Walking is the most common exercise, and many walkers like to count how many calories are burned.
Little known, however, is that the leading standardized equations used to predict or estimate walking energy expenditure — the number of calories burned — assume that one size fits all. They’ve been in place for close to half a century and were based on data from a limited number of people.
A new study at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, found that under firm, level ground conditions, the leading standards are relatively inaccurate and have significant bias. The standards predicted too few calories burned in 97 percent of the cases researchers examined, said SMU physiologist Lindsay Ludlow.