Does Running Burn Calories After You Stop

As a passionate runner myself, I have always been curious about the effects of running on burning calories even after we stop running. After doing some research, I have found that running does indeed continue to burn calories even after we stop running. Allow me to delve into the details and share my insights on this fascinating topic.

How does running burn calories?

Before we understand how running burns calories even after we stop, let’s first understand how running itself burns calories. When we engage in running, our bodies require a significant amount of energy to propel us forward. This energy comes from the calories stored in our body in the form of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

During a run, our muscles contract and relax, requiring energy to perform these movements. This energy is derived from the breakdown of glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in our muscles. Additionally, running also increases our heart rate, causing our bodies to burn calories to support the increased cardiovascular activity.

The afterburn effect

Now, let’s dive into the fascinating concept of the afterburn effect, also known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). When we stop running, our bodies continue to burn calories at a higher rate than usual. This is because running creates a metabolic disturbance in our bodies, causing our metabolic rate to remain elevated even after we finish our run.

The afterburn effect occurs due to several factors. One of the main contributors to the afterburn effect is the increased oxygen consumption during a run. This increased oxygen intake causes our body to work harder to return to its pre-exercise state, resulting in additional calorie burn. Additionally, running also leads to muscle damage and inflammation, which requires energy for repair and recovery, further contributing to the afterburn effect.

How long does the afterburn effect last?

The duration of the afterburn effect depends on various factors, including the intensity and duration of the run. Higher intensity runs, such as interval training or sprints, tend to have a more pronounced afterburn effect compared to steady-state jogging. Similarly, longer runs also have a more extended afterburn effect compared to shorter runs.

Research suggests that the afterburn effect can last anywhere between 12 hours to 48 hours after a run. However, it’s essential to note that the afterburn effect only contributes to a small portion of the total calories burned during a run. The majority of calorie burn still occurs during the actual running activity.


As a runner, it’s exciting to know that running continues to burn calories even after we stop. The afterburn effect, with its increased metabolic rate and calorie burn, adds an extra benefit to our running routine. However, it’s important to remember that the afterburn effect alone is not a significant contributor to weight loss or calorie balance. It’s crucial to maintain a balanced diet and overall active lifestyle to achieve our health and fitness goals.

So lace up those running shoes and hit the pavement, knowing that your efforts are not only burning calories during your run but also contributing to calorie burn even after you stop. Happy running!