Sports Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for participants in team and individual sport activities. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Michael Bradley of the US team leads all athletes in "distance covered" during the group stage of the 2014 World Cup with 38 km (23.6 mi) in 270 minutes of play. That's about 8 mi per game (90 min), for an average speed of 5.33 mph.

How much more calories does football (soccer) burn per mile compared to running? Is it considerably more exhausting than running for 90 min straight at 5.33 mph?

I would think yes, considering Bradley and other players are in fact sprinting and resting (more tiring, I think, than medium-distance jogging), plus constantly shifting directions, which I assume requires more calories than running straight ahead (citation needed).

But is the "distance covered" metric measured this way actually analogous to running? Is 8 miles on the soccer pitch equivalent to some greater distance on a racetrack? What's the conversion rate for "distance covered" in soccer vs. running?

How much more or less calorically expensive is soccer than running?

share|improve this question
2  
Quite subjective... A football would train for 90 mins stop/start running so they would find that less tiring than a pure run. A runner would train to run that far but would find stop/start more tiring. Depends on who who speak to. – aqwert Jun 27 '14 at 5:04
1  
I find playing a football game much less tiring than running a 10K route (e.g. there has been times I played two matches in a row, but I am yet to complete a 10K run). But I'm sure that has to do with motivation as well, I personally like football much more than running, but that's just me.. As it's phrased it's hard to give a factual answer to this question. – posdef Jun 27 '14 at 9:20
    
@posdef Hoping to find something more than anecdotal evidence to demonstrate the caloric cost of playing soccer vs. running. Is there any out there? – samthebrand Jun 27 '14 at 15:00
    
"Is it considerably more exhausting than running for 90 min straight at 5.33 mph? I would think yes, considering Bradley and other players are in fact sprinting and resting (more tiring, I think, than medium-distance jogging), plus constantly shifting directions, which is more calorically expensive than running straight ahead." You think, but hard evidence would drive this point home. – ᴍᴀsᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴅ_ᴇᴅ Jun 27 '14 at 17:03
    
"...to demonstrate the caloric cost of playing soccer vs. running. Is there any out there?" Then one would have to consider the heart rate of a specific individual during these activities. This specific individual would play soccer then run with the stats you present above for comparison to provide any evidence beyond anecdotal. This would be a great find and would answer your question. – ᴍᴀsᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴅ_ᴇᴅ Jun 27 '14 at 17:05

The amount of calories you need to burn to cover any given distance is the same regardless of whether you haul ass or you take a leisurely stroll (roughly 70-80 per km, depending on body weight). Properly, you burn more the slower you go, but that is because it takes longer and you have to spend extra calories on bodily functions not related to moving; but unless we are talking about time differences in the range of hours, the difference will be negligible. The extra weight of shin guards is also negligible.

That said, soccer is physically harder that running a given distance at a steady pace, because soccer involves things that put a greater strain in the body, e.g., many accelerations to short sprints, jumping, pushing and being pushed, occasionally being kicked in the legs, etc. Then you have to take into account that just running is not mentally demanding (when I run, I usually go thinking about random stuff and snap out of it when I need to cross a road or something like that), whereas playing high-level soccer requires intense focus over long periods of time.

share|improve this answer

Personally, football is more tiring PER MINUTE for a couple of reason: -it requires a lot of non-physical effort such as observation and tactical analysis -agility is crucial, and so that takes up more calories -professional footballers have to wear additional protection gears like shin pads (compulsory), knee pads, face masks etc. which increases the weight they have to carry -professionals have to play minimum 1 game a week (given no injuries/tactical changes) and does that for a good couple of months straight -Kicking the ball in the form of dribbling, passing, shooting, headering (yes) takes up a lot more effort than purely running -It's a physical contact sport, so taking on challenges as well as making them is quite tiring -It's played in 90% of weather conditions

share|improve this answer
1  
We're really looking for responses that give definitive answers, backed up by verifiable links. Your post is excellent, and detailed, but really it's opinion-based. – TrueDub Nov 27 '15 at 21:30

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.