One of those details could be that Dr Bryant and the research he cited might have been referring to a fit, not average woman… carrying some muscle mass…up a hill…both ways.
A: The chart you may be referring to when you mention “legacy research” says “a person” burns more like 200 kcal per 30 minutes. This could include males and females of undetermined fitness level . But…and that’s the key word here (nowhere else), we didn’t actually say a 150 pound woman would burn 300 calories in 30 minutes of walking— we said a brisk cardio activity. Aha! We tricked you completely inadvertently (although I try to trick Kymberly advertently on a regular basis). Do you see in that nifty American Heart Association chart where it says running at 5.5 mph can burn 660 calories for a 150-pounder? The “brisk” aspect would fall between the 200 calories burned in a walk and the 660 burned running. You know, sort of a run-walk, “Do the Hustle deal.
K: Umm, yes, well I might have said “walking” since I make up 49% my Fun Fit Facts and 12% of all other stats about 0% of the time. And a 4.5 mile pace is admittedly a brisk clip. If I am going to pick an activity from the chart I prefer the numbers for jump roping–about 375 in 30 minutes for a 150 pounder. My calves turn into lowing steers when jumping rope, mind you, but those kcals burned up look enticing! The Main Point is that the range for cals burned by any person with any activity of any fitness level can be wide and depends on so many variables distilled out for reading and radio accessibility. Actually the Main Point is to let your friends in on the action too! But only if they’re 150 pounds and walking while subscribing to our blog.
A: Whether you say “Walk like an Egyptian” or “Walk like Genesis,” the main point is to move! And to continue sending us questions and comments. Keeps us on our toes. Arrggghh, sounding more like jumping rope every minute.
Dear Readers: What do you prefer: a saunter, mosey, stroll, brisk pace, or balls-out run? And do you like to track your caloric expenditure on those walks?
Photo credits: Creative Commons