If weight loss is your goal, you might wonder how many calories running for 15 minutes burns. Running is a more intense activity than walking or jogging, and it burns a significant number of calories. But not everyone will burn the same number of calories in the same amount of time.
How many calories you'll burn running for 15 minutes depends on how fast you run and how much you weigh.
Factors Determining Calorie Burning
In 15 minutes of running, the calories you will burn depend on how fast you are running and how much you weigh. Here's why:
Intensity: How hard your muscles, lungs and heart are working during an activity equates to intensity, and intensity equates to calorie burn. The harder you work, the more calories you'll burn, explains the Mayo Clinic.
Body weight: Theoretically, the heavier you are, the harder you have to work to move your body through space.
These are not the only factors affecting calorie burn. People who have more muscle mass may burn calories at an increased rate. Conditioning also plays a role: An experienced runner won't have to work as hard as a beginner to run the same distance at the same pace.
Calories Burned Running 15 Minutes
Wearing a heart rate monitor is the best way to accurately measure your calories burned. However, you can get a basic idea using estimates for the general population.
Harvard Health Publishing offers estimates for people of three different weights running at different speeds:
If you weigh 125 pounds, you'll burn 120 calories running for 15 minutes at a pace of 5 miles per hour, 150 calories at 6 miles per hour, 165 calories at 6.7 miles per hour, 188 calories at 7.5 miles per hour, 218 calories at 8.6 miles per hour and 248 calories at 10 miles per hour.
If you weigh 155 pounds, you'll burn 149 calories running for 15 minutes at a pace of 5 miles per hour, 186 calories at 6 miles per hour, 204 calories at 6.7 miles per hour, 233 calories at 7.5 miles per hour, 270 calories at 8.6 miles per hour and 307 calories at 10 miles per hour.
If you weigh 185 pounds, you'll burn 177 calories running for 15 minutes at a pace of 5 miles per hour, 222 calories at 6 miles per hour, 244 calories at 6.7 miles per hour, 278 calories at 7.5 miles per hour, 322 calories at 8.6 miles per hour and 367 calories at 10 miles per hour.
These estimates are all for running on a flat surface. If you run up hills outside or adjust the incline to a higher percentage on the treadmill but maintain the same pace, you will burn considerably more calories.
Read more: 12 Essential Tips for New Runners
Running for Longer and Harder
A review of research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in November 2019 concluded that any amount of running is associated with a lower risk of death from all causes. That's as good a reason as any for running 15 minutes each day.
Doing this five times a week will help you meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendation that adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week. Running counts as a vigorous-intensity exercise.
If you can add extra minutes to that — or even double it — you will get even more benefits for weight maintenance and heart health.
Not only that, the British Journal of Sports Medicine review also found that running reduced the risk of death from cancer by 23 percent. This could be due to running, or it could be the fact that runners — and all active people — tend to lead healthier lifestyles in general.
Remember that it's also a good idea to mix things up. On your days off from running, try cycling, which can also burn a lot of calories. And make some time for resistance training, which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says adults should do at least twice a week for additional health benefits.
- British Journal of Sports Medicine: "Is Running Associated With a Lower Risk of All-Cause, Cardiovascular and Cancer Mortality, and Is the More the Better? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis"
- Mayo Clinic: "Exercise Intensity: How to Measure It"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition"