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How Many Calories Do You Burn Running a Mile?

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You can expect to burn approximately 100 calories for every mile that you run. This is a general estimate, as the exact calory burn may vary for each individual.

Running is a fantastic form of exercise for many reasons. Everyone knows it is an excellent form of cardiovascular activity, can help prevent osteoporosis, and is great at improving mental health.

Another perk of running is it can burn an awful lot of calories very efficiently.

Calories Burned Per Mile

The general rule of thumb is to estimate you will burn approximately 100 calories for every mile that you run. Some runners burn more and others less.

There are certain things that influence how many calories you burn. More on that later. 

One of the biggest contributing factors that determine how many calories you will burn in a mile of exercise is the body weight of the runner. 

5 Factors that Contribute to the Number of Calories Burned

If you are wondering about your calories burned while running, you do need to know that the answer is not the same for every person, nor is it the same for every run.

These are the factors to take into consideration:

  1. Weight: The weight of the runner is one of the biggest contributing factors.
  2. Speed: The faster you run, the more you burn.
  3. Duration: Running for a longer period of time also contributes to caloric burn. Now recognize that running for an hour in slow but steady-state burns differently than racing for an hour.
  4. Intensity: This is another important factor. You can only keep up a strong intensity for so long. Also, changing the intensity (such as in a HIIT workout) can torch the fat burning in your body.
  5. External Factors: These are things such as air temperature, elements such as wind, hills, etc.

What Do We Really Mean When We Say Burning Calories?

When people discuss dietary requirements and/or restrictions, there are many different terms that arise. Even though we think of calories in relation to food and diet, a calorie is actually a unit of heat energy.

The amount of energy needed to raise 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius is a calorie. In the human body, we use calories to measure how much energy your body requires to function. 

Since foods contain calories, and different foods have varying calorie counts, each food item you take into your body has a unique amount of potential energy. 

This is one reason many nutritionists and athletes want you to view food as fuel, and not to villainize any food sources. 

Burning Calories vs Burning Fat

During exercise, your body first goes to burning the calories from the food you have taken into your body. In addition to that, your body stores carbohydrates which are also burned as fuel for exercise.

Calories burned from carbohydrates are like energy calories. If you are trying to lose weight, you want to burn fat.

When you engage in aerobic exercise, your body starts to move through basic stages that lead you to where you are burning fat. Your optimal fat-burning zone occurs if you are at a steady state of exercise, working at somewhere from 50-70% of your V02 max. Notice this is not an all-out exercise. 

You can also give yourself a burning edge if you vary the intensity throughout the workout. Your body responds well to giving it changes both over the course of a week and individual workouts.

It is also true that having more muscle burns fat more efficiently. So spending time with the weights is time well spent.

Optimizing Your Running Regiment for Calorie Burn

If your focus is calorie burn, there are things you can do to maximize the potential. First, you can mix up your training. There are benefits to doing different intensity workouts over the course of a week and training cycle.

If you do all of your running at one steady state, neither your running nor your weight loss will benefit. Make sure that if you run hard one day, you run easier the next.

Next, you should incorporate some high-intensity interval training into your workout. That is another way to torch your calorie-burning potential.

Since muscle burns more than fat does, working strength training into your regiment is another way to burn more calories. 

Lastly, try doing different types of workouts such as hill workouts or speed work. These are great for both your running and your overall fitness!

Running vs Walking: Calories Burned Per Mile

While walking is a very good source of exercise, if you are looking to burn calories, you get almost twice the bang for your buck with running.

Since running is more intense you burn more calories; however, since walking a set distance takes longer, you can still get a fair amount of workout in. 

Calories Burned During Cardiovascular Activities

If you are looking to burn calories, there are a lot of different cardiovascular activities you can participate in.

Keeping in consideration the different things that come into play and determine the exact number you burn, some forms of exercise get you a higher burn than others. 

Calories Burned in 30 Mins: Activites125-pound person155-pound person185-pound person
Gymnastics: general120144168
Walking: 3.5 mph (17 min/mi)107133159
Walking: 4 mph (15 min/mi)135175189
Walk/Jog: jog <10 min.180216252
Hiking: cross-country170216252
Rock Climbing: rappelling227282336
Skiing: downhill180216252
Swimming: general180216252
Swimming: laps, vigorous300360420
Running: 5 mph (12 min/mile)240288336
Running: cross-country255316377
Running: 6 mph (10 min/mile)495360420
Running: 7.5 mph (8 min/mile)375450525
Running: 10 mph (6 min/mile)453562671
Bicycling: > 20 mph495594693
Football: competitive270324378

Also, remember that the heavier you are, the more you will burn. 

Making Healthy Nutritional Choices

If you are working to increase your caloric burn, it is also in your best interest to make good food choices. Sure, there are many things that taste great… but are they good choices?

It does not pay to spend a ton of time on the track or in the weight room if you are going to undo all of that by taking in high-calorie food that does not have big nutritional benefits. 

Looking at food as fuel is a mindset shift that can make a big impact on your body. I am not suggesting you cut things out of your diet completely, just that you are intentional about eating. 

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