Incline walking vs running

Incline walking vs running, what’s better for weight loss

Last updated on June 3rd, 2020 at 11:20 pm


Jogging burns more calories than walking, but little changes in your walking pattern can help you burn more calories than jogging. 

Yes, we are going to talk about the incline walking vs running and how to make accelerate the calorie-burning process. Some also call it uphill walking.

Many people are either unwilling or unable to go for daily jogging because of numerous reasons, while some are just afraid of losing hard-earned muscle mass, others are just too heavy for the jogging. 

Let’s learn the difference between incline walking and running. 

incline walking vs running

Incline walking vs Running:

Calorie burned:

A person weighing 180 pounds will burn different calories at different workout intensity. 

  • 20 min walk at 3mph will burn 105 calories
  • 20 min 10% incline walk at 3 mph will burn about 200 calories
  • 20 min of 15% incline walk at 3 mph will burn about 255 Calories
  • 20 min Jogging at 0% inline at 5 mph burns about 235 Calories.

Results are clear, if you are looking to burn the maximum amount of calories without putting much stress on the body, then 15% incline might be the best option for you. 

Uphill walking or treadmill incline, what’s better?  

Now, many of my students were in the dilemma of choosing between hills or treadmill for incline walks. 

Climbing hills are always fun and go great for group or family activities, but when it comes to the systematic calorie burning process I choose treadmills. The fact is, not all the hills are created equal, some of them have steep incline and others are not sloppy enough.

Treadmills allow you to set the incline much more accurately and it also allows me to track the distance, time and heart rate. 


What is the best? Running or incline walking.

Being a fitness personal for more than two decades, still, I can’t really choose one. 

I have been asking my clients and students to switch between different activities to avoid plateau and accelerated progress. both have their own set of benefits, let’s have a look at them.

Benefits of uphill or Incline walking: 

  • Its a lot easy on the body, it won’t exert a lot of pressure on your joints. 
  • It’s a lot easy to be followed by overweight and obese people. 
  • You can walk for longer period of time
  • It won’t make you lose your hard-earned muscle mass. Many pro bodybuilders prefer incline walking over jogging. 
  • Won’t give you post-workout jitters. 

Now, let’s discuss some benefits of running. 

  • Strengthen the cardiovascular system. 
  • Challenges your mental toughness and willpower.
  • Stronger body. 
  • Still one of the best ways to lose a few pounds. 
  • Burn insane calories by running on an inclined surface. 

So whats better now? It depends on your requirements and fitness goals. I suggest people to juggle between different activities to obstruct reaching the plateau. 


Factors determining the total calorie burning. 

Calorie burning doesn’t depend on the single factor, different factors add up value to your workout and the intensity of your workout. 

Let’s have a look at top calorie-burning factors. 

1# Runner’s weight: 

Your muscles need to put the work to move your body, your body weight determines the number of calories you are going to burn. A person weighing 200 pounds will burn more calories than a 170-pound person. 

2# Strides: 

Your body burns more calories when you run with shorter strides. Try not to go for long strides, that might help you cover longer distance but will lead to low-calorie burning. 

3# Intensity: 

The intensity of your workout is the most important ingredient for success. Continually challenging your body to reach new goals will allow your body to adapt and develop itself into a stronger being. 

If running 5K is getting easier for you then you should look to run on incline surface or add any other resistance. Increasing the running speed will also add up the intensity. 

4# Motorized or non-motorized Treadmill: 

Running on a treadmill burns lesser calories than you run on road or track. The moving belt and smooth surface reduce your calories burned per mile. 

You need to fuel the non-motorized treadmill with your own energy which leads to more energy consumption. 

5# Technique: 

Steady-state running burns lesser energy than Interval training. 

Interval training is a training pattern when you run at maximum speed for 30 seconds and walks for 90 seconds, 10-15 round of interval training can help you burn down that stubborn stored fat. 


How to walk or run for weight loss: 

If you are someone walking or running to lose weight then we have got some pro tips for you guys. These are the no-bullshit tips that have been used by pro athletes to improve endurance and body conditioning. 

1# Eat to lose weight: 

The process of fat-burning starts in the kitchen. In order to lose that excess weight, you are required to maintain a “caloric deficit”. That means you need to eat lesser calories then you burn. 

Visit your local nutritionist to estimate your body’s daily caloric requirement. 

keto food

2# Incorporate resistance training:

Instead of following a long run, divide your run into 5-8 rounds. Complete 1-km run and perform 30 bodyweight squats, 20 pushups, and 10 pullups. 

Repeat the process 5-8 times. 

3# Fat burners: 

No matter whether you like them or not, they do wonders in the fat-burning process. 

Most of the natural fat burners contain ingredients that are proven to be very effective in boosting the body’s metabolic rate and leads to additional calorie burning. Some of the fat burners are also proven to be effective in metabolizing stored fat for energy.

4# Weighted vest 

So now you are walking or running 5K on a daily basis and now started reaching a plateau? Add more resistance to your daily workout. 

No matter if you walk or jog, you can wear a weight vest available in the market to add resistance. As we have already discussed earlier, heavier people burn more calories, wearing a 20-pound vest can help you challenge with extra resistance. 


5# Workout enhancer gel:

These are the gels designed to improve the thermogenic effect of the workout. Workout enhancer gel helps in improving blood flow and muscle activation for accelerated fat burning. 

6# Increase protein intake: 

Any physical stress leads to muscle breakdown and damage. In order to get stronger and leaner, it’s important to meet the body’s protein requirements. Solution? Having a high protein diet can help in boosting metabolism and fast-tracking fat burning process. 


Can You Trust the Calorie Display?

Most of the treadmills are displaying you estimated calories you have burned. Can you really trust the machine? Not really!

Most of the machines are not programmed to calculate total calorie-burning according to body weights or heart-rates. 

The only way to ensure the maximum calorie burning is by increasing the resistance through speed, incline and interval training.


Thanks for reading. Questions welcomed in the comments as always. 

This site contains affiliate links as well as general health and fitness information. Please read my Medical Disclaimer and Writing Disclaimer for more information.    

2 thoughts on “Incline walking vs running, what’s better for weight loss”

  1. How are accurate are your numbers? 20 min walk at 3mph will burn 105 calories
    20 min 10% incline walk at 3 mph will burn about 200 calories
    20 min of 15% incline walk at 3 mph will burn about 255 Calories
    20 min Jogging at 0% inline at 5 mph burns about 235 Calories.

    1. Article by Harsh Chauhan

      Thanks for the question Peter. Numbers are just to give you a rough idea about the difference in calorie burning, actually, the number of calories you burn depends on several factors like the temperature, metabolic rate, age, hormones, sleep quality, and what you had as pre-workout.
      let me know if you have any further questions. 🙂

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