View Full Version : Walking...Long vs. Short stride, which is better?

08-18-2002, 08:19 PM
I was walking with my DH tonight, and I got to thinking if a person burns a different amount of calories using a long stride vs. a short stride? We do walk fast so either stride is very up temps.

Anyone have any idea?

08-20-2002, 07:58 AM
Haven't ever thought about that one. I'm more of a runner than walker, although I walk my dog enough that I guess I'm probably a walker too. My guess is that pace and heart rate mean more than stride length, especially since stride length varies so much from person to person. Race walkers don't seem to have especially long strides. The focus on toe-off, I think, to get more speed.

Leslie Ferguson
08-23-2002, 11:45 AM
To answer the question of calories burned: The length of stride doesn't specifically make a difference in the calories burned while exercising. The "rule" for calories burned depends on:
(1) Weight and
(2) Distance covered.
((Maybe gender - I don't specifically remember.))

That is to say that two 150 pound males cover 4 miles. One runs the distance in 30 minutes and the other walks the distance in an hour - they both burn the same number of calories.

In the case of you and your DH (I assume that is Darling Husband) he would probably burn more calories than you just by the fact that he weighs more than you.

Hope that helps.


08-23-2002, 07:24 PM
Thank you Leslie. My DH and I walk 5 miles on a regular basis. I am not going to tell him that he is burning more calories because he will think that he can quit sooner

08-27-2002, 07:35 AM
When I commuted to the city, I had a good 20 minute walk to my building. I developed pain in my feet on occasion. I then read about how if your feet hurt like that, you should try to shorten your stride. I did just that and the pain went away. Just something to think about! I can't see how different strides could really affect calories, though. It would seem that would depend more on the speed at which you were walking.

08-27-2002, 07:57 AM

here's a great on-line resource about the How-to's of walking: http://walking.about.com/cs/howtowalk/

The general rule of thumb for fitness walkers is that a shorter stride is better. Shorter strides are more efficient, and the impact on your shins and knees is far less. Long strides put stress on your knees, hips and back and can be a really unnatural way to walk. As you work to increase speed, the tendency is to take longer strides, but again, you risk injury. Taking shorter strides means using the muscles in your quads, calves and hamstrings to a greater degree-with more intensity- instead of reaching your legs with your back and hips. When you see race walkers, notice how they take those short strides and have that funny duck walk thing going on- they are making their lower body do the work-and to get back to your original question- they are burning more calories.

08-27-2002, 09:19 AM
Originally posted by swa
I am not going to tell him that he is burning more calories because he will think that he can quit sooner

So would my DH! LOL!
Thanks for the link. I have a BIL who does the Vokswoks (sp?).

08-27-2002, 09:20 PM
My short little legs don't have a choice. We use the short stride method.

08-30-2002, 03:41 PM
What a great thread, and very informative for me because I've been walking more at a track in my neighborhood. I have long legs and have been pushing for a longer stride, thinking I'm burning more calories. I'll definitely aim for the short-stride method, use more muscles and burn more calories. Thanks!

08-31-2002, 01:48 PM
Don't know if this mystery is as yet solved, but here's my 2 cents...

I believe it's relative - if your natural stride is long (and this has no bearing on height because I take big steps for someone 5'4"), you will probably burn calories more efficiently if you stride longer while walking for exercise. It doesn't make much sense to me for someone whose stride is naturally long to try and shorten it. If your natural stride is short, you'd be able to have endurance while taking the smaller steps, therefore burning calories efficiently striding short. You might have to take a jog-step or two to catch up with a longer-striding walking partner but that's irrelevant to your calorie burning potential. Duration of walking is more important - getting the heart rate up burns calories, even if you take "umbrella" steps...LOL.

I miss the hours of walking I did while living in NYC (pretty much my whole life). We now live in FL and people drive like psychos here - not conducive to long walks. Most of my exercise happens on an aerobic step - and when I can brave putting on a bathing suit - it will happen in the pool.