How Many Calories do You Burn Running One Mile?
If you haven’t figured it out already, it’s impossible to target one part of the body to lose weight. Rather than targeting, you need to lose total body fat by burning enough calories to drop you below your daily intake — typically 2,600 calories for a moderately active man and 2,000 calories for a moderately active woman. (Use this chart to pinpoint how many calories you need each day.)
Or, if you’re only interested in maintaining your current weight, you need to burn and consume enough calories so that you land (on average) at your daily intake.
This information may leave you wondering: How many calories do you burn running one mile? After all, running is just about the best way to burn calories. If you’re looking to lose weight or maintain your current weight, and you’re interested in running, here’s a look at exactly how many calories you burn by running one mile.
The Faster You Go, the More You Burn
Here’s the thing: Any type of activity is better than sitting on your sofa. And, while walking is good, running is absolutely great for when you’re looking to burn some serious calories.
And you should also know: The faster you run, the more calories you’re going to burn. In fact, it’s a great idea to run a few sprints a week. You don’t even have to run sprints for very long. Just a few seconds at a full-blown sprint will do you a world of good.
Science shows that intense interval training (when you sprint, then walk or jog, and then sprint again) is a great way to get into shape and build muscle. I recently wrote about whether or not running helps build muscle. The short answer is: It does not … Unless you’re sprinting. So, find time to do some sprints, and you’ll find that you’re burning even more calories. Muscle actually burns more calories than fat, which is why you’ll burn more if you have more muscle.
Burning by Numbers
There’s no easy way to answer the question of how many calories one burns while running a mile. Why? Because so many factors come into play.
It matters whether or not you’re running on an incline or decline vs. a flat surface. It also matters what type of natural “after burn” your body enjoys — that is, how many calories it continues to burn naturally after a run or similar workout. The frequency of your runs matters, too, as your body burns calories more efficiently if you run regularly rather than sporadically.
Yes, a number of factors play into how many calories you burn running one mile. So, we’ll address the topic in averages.
On average, a man weighing 200 pounds (about average) and running a 10-minute mile should burn at least 151 calories. A woman weighing 150 pounds (about average) running 10-minute mile should burn at least 113 calories. So, if you’re an average man, running just two 10-minute miles creates a calorie deficit of about 300 calories off your recommended 2,600 daily intake. And, if you’re an average woman, running just two 10-minute miles creates a calorie deficit of about 225 calories off your recommended 2,000 daily intake. These deficits add up over time.
Remember, these are just averages, and they don’t take into account your unique body. If you’re interested in getting a general idea of how many calories you burn based on weight, distance and speed, use this calorie counter for a rough estimate.
Get Up and Go
I know what it’s like. You’re sitting at home in the cool and comfortable air conditioning, and the last thing you want to do is get out in the heat and pound the pavement for a few miles. But you have to find a way to do it. Why? Because running is just about the best way to burn calories, and it also offers myriad health benefits that you can’t find elsewhere.
I won’t get into the specifics on running-related health benefits. Click the link above for those. But know that running offers benefits that are physical but also mental. Here’s a quick list:
The physical benefits of running:
- Improves muscle strength
- Improves bone strength
- Improves lung health
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Strengthens immune system
- Can help prevent strokes
- Can help prevent diabetes
- Improves your blood’s ability to clot
- Improves and keeps skin healthy
- Lowers high blood pressure/hypertension
- Increases energy level
The mental benefits of running:
- Reduces stress
- Reduces anxiety
- Reduces depression
- Improves learning abilities
- Improves memory
- Improves focus
- Keeps the brain sharp as you age
- Improves sleep
- Improves self-esteem
- Increases dopamine
- Increases serotonin
- May decrease cravings for unhealthy food
- May decrease cravings for smoking cigarettes
- Running outside will increase vitamin D … and fresh air is always good
Yeah, that’s right: Running is good for just about everything. So, next time you’re having a hard time slipping on those sneakers and heading outside, follow the grossly commercialized mantra of: Just do it …
Things to Keep in Mind
OK, so it would be wrong to hit on all of the running-related positives without touching on some of the negatives. The biggest negative being that running can lead to some serious injuries. Here’s a look at what can happen to you while running, whether from overworking muscles or just wearing old and worn down sneakers:
- Achilles Tendentious: This is pain/discomfort/tenderness felt near the heel and lower calf. Strengthen and stretch your calf muscles to avoid this. Rest, ice, compression and elevation (the RICE method!) can help reduce symptoms.
- Shin Splints: This is pain in and around your shins. If you tend to get shin splints often you can help prevent shin splints by not running in old sneakers and also by running on softer ground rather than pavement of side walk. Here’s another trick for sufferers of shin splints: Run while wearing two pairs of socks. Trust me, it works.
- Plantar Fasciitis: This is pain in the bottom of the foot, heel and/or arch caused by inflammation of the tissue. To prevent or treat this you can roll a frozen water bottle or tennis ball back and forth with your foot.
- IT Band Syndrome: This is stinging/pain/discomfort in the area from the hip to the knee, especially on the side of your knee. This can happen from aggressively running up and down stairs/bleachers/hills.
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome/Runner’s Knee: This is pain and discomfort under or around your kneecap. If you experience this, you can take an anti-inflammatory and rest. If it persists, see a doctor.
- Stress Fractures: These are tiny breaks in the bone caused by repetitive stress. You may feel a constant dull pain in the fractured area that feels worse when running. If you think you have a stress fracture, start by taking some time off.
- Sprained Ankle: This happens when the ligaments supporting the ankle are twisted in a weird way causing stretching or tearing. Sprains typically happen if you step onto uneven surface and twist the ankle in a weird way. There may be pain, swelling or even bruising around the ankle, foot and/or toes. To treat a sprained ankle, follow the aforementioned RICE rules of rest, ice, compression and elevation.
- Pulled Muscles/Muscle Strain: These happen when any muscle is torn or stretched too far. Calf and hamstring muscles are the ones most typically pulled while running, and they can be treated at home with anti-inflammatory meds plus ice and heat. Pulled and strained muscles often make you feel stiff and swollen, and they definitely limit your range. When you try to use the pulled or strained muscle, you’ll feel a strange twinge, as if the muscle simply doesn’t want to respond to what the brain’s telling it to do. What it’s really saying is: “I need some rest.”
Final Thoughts on How Many Calories You Burn Running One Mile
Whew, this may seem like a lot to worry about when running. It’s not, I promise. If you start slow and build up to running faster and long, you greatly reduce your risk of injury.
The best way to prevent injury from running is this: Listen to your body. Take a rest day if you need to, and always make sure you’re eating enough calories to sustain energy for your muscles and always stay hydrated. You can do this while still creating the calorie deficit needed to lose weigh. In fact, a healthy combination of dieting and exercise is the best, most sustainable way to lose weight.
Oh, and one last preventative measure I would recommend: Incorporate power and yin yoga into your workouts You’ll be amazed at how complementary yoga can be to running, as well as how it will help you run safely (and injury-free) as you get older.
Have you lost weight by running? If so, let us know about your experience in the comments section below. Also, you can always send us a message directly through our contact page.
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