How Much Running to Burn 500 Calories? What You Need to Know

Although there are tons of methods to burn calories and work out, running remains the most popular and successful form of exercise known to humans, despite being the most ancient one.

Despite that, there are many questions that new runners may ask, and one of the most popular questions is “how much running to burn 500 calories?”

The reason why there’s no clear-cut answer to this question is that it varies depending on a wide variety of factors.

With that said, an average adult who runs at a conversational pace is expected to burn 500 calories after running for a little over 35 minutes or around 2.3 to 3.5 miles.

However, burning calories alone isn’t enough to lose weight, as there are other aspects that you need to keep in mind to make the most out of your runs. Keep on reading this guide to find out more about them!

How Many Calories Are Burnt While Running?

Calculating the exact number of calories burnt during an exercise is quite tricky because there is a huge variety of factors that come into play when you want to figure it out.

Yet, we can still have a rough estimate of how much running to burn 500 calories based on scientific data.

According to a chart released by the American Council on Exercise, running at an average pace would burn around 11.4 to 17 calories per minute.

For example, a runner who weighs 120 lbs will burn around 11.4 calories every minute spent walking while a runner who weighs 180 lbs will burn up to 17 calories in the same amount of time.

Since the average person weighs around 150 lbs, around 14.1 calories are expected to be burnt for every minute spent running. By doing the math, how much running to burn 500 calories, you should expect to burn 500 calories if you maintain the same pace for a little over 35 minutes.

Since the average pace for a runner is anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes per mile, you should expect to run a distance of around 2.3 to 3.5 miles in order to burn 500 calories.

But once again, all these numbers are meant to give you a rough estimate of the amount of running needed to burn these calories, but the numbers can still vary depending on the factors that we’re going to discuss in the following section.

How Much Running to Burn 500 Calories?

Factors That Affect the Number of Calories Burnt While Running

As previously mentioned, several factors can impact the number of calories burnt, so let’s have a quick look at each one of them:

The Intensity and Distance of the Run

Calories are burnt to release energy. The longer your run, the more energy you’re going to need, and therefore, the more calories burnt. However, the intensity of the run will also affect the number of calories burnt.

For example, if two runners of identical body structures run on the same terrain but at two different paces, they’ll end up burning a different number of calories.

According to a 2014 study that calculated the energy expenditure of different running speeds from walking to intense running, it was found that running the same distance at a relatively high intensity would yield a larger number of calories burnt.

Intensity doesn’t only have to be in running speed, but it can also be in the difficulty of the terrain, whether it’s not flat or have a steep incline angle.

Body Weight

The larger your body weight is the more calories that you’re going to burn for the same exercise. Based on the findings of the previously mentioned chart, heavier runners burned more calories per minute.

The reason here is that the heavier the body, the more muscles and tissues that need to be lifted and moved during an exercise, and therefore you’ll burn more calories.

Therefore, if you’re around 120 lbs in weight, you should burn an average of 11.4 calories per minute.

Meanwhile, if you weigh 180 lbs, you’ll end up burning around 17 calories per minute at the same exact pace and terrain.

How Much Running to Burn 500 Calories: Woman Running

Age and Gender

The number of calories burnt will also vary by age, even if you maintain a similar weight. A 2016 study that investigates the weight loss patterns of people at different age stages showed that humans’ metabolic rate starts to decline steadily after 30 years old.

Similarly, another study that investigates the differences between males and females in weight loss patterns showed that males on average will burn more calories than women. According to that study, men respond differently to initial, rapid weight loss than women

Metabolic Rate

Even when you’re sleeping, your body still burns a lot of calories to sustain bodily functions, such as breathing, digestion, circulation, enzymatic reactions, tissue regeneration, and more.

All these calories fall under what is known as the “Basal Metabolic Rate”, or BMR for short. This one describes the minimum number of calories that you burn throughout the day.

A few factors will affect a human’s BMR, such as age, weight, height, and gender. Luckily, there are several online calculators out there to help you measure your own, using the Harris-Benedict formula.

The BMR of an average male will fall anywhere between 1,600 to 1,800 calories while an average female will burn around 1,400 to 1,600 calories.

Although physical activity doesn’t affect the BMR directly, being generally more active will increase your resting metabolic rate, which ends up causing weight loss at a higher rate.

In other words, people will burn more or fewer calories while running depending on their metabolic rates.

Time of the Day

This one is a minor factor but can have an impact in the long run. According to a recent study about the relationship between energy expenditure and the time of the day, the average human burns more calories between 4 to 6 pm.

You can even use these findings to your advantage and schedule your runs during that time to benefit from the extra energy boost.

Things to Keep in Mind about Running and Weight Loss

Now that you know more about the factors that affect the number of calories burned every day, here are some important notes to keep in mind regarding the relationship between running and weight loss.

1. Don’t Rush Weight Loss

You might’ve heard before that losing weight quickly ends up coming back as fast, and surprisingly, this can be true in many situations.

A lot of people go through rigorous diets and workout routines in order to lose weight quickly. However, when that happens, the body is put under extreme stress that makes it hold on to nutrients and lose muscles instead of fats.

Instead, you want to go slow and steady to win the race! Being active and eating healthy should be a lifestyle and you need to sustain it for life, so avoid rushing weight loss at the cost of consistency.

2. Calorie Deficit Is the Golden Standard for Weight Loss

Just because running can end up burning a lot of calories doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to lose weight.

For instance, you may burn 500 calories every day and gain weight if consume more calories than you’ve burned.

For that reason, calorie deficit is considered the golden standard for weight loss, which is when you consume fewer calories than you burn every day.

To make sure that you’re losing weight, make sure that you consume around 100 to 500 calories less than the total calories that you burned a day, all the while maintaining a healthy diet that includes all the essential nutrients for the day.

3. Workout and Strengthen Your Muscles to Increase Your BMR

As previously mentioned, heavier mass burns more calories a day because it increases your BMR.

Since muscles are heavier and healthier than fats, make sure that you incorporate some weight training in your workout routine in order to increase your average metabolic rate.

4. Getting Enough Sleep and Rest Is As Critical As Running

Most of your weight loss will happen while sleeping.

Additionally, getting enough rest is critical for muscle recovery after running, so make sure that you get enough sleep at night and avoid overworking your body.

Ideally, you need to have 1 to 2 rest days every week to recover from delayed onset muscle fatigue

How Much Running to Burn 500 Calories: Man Working Out Resting

5. Running Indoors and Outdoors Burn Almost the Same Calories

Another thing you should keep in mind is that both indoor and outdoor running burn the same calories, although each one of them has its own set of pros and cons.

If you don’t have enough time to run at convenient times or it’s too cold or hot outside in different seasons, investing in a good quality treadmill like the NordicTrack T Series would be a great bang for the buck!

6. Avoid Repetition and Use Different Running Routes

As previously mentioned, running outdoors has the extra perk of enjoying different sceneries while running, so you need to make the most out of this advantage and avoid repetition while running.

After a while, running the same routes and seeing the same things can get quite boring, so you’ll only focus on the negatives of running, which end up discouraging you from running.

On the other hand, when you try out different routes and see new things, you’ll stay engaged with your surroundings and motivated to run more consistently.

For example, if you change your running routes to include different terrains, you’ll end up burning more calories than usual.

A good example of off-road runs here would be trail runs, which have rolling terrain, compared to the flat terrain on paved roads.

This is because rolling terrains will prompt your body and feet to adapt to various foot strike angles and positions.

Which end up consuming more energy and working more muscles at a higher resistance level, especially your calves.

Additionally, if done right and under the supervision of a running coach, it might help in decreasing the likelihood of some injuries by building up your tolerance.

7. Mix Up Your Cardio

While running is one of the best exercises to burn more calories, it’s still a high impact exercise.

This means that it puts a lot of stress on your joints because they’ll support the weight of your entire body with every stride and skip.

Not only that but running on its own can get pretty boring and repetitive, which we’ve already mentioned previously.

For that reason, mixing up your workout routine is quite essential for a more consistent approach.

For instance, you should consider cycling and swimming as a low impact alternative to running that still burns a lot of calories.

8. Running Is Not for Everyone

Lastly, despite being one of the healthiest forms of cardio and exercise, running is not the best way to burn calories and lose weight for everyone.

As previously established, running is considered a high impact exercise that puts a lot of stress on your joints.

Despite burning the most calories among many other forms of exercise, it has a relatively high risk of injuries when compared to other low impact alternatives.

This heavy impact makes it not suitable for everyone, as some people are more likely to suffer from the drawbacks than the benefits, such as those who suffer from recurrent knee and ankle injuries.

Final Thoughts

This marks the end of today’s guide that answers the popular question “how much running to burn 500 calories?”

As you can see, running is a great form of exercise and will burn more calories than almost all other forms of exercise.

For the average adult, running at an average pace for 1 mile burns around 100 to 120 calories, so it would take around 2.3 to 3.5 miles to burn that many calories or a little over 35 minutes at a conversational pace.

With that said, you should know that these numbers are rough estimates that can vary depending on the factors that we’ve mentioned in this guide.