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walking vs running

Walking VS Running: Does Walking Help You Lose Weight Or Is It Something That Only “Unfit” People Should Do?


I was recently flipping through some fitness magazines and found an article called “How many calories do you burn walking vs running.” It peaked my interest because I wanted to see what they had to say about it because I am not a fan of long distance running (jogging) yet most fitness publications praise it. It was a short and vague article that simply stated that you burn the same amount of calories if you jogged one mile or walked one mile. The scenario changes once you cross the one mile threshold. The article concluded that walking was more beneficial for just overweight and obese people only because they were unable to run. I will tell you why I completely disagree with that last statement and why walking provides benefits to all people.

beach 1024x768 Walking VS Running: Does Walking Help You Lose Weight Or Is It Something That Only “Unfit” People Should Do?

(I wouldn’t mind taking my daily walks here)

Walking Isn’t Just For Fit People: What Intense Exercise Lacks

Many people ask, “Does walking help you lose weight?” Yes and No. When it comes to managing and/or losing weight, diet is the number one factor. I can’t stress this enough. If diet is under control then brisk walking can provide many additional benefits that intense exercise doesn’t. Brisk walking for about 30 minutes a day can greatly reduce both inflammation and sluggish blood flow (hemostasis). Intense exercise does NOT reduce inflammation. Walking regularly also helps strengthen the joints, increases energy, slows cognitive decline, and lowers blood pressure.

Burning Minimal Calories: Don’t Let That Be An Issue

HIIT, circuits, bodyweight cardio, etc are all pretty intense exercises that shred body fat, increase metabolism, boosts HGH, and increases endurance in a short amount of time. Even though walking around 2,000 steps will only burn 100 calories don’t let that stop you from doing it. Walking isn’t meant to be your sole source of exercise, nor is it your “go to” for weight loss. It should supplement your workouts. The more you can incorporate this activity into your daily routine the better.

Not Real Exercise?

The thought of walking as not a “real” exercise is bogus but there is some key differences. Like I said before, walking should not be your only source of exercise. Now, if you are really out of shape then this is the best place to start. Whatever it takes to get you from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one is a push in the right direction. However, walking as fast as a snail isn’t going to help you much. It doesn’t matter how “out of shape” you are, the body will adapt very quickly to your walking routine so there will need to be a change in effort to capture the most benefits.

Put A Little “Spring In Your Step”

To get the most out of your walks you need to have a pace faster than a snail. Walk as if you are late for something. Keep in mind that your speed level may be a stroll for another. To keep the effectiveness of your efforts you should be able to feel your heart rate increase. You should also be able to hold a conversation with a partner but still be slightly out of breath when talking.

When Intervals And Other Intense Exercise Isn’t Enough

I used to think that intense exercising 3-4 times per week and a clean diet was enough to stay healthy and lean. I was wrong. The times where I had the lowest body fat levels, had the most energy, and felt the most healthy, was when I walked for upwards of 30 min to 1 hour a day. Don’t get me wrong, someone can still achieve high levels of fitness without walking but they are missing out on the health benefits of this low level activity. Just don’t make walking to lose weight a high priority.

Be Careful Where You Get Your Information

I tend to stray away from most mainstream fitness sites and publications simply because they contain a lot of recycled garbage and misinformation despite the high numbered followers and readers. It doesn’t help when you read bad advice from bodybuilding magazines expressing that that you should spend most of your time resting (laying down) when you aren’t building muscle. They propose that walking is not essential and is only for obese people. Once again, terrible advice.

Final Conclusions:

I didn’t touch on the running portion so I highly recommend reading Marathon Cardio: Cardiovascular Endurance Training Is Ineffective For Fat Loss. This post helps to understand when to use walking vs running and why. To recap: Don’t worry about “does walking help you lose weight.” Walking will supplement weight loss and increase health benefits when used in conjunction with strength training and intense exercise. So get out there and make it a daily activity.

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