The Validity of Petzoldt's Energy Mile Theory


  • Maridy McNeff Troy Western Carolina University
  • Maurice Phipps Western Carolina University


backpack, caloric cost, energy mile, hiking, Petzoldt


The purpose of this study was to measure the energy cost of walking one mile on the flat to quantify the number of calories in an “Energy Mileâ€, and to test Petzoldt's  Energy  Mile  Theory.  Petzoldt  defined one energy mile as the energy required to walk a one mile on the flat. He recommended adding two energy miles for every 1,000 feet elevation gain. To determine the validity of Petzoldt's theory, this study measured the energy cost and perceived exertion for walking on the flat, with and without a 44.5 pound  backpack,  and  up  an  elevation gain of 1,000 feet, with and without a 44.5 pound backpack. From the data, a 1.6 mile equivalent for 1,000 feet was revealed. Differences between females and males ranged from 1.32 to 2.02. Further research using heavier expedition packs at  higher  altitudes  could  reveal changes in energy cost.



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