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Commuting calories: walk, run or bike?

New Jockology column now posted here:

THE QUESTION

Will I get a better workout by walking, running or biking my 5K commute to work?

THE ANSWER

Most commuters strive to be as efficient as possible. To get the best workout (specifically, to burn the most calories), you’re better off being inefficient. [continue reading]

A couple of interesting points have already been raised in the comments section, including one about what “net” calories refers to. In brief:

“Net” is referring to the total calories burned while moving a kilometer MINUS the number of calories you would have burned during that time just by being alive (your “basal metabolic rate”). Otherwise walking gets credited with burning a bunch of extra calories just because it takes longer.

As a rough approximation, running burns about 50% more GROSS calories per kilometre than walking, but twice as many NET calories.

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  1. barnee
    June 5th, 2009 at 19:32 | #1

    funny reading your column today. on the way to work this morning i was pondering the relative merits of a long hike/bike vs. a gym session + a nap. time saved in the gym session (we know i won’t be running…) earns me an afternoon of reading or napping? =)

  2. alex
    June 5th, 2009 at 19:58 | #2

    I think you’ve got the math right! :) You can pick your poison: either make it hurt for a short time, or keep it relaxed but stay out there for a long time. While I love getting out for the occasional long walk or bike ride, in my day-to-day life I generally opt for time-efficiency (running, in my case), in the hope that I can earn the occasional afternoon of reading and (not or) napping…

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