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The Running Bets

I like to bet. For those of you who have read the story about how I was a professional gambler, this is obvious. What I don't like to do is exercise. At one point in my life, these two activities joined to provide an interesting story.

I have a friend named Hayden. He likes to bet me. For a while we had a running string of bets, and I was down overall because I failed to get 10x his score in a Tony Hawk competition. At one point I was one of the top 10 Tony Hawk players in the world. That lasted for about 5 minutes until someone from Japan beat my score.

Hayden and I sat across from my kitchen table.

Fitness Myth #1: Running a Mile = Walking a Mile

On WellMentor

This is the first post in a series covering common fitness myths.

Although the title mentions walking and running, this is really a post about exercise intensity in general. There’s a common misconception among exercisers that a body will burn the same number of calories when covering a given distance regardless of pace. But the truth is that whether you’re walking/running a mile, swimming 20 laps or bicycling to the grocery store and back, you’ll actually burn more calories over that fixed distance if you cover it faster.

The rationale behind the myth goes something like this: When you move more slowly – walking a mile rather than running it, for example – it takes you longer to cover the same distance, so even though you’re burning fewer calories per minute, you’re exercising for more total minutes, so the total calories burned must be about the same, right? Wrong! The fact is, the relationship between exercise intensity and duration is not a linear one. Your total calorie burn increases more with an increase in effort than it does with an increase in time. It’s silly to think that the rate of energy expended with varying effort levels would magically correspond to units of time.

This fact is actually more pronounced with walking/running than with swimming or cycling. With swimming or cycling, you’re basically doing the same motion, only faster, but running involves significantly different body mechanics than walking does. When you walk, one foot is always on the ground, albeit for a very short amount of time. When you pick up the pace and start to jog, though, each and every stride includes something called a swing phase or recovery phase, where your entire body is suspended in the air. A split second before that mid-air flight comes the propulsion phase, where your body has to use considerable energy to become airborne. This propulsion is what makes running so much more energy-demanding than walking.

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