Running is probably one of the activities at the top of many New Year’s resolutions lists. After all the over-indulgence of the holiday period, many vow to take up running to renew their commitment to their overall health or as a quick way to lose weight.
Venturing out for a recreational jog is known to strengthen muscles, help develop strong bones, and, most importantly for most, burn calories and maintain a healthy weight. Running is said to burn more calories than gyming, swimming, and cycling, but how many calories are actually burned during this activity?
And more specifically – how many calories are burned from running 1 mile?
It is widely believed in the running fraternity that you burn 100 calories per mile. This may be a very simple way of calculating calories burnt and help estimate how many miles you should run. However, it is not the most accurate measure.
Many factors influence the number of calories you will burn during your run. These include body weight, running pace, gender, and age. External factors such as weather conditions and terrain are also contributing factors. Let’s examine each of these in more detail.
A Guide to Calories Burned From Running
This is a simple truth. The higher your weight, the more calories you will burn while running. This is because your body must work harder and burn more fuel if you carry more weight. A person weighing 120 pounds burns approximately 560 calories running at a pace of six miles per hour, while a 130-pound person running at the same pace would burn 607 calories.
Placed in a table, you can see clearly how the number of calories burned increases as the person’s weight increases:
|Weigh in pounds (lbs.)
|Calories burned (per hour @ 6 mph)
You can use this helpful running calories calculator for a more ‘precise’ estimate.
If you increase your speed while running, you increase your effort. This results in a higher number of calories burned. If the same 120-pound runner in the table above now runs at a speed of eight miles per hour, he will burn 674 calories, and the 160-pound person will burn 899 calories. So, if you want to burn more calories, you will have to run a little faster.
The world’s fastest mile was set by Hicham El Guerrouj in a time of 3:43.13. We’re not sure how many calories he burned in setting that record, but he’s certainly on the right path!
The good news is that you can continue to burn calories even while your body is resting after an intense run. Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) means that your body needs more energy to recover from strenuous exercise. It is not huge, but it can be as much as 150 – 200 calories.
Studies carried out to determine whether gender affects calorie consumption are largely inconclusive. However, many still assert that men burn more calories than women because they usually have more muscle mass than women. This makes them heavier than women, and their bodies must work harder during the run.
As we grow older, we start to lose body mass. This, in turn, lowers our metabolism, which is the speed at which our bodies burn calories while exercising and resting. Some studies show that after 30 years of age, we start to lose 3 to 5 percent of our body mass every ten years.
That is rather disconcerting, as aging is inevitable. One way to help your body keep its metabolism rate higher as you age is to add strength training to your exercise routine. This will help your body build muscle mass, helping it to burn calories while running.
You must have noticed that the more you do a certain exercise, the easier it becomes. It’s the same with running. The more often you run, the easier it becomes, and so you can run for longer periods and longer distances. As we discussed, more effort exerted during training will result in more calories burned.
So, in this instance, if you are only running and not adding other exercises to your fitness regimen, you will burn fewer calories than someone who has just started the sport. Therefore, if you want to continue burning as many calories as possible while running the same distance, add other exercises to your program.
Incline And Terrain
Running on hilly terrain will burn more calories than running along a flat route, and the difference in calorie consumption can be as much as fifty percent!
This is because when you run uphill, your body’s weight makes your muscles work much harder. More effort produced means more calories burned. You will also certainly feel the difference in your legs!
Here are some examples to illustrate the point.
|Weight in lbs.
|Calories per minute
|Calories per hour
When you consider adding hills to your running training, introduce them gradually. Start with inclines of 2% and gradually increase the gradient over time.
Of course, this is easier to manage on a treadmill. Your local running trails might not have the exact inclines that you’re looking for.
Similarly, running on uneven and challenging terrains increases calorie burn as your body must work harder to maintain balance. On even, smooth terrain, not as much.
Don’t limit yourself to being a fair-weather runner! Running in cool, moderate conditions may be pleasant, but there is evidence that extreme weather conditions can promote greater calorie burn.
You generally will burn more calories exercising in colder weather as your body needs to work hard to keep its core temperature at the right level. This burns calories as well as the act of running. In the same way, running in the heat also increases calorie burn as your body regulates its temperature by sweating. The more you sweat, the harder your body has to work to cool itself down.
Wind resistance also increases calorie burn. Increased intensity while maintaining speed ensures that the body works really hard.
Nobody likes running in to a headwind – especially on Race Day! – but it’s a sure-fire way of increasing the calories you burn per mile.
Calories Burned Running vs. Other Workouts
Let’s compare the calories burned by a 140-pound person for different hour-long workouts.
- Swimming at a vigorous pace – 878 calories
- Running at 6 mph – 653 calories
- Cycling at a moderate pace – 600 calories
- High-intensity gym workout – 560 calories
- Playing tennis – 550 calories
- Swimming at a moderate speed – 528 calories
- Walking at an average pace at no incline – 456 calories
- Rowing at a moderate pace – 401 calories
Running is the second most effective calorie-burning activity you can do. But the exercise you do will also be influenced by factors such as fitness level, medical conditions, etc.
Get Started Running to Burn Calories
If you are new to running and want to lose weight, here are some useful tips to keep in mind:
- Keep your running distances short at the beginning. You can slowly increase the distance once you feel stronger and more comfortable with the shorter distance.
- Start at a moderate pace. Starting at a pace that is too fast will only cause stress and injuries.
- Take a break. Your body will need time to recover, so don’t be tempted to hit the road every day.
- Choose the appropriate terrain. Start on a relatively flat surface. You can head for the hills once you feel fitter. Running on the beach looks great, but it is not easy. Be careful not to attempt it too soon, or you might hurt your calf muscles.
- Run in a group. If you run with like-minded people, you can encourage each other when training becomes difficult.
- Wear the correct foot gear. It’s important to purchase a good quality, comfortable pair of running shoes that support your feet.
- Invest in a fitness tracker or use an app to help you track the calories you are burning. They can be extremely useful if you set goals, but remember that the numbers are estimates.
Expect to Burn 93-155 Calories Per Mile Ran
When running a mile, the calories burned are based on several factors. But the average person who weighs between 120 and 200 lbs can expect to burn around 93 to 155 calories per mile of running when conditions are fair, and the route is flat.
Running is a fantastic way to rid your body of unwanted calories, and improving your fitness levels will leave you happy and content. As you continue your fitness journey, remember to vary your running activities and add other workout activities to your overall program.
You may find that over time, as you discover all the benefits running offers, you may not be as concerned with burning calories as maintaining your newfound healthy lifestyle. That would be a New Year’s resolution well kept!