No, Walking Isn’t a Better Workout Than Running

By
Tracy Anderson.Photo: Sonia Moskowitz/WireImage/Getty

Celebrity trainer and frosting-shot purveyor Tracy Anderson recently told People that she prefers walking to running, which is a fine opinion to have. Or, rather, it was, until she elaborated with a bold-faced lie about how walking burns more calories than running and is thereby a more effective form of cardio.

She told People:

“You burn less calories running than walking if you aren’t able to run for very long or run very well,” says Anderson. “To really be effective and calorie-burning, you have to be able to work your body to where it’s working up a sweat, where it’s pushing into that zone of actually being optimized to be effective in the calorie-burning range, so it’s much better to go for a long and powerful walk than it is to go for a short run.”

Tracy, I’d like to refer you to this table of metabolic equivalents, or METs, representing the energy cost of various activities compared to sitting. Walking at four and a half miles per hour (or 13:20 per mile) is seven METs, or seven times the number of calories burned at rest. Running at six miles per hour (or 10:00 per mile) is ten METs. At those paces, you could either run for 30 minutes or walk for 42 minutes and 51 seconds and burn the same amount of calories.

The choice is up to you, but, no, you do not burn fewer calories from running compared to walking — unless you somehow run slower than you walk. But maybe the space-time continuum works differently in Goop land.