Walking vs. Running for Weight Loss

Cardiovascular exercises are paramount to improved health and wellness. Running and walking are two simple forms of such exercises that will help you in your wellness journey. People take up cardiovascular training for various reasons but weight loss triumphs them all. But which of the two is effective in burning calories and helping individuals attain toned bodies and leaner frames?

The shared characteristics.

According to fitday.com, both running and walking can help individuals boost their energy levels, lower cholesterol in their bodies, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of illnesses and improve their emotional well-being. Walking and running are also simple and inexpensive exercises that you can engage in all year long as long as you wear the appropriate gear and hydrate properly. They are social activities as well and you can choose to run or walk with a friend.

They are both aerobic exercises and they have been found to be more effective when it comes to burning fat than anaerobic exercises like weight training. According to a study published in Medical News Today, aerobic exercises like running and walking were found to be the best way to lose weight.

In the study, about 200 overweight adults were divided into three groups, with one group subjected to aerobic training, the second group to strength training exercises and the third group was instructed to engage in both aerobic and resistant training.

The participants were observed for a period of time to determine how they performed weight-wise. The results revealed that the group that trained in aerobic exercises and that which engaged in a combination of aerobic and resistance training lost more weight.

Those who trained in strength training alone lost the least weight of the three groups. In fact, those that trained in anaerobic exercises gained more weight as a result of boosting their lean muscle mass. So if you are looking to lose weight, running and/or walking is the way to go.

But that’s where the similarities end. When the two are compared on their effectiveness in weight loss, running brings about immediate and better results than walking. This is not to say that walking is not ideal for weight loss as there are instances whereby individuals are better off walking than running. This piece takes a look at running and walking as great exercises for weight loss and their effectiveness.

The benefits of running for weight loss.

Running is more vigorous than walking as such, you burn a lot more calories when running than walking. The high-impact nature of running also results in the uniform burning of calories across the body. This is according to the Journal of Obesity that found running to be effective in burning all types of fats including the abdominal and subcutaneous body fat.

Running facilitates the oxidation of fats in the muscles and this helps reduce the percentage of fats in the body. It raises the body’s metabolic rate as well and this causes further breakdown of calories in the body even after you stop running. This results in the rapid loss of weight and the attainment of leaner and flexible bodies.

Running was also found to be helpful in suppressing appetite hormones in individuals than walking. In a study published by the National Library of Medicine, walkers consumed more calories than they had burned in their workout. A select group of walkers and runners were invited to a party and allowed to eat as they wished.

It was later discovered that the walkers consumed more calories than they had burned while walking. The runners, on the other hand, consumed about 200 calories few than they had burned while running. Researchers believe that this has to do with the increased levels of peptide hormone in the runner’s body which suppress appetite. Runners, therefore, eat less and this helps with their weight loss agenda.

The benefits of Walking for weight loss.

Running is a high-intensity sport and it can result in injury when it is not done in the right way. It is particularly challenging to obese and overweight individuals as the excess weight puts a lot of pressure on their joints. This may result in injuries and make it difficult for the participants to train with the objective of losing weight.

Walking is, therefore, the best weight-loss option for overweight individuals. Its effect, however, is gradual and it will take time for the individuals to post credible results. They will have to walk further and for longer to experience substantial results.

As a low-intensity exercise, walking relies heavily on the oxidation of the fat reserves to generate energy for the exercise and this makes it ideal for burning fat in the body. Walking, however, burns fat slowly and as such, it is not as effective as the high-intensity exercises like running. According to CNN Health, individuals would have to modify their walking exercises by adding other plyometrics like squats and taking on hills so as to enhance the rate at which fats and calories are burned in the body.

The Stats: Running vs. Walking.

Running is more effective than walking in burning calories and here are the stats that support this fact:

  • An adult burns about 317 calories when walking for an hour at 3.1 miles/hour.
  • The calories burned increase to 374 when you walk at a speed of 4.3 miles/hour for one hour.
  • An individual burns about 365 calories running at a speed of 5.6 miles/hour for just 30 minutes.
  • The figure improves to 423 and 603 calories when the speed is increased to 7.5mph and 9.3 mph respectively.

These figures show that running contributes to greater weight loss than walking and as such, individuals should try to run as much as possible if they want to lose weight and keep fit. It also brings about results quickly and if you have very little time for your workout, you will be able to achieve your targets with a high speed run than with a walk. If you’re a walker, you will have to eat a lot less and walk further to achieve your goals.

This, however, is easier said than done as life and work commitments deny people the time to work out and if you keep insisting on your walks, it will take too long to attain your desired weight and body size target. You may believe that low-intensity exercises such as walking burn more fats in the body than running since the fat is oxidized to produce energy and this is why chose walking as your preferred aerobic exercise. However, if you are after rapid and immediate weight loss, running is the best activity for you. This is because it burns a lot of calories in the body in a short period of time due to its vigorous nature.

The verdict.

Running burns more calories in an hour than walking. You can, therefore, enhance your weight loss efforts by opting to run rather than walking. You should, however, take it slow if you are overweight so as not to exert a lot of pressure on your joints. You should also wear the right gear and run on good surfaces so as to reduce the instances of getting injured.

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