Wed, 08 Feb 2023

Activity Burn at Different PacesBy Peter Conroy, The Difference

Summary

Using data provided by Arizona State University, we analyzed Activity Burn©, or the total number of calories burned due to Activity, over various distances depending on the pace of walking, jogging, running, and cycling. The analysis revealed interesting observations including:

  • Pace on foot over any distance has a minor impact on Activity Burn, with a correlation of only 46%.
  • Jogging at 5.2 mph is the optimal "sweet spot" for Activity Burn at 18% above the average.
  • The relationship between leisure cycling speeds to Activity Burn is statistically insignificant.
  • Walking 2 miles or cycling 5 miles satisfies the recommendation of having 30 minutes of daily exercise.

Read the rest of the article below to learn about these and other interesting findings.

Introduction

If you like to walk, jog, run, or cycle for exercise, then you should be interested in knowing your Activity Burn, or how the number of calories you burn doing these activities. It might come as a surprise that your pace has a minor impact on Activity Burn over any given distance. Using the industry-standard metabolic equivalents data table [see footnote 1] provided by Arizona State University in the 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities [2], we calculated Activity Burn at different paces over the course of different distances for these different activities. Here are the most interesting observations we found in the analysis:

Observations

  • Pace on foot over any distance has a minor impact on Activity Burn, with a correlation of only 46%.
  • Jogging at 5.2 mph is the optimal "sweet spot" for Activity Burn at 18% above the average.
  • Completing a marathon should result in burning almost one pound of fat.
  • Going faster does not always produce optimal Activity Burn.
  • Increasing your speed from walking at 3 mph to an optimal jogging pace of 5.2 mph can happen in 5 months.
  • Walking faster or slower than 3 mph can burn more calories.
  • Walking 2 miles or cycling 5 miles satisfies the recommendation of having 30 minutes of daily exercise.
  • 2 miles on foot or cycling 5 miles burns about 200 to 300 calories, enough to offset a snack.
  • The relationship between leisure cycling speeds to Activity Burn is statistically insignificant.
  • The duration of bike rides drops sharply as speed Increases.
  • When cycling, you burn 15% more calories at racing versus leisure speeds.
  • Cycling twenty-five miles offsets more than half the recommended daily intake of calories.

Pace on Foot Over Any Distance Has a Minor Impact on Activity Burn, with a Correlation of Only 46%

There is little relationship between pace on foot and Activity Burn over any given distance. As shown in the graph below, the correlation between different paces and Activity Burn is only 46%. This correlation is the same regardless of the distance covered. Based on paces ranging from 2 to 14 mph, we estimate that the average Activity Burn over 26.2 miles in a marathon is 3,149 with a standard deviation of only 332 calories. The only noticeable variations from the average Activity Burn, say when the number is less than or greater than 10% of 3,149, are when people walk or jog just above 5 mph.

Jogging at 5.2 mph is the Optimal "Sweet Spot" for Activity Burn at 18% Above the Average

One of the most surprising observations from the data analysis is that there is a "sweet spot" in pace that burns optimal calories, and it is not at maximum pace. This "sweet spot" is at a jogging speed of 5.2 mph and is associated with the tallest, white bar highlighted in the graph below. We calculated that jogging at 5.2 mph burns 141 calories over one mile, which is 21 calories or 18% more than the average Activity Burn of 120 calories. This difference compounds up over long distances. Running at this optimal pace would burn 132 more calories than at the average pace over the course of a 10k and 556 more calories for a full marathon.

Completing a Marathon Should Result in Burning Almost 1 Pound of Fat

The average Activity Burn during a marathon across our observed paces is 3,149. As shown in the graph below, this exertion should result in burning almost one pound of fat, based on the general assumption that shedding one pound of fat requires burning 3,500 calories. However, critics are increasingly challenging this assumption. Newer models offer more conservative, accurate, and personalized estimates of Activity Burn than older, simpler models. These older models include measuring total daily energy expenditure using the "Weight Times 10" approximation (for example, a person weighing 200 pounds burns about 200 x 10 = 2,000 calories per day), the outdated Original and Revised Harris-Benedict Equations (published in 1919 and 1984, respectively), the Mifflin St Jeor Equation (introduced in 1990), and even the Katch McArdle Equation (introduced in 2006).

Going Faster Does Not Always Produce Optimal Activity Burn

Looking at the graph below, we find it intriguing that there are three peaks and two valleys in Activity Burn across the different paces that we examined. Simply put, and surprisingly, going faster does not always produce optimal Activity Burn. In fact, the three peaks in Activity Burn are at the slowest walking speed of 2 mph, the "sweet spot" at 5.2 mph, and, lastly, the fastest running speed measured at 14 mph. This third peak is at a speed that is beyond the world record marathon pace of just over 13 mph [3]. But even at this fastest pace, Activity Burn is still lower than at a moderate jog. There are also two pronounced valleys in Activity Burn. The first is at moderate walking speeds, bottoming out at 3 mph. The second is at medium running speeds, bottoming out when running at 9 mph. One conclusion from this graph is that if you are trying to lose weight and you have a favorite path or trail with a set amount of distance, you might consider walking slowly or lightly jogging to maximize your weight loss. Counterintuitively, vigorous levels of exertion produce less benefit than moderate levels of exertion over the same distance.

Increasing Your Speed from Walking at 3 mph to an Optimal Jogging Pace of 5.2 mph Can Happen in 5 Months

If you are just starting out with running, a competent physical trainer should advise you to stretch, start off slowly, and build up your distance and pace over time. You can complete a 10k in just over 2 hours when walking at 3 mph and in less than an hour and 15 minutes when jogging at 5.2 mph. Time is surely a precious commodity but if you are not in running shape, devoting an extra 45 minutes to walking this distance is plausible. As shown in the graph below, if you increase your speed by 0.1 mph per week starting at a moderate walking pace of 3 mph, then in just over 5 months you can reach optimal Activity Burn at a moderate jogging speed of 5.2 mph. This would also produce other health benefits such as strengthening your muscles and cardiovascular system.

Walking Faster or Slower than 3 mph Can Burn More Calories

Walking at 4 mph burns more calories than 3 mph over the same distance and, counterintuitively, our data also suggests that walking at 2 mph burns even more calories than both speeds. As shown in the graph below, walking at 4 mph or 2 mph burns 102 and 114 calories per mile, respectively, which is 7 or 19 more calories than the 95 calories burned when walking at 3 mph. This adds up over longer distances: The respective differences double to 13 and 38 calories over two miles, increase to 42 and 118 calories over a 10k (or 6.2 miles), and reach 179 and 500 calories over a 26.2-mile marathon.

Walking 2 Miles or Cycling 5 Miles Satisfies the General Recommendation to Have 30 Minutes of Daily Exercise

The graphs below show that a person can walk two miles in one hour to as little as thirty minutes and that a person can cycle five miles at leisure speeds in about 25 to 55 minutes. These are very modest time commitments, and they all satisfy the general recommendation from the medical community to have thirty minutes of daily physical exercise.

2 Miles on Foot or Cycling 5 Miles Burns About 200 to 300 Calories, Enough to Offset a Snack

The average Activity Burn over 2 miles on foot is 240 across all paces. As shown in the graph below, Activity Burn at the observed walking paces or jogging/running paces was 204 and 252, respectively. The average Activity Burn when cycling 5 miles is 270 calories across all speeds, or an average of 254 and 292 calories at leisure speeds and racing speeds, respectively. You might burn slightly fewer or more calories than the average, depending on how fast you go, but what is most important is to complete the full distance. Burning 200 to 300 calories every day is more than enough to offset a healthy snack such as a couple of pieces of fruit, one-third cup of trail mix, or a standard energy bar and is about enough to offset a less nutritious snack such as a bottle of juice with a package of pretzels [5].

The Relationship Between Leisure Cycling Speeds to Activity Burn is Statistically Insignificant

As shown in the graph below, you can increase your speed when leisure biking, but you will burn about the same number of calories for any given distance. The reason for this is that the durations of rides decrease in direct proportion to the increase in the level of exertion. The average Activity Burn over five miles at the four leisure speeds (between 5.5 and 13 mph) is 254 with a standard deviation of only 3 calories. This statistically insignificant relationship holds true for longer distances. The average Activity Burn over twenty-five miles at the four leisure speeds is 1,271 with a standard deviation of only 16 calories and the average Activity Burn over fifty miles at the four leisure speeds is 2,542 with a standard deviation of only 32 calories.

The Duration of Bike Rides Drops Sharply as Speed Increases

As shown in the graph below, the duration of bike rides drops sharply as speed increases, especially at faster leisure speeds. It takes just over ten hours to complete a 50-mile bike ride at 5 mph and just under four hours at 13 mph, which is 62% less time. That is important because four hours of exercise is already a major time commitment, perhaps feasible on the weekend or a holiday. In contrast, ten hours of cycling takes up more than half a day, only feasible on special occasions such as during vacation travel. The duration of bike rides continues to drop at racing speeds, but not as sharply. A fifty-mile trek at 20 mph takes 2.5 hours, which is 35% less time than at 13 mph.

When Cycling, You Burn 15% More Calories at Racing Versus Leisure Speeds

Activity Burn increases significantly at racing versus leisure speeds and this increase magnifies as distance increases. For example, the average Activity Burn over fifty miles of cycling at three racing speeds (15, 17.5, and 20 mph) is 2,917 which is 375 more calories, or 15% higher, than the 2,542 average for the four leisure speeds we examined (5.5, 9.4, 11 and 13 mph). Furthermore, Activity Burn at 20 mph produces the sole outlier. At this speed, Activity Burn over fifty miles spikes to 3,223, which is 607 calories greater than average for all the other speeds.

Cycling Twenty-Five Miles Offsets More Than Half the Recommended Daily Intake of Calories

The average Activity Burn when cycling twenty-five miles is 1,351 which is more than enough to offset half the recommended amount of daily caloric intake. The general recommendation for daily intake is 2,000 calories for women, so 1,351 calories are 68% of this total. The percentage is lower for men, because the general recommendation for daily intake is higher at 2,500 calories, so 1,351 calories represent 54% of this total.

Conclusion

The most important takeaway from this study is that light and moderate exertion can often produce the best results in terms of optimal Activity Burn. A slow jog at 5.2 mph appears to achieve optimal Activity Burn on foot and varying your speed has a minor impact on calories burned when cycling for leisure.What do you think? Please leave your comments below.

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Methods

We performed this study and choose Activity Burn as the main statistic to analyze because it is one of the three major components of weight management. The other two components are caloric burn excluding activity, measured with basal metabolic rate, and caloric intake from consumption.

We chose to examine walking, jogging, running, and cycling because they are the most popular forms of aerobic exercise worldwide, and we examined standard distances for each activity. The popularity of running has grown by 57% in the last decade and participation in outdoor activities like running was the major fitness trend in 2021. Nearly 29% of runners began during the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of running apps increased by 27% [6]. Cycling is also a very popular leisure activity and often a means of transportation. In 2016, around 12.4% of Americans cycled regularly. There were more than 110 million Americans who walked for fitness, almost sixty million who participated in running, jogging, and trail running, and more than forty-seven million who were active bicycle riders in 2017 [7]. Improving overall health and fitness, managing weight, relieving stress, and simple enjoyment are among the top reasons behind this participation.

We calculated Activity Burn using the following formula: Calories Burned = Metabolic Equivalents (METS) x Weight in Kilograms x Hours of Activity (holding weight constant at 180 pounds) [4]. The METS data set [1] was provided in the 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities [2], published by the Arizona State University, Healthy Lifestyles Research Center, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion. This is the leading source for METS data used in tools that calculate Activity Burn. The Compendium provides METS values for over eight hundred different activities. For activities that have an mph range, we used the average mph. For example, we assigned 13 mph to the 8.0 METS for "bicycling, 12-13.9 mph, leisure, moderate effort".

Sources

[1] Source: https://cdn-links.lww.com/permalink/mss/a/mss_43_8_2011_06_13_ainsworth_202093_sdc1.pdf.

[2] Source: https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/home.

[3] For example, the 2022 Boston Marathon was held on Monday, April 18. Evans Chebet from Kenya was the Men's Winner, after finishing at 2:06:51, at an average pace of roughly 12.4 mph. Peres Jepchirchir, also from Kenya, was the Women's Winner, finishing at 2:21:01, which is an average pace of about 11.2 mph.

[4] Source: https://thedifferenceapp.com/calculating-activity-burn-using-mets-the-old-versus-new-formula.

[5] Source: https://www.nutritionix.com.

[6] Source: https://runrepeat.com/running-statistics.

[7] Source: https://www.statista.com.

Original Source of the original story >> New Study: 'Activity Burn at Different Paces' for Walking, Jogging, Running, and Cycling. By The Difference

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