Ester Marsh column: Running and weight loss

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 12, 2016

Last week’s “runner’s knee” column sparked lots of conversations. Several people have asked me if running can make you lose more weight. So, I feel it’s a good follow-up on last week’s column. Besides eating healthy and eating fewer calories, the reason why 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 amount of calories but start exercising, normally you 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 am using some calorie burner charts I found 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 calculate the exact number of calories burned is a huge process. A sports medicine department, many colleges and our N.C. Research Center in Kannapolis have the equipment and skilled personnel to measure the exact amount you burn. However, the cost of this process is often very high.

The following numbers are averages and they show that the higher the intensity of the workout, the more calories are burned. Again, this is for a 138-pound person:

• Walking at a 15-minute mile pace for 30 minutes burns around 150 calories.
• Walking at a 13-minute mile pace burns about 166 calories.
• Running at an 11.5-minute mile pace burns 298 calories.
• Running a 9-minute mile pace will burn 364 calories.
• Running an 8-minute mile pace will burn 414 calories.
• Running a 7-minute mile pace will burn 480 calories.
• Running a 6-minute mile pace will burn 546 calories.

See the pattern? The higher the intensity, the more calories are 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 or physical therapists. For those interested in starting a safe running program, you can join the Salisbury Rowan Runners which runs this program in conjunction with Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and Salisbury Parks and Recreation. The Beginning Runners class starts this Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. in the lobby meeting room at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center right here in Salisbury and will run for 8 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 8-week session, all participants will complete a 5K run/walk. The fee for the program is $65 and all participants receive a one year membership in the Salisbury Rowan Runners club, a club T-shirt and an entry to a 5K hosted by SRR. The fee is payable on the first night. Please contact David Freeze at 704-310-6741 with any questions. Or you can go to SRR website:

For weight loss, motivation to reach your goals, a healthier lifestyle, a new hobby, or a place to meet new friends, check it out. It truthfully is a place for every pace and everyone will know your name!

Ester Marsh, Associate Executive Director JF Hurley YMCA and a member of Salisbury Rowan Runners.