You’re burning more calories walking than you think

A new finding by SMU scientists led by physiologist Lindsay Ludlow has found that standardized equations that were previously used to predict how many calories were burned while walking were incorrect.

“Burning calories is of major importance to health, fitness and the body’s physiological status,” said Peter Weyand, a researcher in the SMU Locomotor Laboratory of biomechanics. “But it hasn’t been really clear just how accurate the existing standards are under level conditions because previous assessments by other researchers were more limited in scope.”

SMU scientists say that the old equation did not take into account height, weight and the seed of the walker like the new equation does. In reality, people are burning two to four times more calories than previously predicted.

“Our new equation is formulated to apply regardless of the height, weight and speed of the walker. And it’s appreciably more accurate,” Ludlow said.

The group’s findings were featured in the March 1 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.

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