Although run-walk intervals may seem grueling, high-intensity interval training helps expend calories and burn fat in problem areas -- like love handles, saddle bags and muffin tops -- according to a study published in a 2012 issue of the “Journal of Obesity.” Participants in this study shed total body fat and abdominal fat, while boosting muscle mass during a period of 12 weeks. The number of calories you’ll burn during run-walk intervals depends on how hard you push yourself.
To boost your expenditure and get shredded, run for about one minute, take it easy for about a minute walking, and repeat. Complete this interval training for a period of at least 20 minutes, which is the duration completed by participants in the 2012 study published in the “Journal of Obesity.” For example, if you walk the first minute, run the next minute and repeat this interval-training regimen – ending with one minute of walking -- you'll be running a total of about 10 minutes and walking 11 minutes during each 21-minute session.
Gals who weigh 125 pounds will burn about 12.5 calories per minute running 7.5 mph and 4.5 calories per minute walking 4 mph, according to Harvard Health Publications. Therefore, if you weigh 125 pounds and complete a 21-minute, run-walk session – alternating 11 minutes of walking 4 mph with 10 minutes of running 7.5 mph -- you'll burn about 175 calories in each 21-minute, interval-training session.
The heavier you are, the more calories you’ll burn in each run-walk interval-training workout. Harvard Health Publications reports that 155-pound women expend 15.5 calories per minute running 7.5 mph and 5.6 calories in each minute they spend walking 4 mph. Therefore, if you weigh 155 pounds, you’ll burn a total of about 217 calories in each 21-minute, run-walk session -- which is 42 more calories than a 125-pound gal burns during the same workout.
If your goal is to peel away pounds, aim to burn 500 to 1,000 more calories than you eat daily, which will help you shed up to 2 pounds per week, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Run-walk interval training can help you meet this goal, especially if you’re physically active more than four hours per week, notes a review published in 2009 in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.” You don’t have to interval train during each workout. Change it up a bit to prevent muscle fatigue and boredom. Try biking or swimming during your interval-training workouts. Train with weights to get shredded and burn additional fat.
- Journal of Obesity: The Effect of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise on Body Composition of Overweight Young Males
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.