We compared the energy expenditure to walk or run a mile in adult normal weight walkers (NWW), overweight walkers (OW), and marathon runners (MR). The sample consisted of 19 NWW, 11 OW, and 20 MR adults. Energy expenditure was measured at preferred walking speed (NWW and OW) and running speed of a recently completed marathon. Body composition was assessed via dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Analysis of variance was used to compare groups with the Scheffe's procedure used for post hoc analysis. Multiple regression analysis was used to predict energy expenditure. Results that indicated OW exhibited significantly higher (p < 0.05) mass and fat weight than NWW or MR. Similar values were found between NWW and MR. Absolute energy expenditure to walk or run a mile was similar between groups (NWW 93.9 +/- 15.0, OW 98.4 +/- 29.9, MR 99.3 +/- 10.8 kcal); however, significant differences were noted when energy expenditure was expressed relative to mass (MR > NWW > OW). When energy expenditure was expressed per kilogram of fat-free mass, similar values were found across groups. Multiple regression analysis yielded mass and gender as significant predictors of energy expenditure (R = 0.795, SEE = 10.9 kcal). We suggest that walking is an excellent physical activity for energy expenditure in overweight individuals that are capable of walking without predisposed conditions such as osteoarthritis or cardiovascular risk factors. Moreover, from a practical perspective, our regression equation (kcal = mass (kg) x 0.789 - gender (men = 1, women = 2) x 7.634 + 51.109) allows for the prediction of energy expenditure for a given distance (mile) rather than predicting energy expenditure for a given time (minutes).
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