Ester Marsh column: Running and weight loss

Published 12:30 am Monday, December 8, 2014

Does running make you lose more weight? Besides eating healthy and/or fewer calories, the reason running has had more success with weight loss is that you typically burn more calories while running. I say typically, because some people can burn more calories walking fast than running slow!

If you continue to eat the same and don’t add calories AND start exercising, you normally will lose weight. If you eat more calories because you are “exercising” you will stay the same or even gain weight. So your food intake and exercising go hand in hand.

I found a couple of calorie “burner” charts online and took an average of the calories burned between the different charts. The following are averages for a 138-pound person who exercises for 30 minutes. To get exact calories burned is a huge process, and a sports medicine department, many colleges and our Research Center in Kannapolis have the equipment and skilled personnel to get your exact, calories burned “number.” The cost for that is often very high.

The following numbers are averages and show the higher the intensity of the workout, the higher the number of calories burned. Again, this is for a 138-pound person: Walking a 15-minute per mile pace for 30 minutes burns around 150 calories. Walking a 13-minute per mile pace would burn about 166 calories. Running an 11.5-minute per mile pace would burn 298 calories. A 9-minute mile pace, 364 calories. An 8-minute mile pace, 414 calories. A 7- minute mile pace, 480 calories. A 6-minute mile pace, 546 calories.

See the pattern? The higher the intensity, the higher the calories burned in the same amount of time. Now, don’t forget, the higher the intensity of your workout, the higher the risk of injury and/or overuse. Running is not for everyone. I would check with your doctor if you are thinking of starting a running program to make sure that running is for you. I highly recommend a running program led by skilled runners, trainers and physical therapists.

Anyone interested in starting a safe running program can join the Salisbury Rowan Runners, which runs its program in conjunction with Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and Salisbury Parks and Recreation. The beginning runners class starts Jan. 5 at 5:45  p.m. at First united Methodist, 217 S. Church Street, in Salisbury and will run for eight weeks. Each night begins with a 30-minute classroom session on such topics as nutrition, stretching and strengthening, shoes and other needs, safety, running form, injury prevention and much more.

After the classroom session, participants will run/walk for 30 minutes. At the end of the eight-week program, all participants will complete a 5K run/walk. For this session it will be the UMW run/walk for Missions 5K. The fee for the program is $65 and all participants receive a one year membership in the Salisbury Rowan Runners, a club shirt and free entry into the UMW run/walk for Missions 5K. The fee is payable on the first night. Please contact David Freeze at 704-310-6741 or Steve Clark at 704-216-2709 with any questions. Or you can go to their websites: or 

Whether you’re wanting to lose weight, need support for reaching your New Years resolution and maintaining a healthier lifestyle, or want to develop a new hobby and make new friends, check it out. It truthfully is a place for every pace! Check with your doctor to help determine if a running program is for you and join Salisbury Rowan Runners.

Ester Marsh is health and fitness director for the JF Hurley YMCA and a member of Salisbury Rowan Runners.