If you want to lose weight, you need to cut back on calories. In order to reduce body fat, you need to find the perfect balance between a diet with a low-calorie density and consistent exercising.
Both walking and running are highly beneficial to our health. According to a study published in an American Heart Association journal, both physical activities can reduce the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
So, what should you do? Is it better to walk or run for your weight loss needs?
Calorie Burn Comparison
If you spend the same amount of time being active, it’s pretty clear that running comes out on top. A 20-minute run will lead to a higher calorie consumption per minute in comparison to a 20-minute walk, since it’s a more intense activity and involves a higher energy expenditure.
But what if you spend more time walking in comparison to running? Would this turn things around? To help you get a clear picture of how things work, let’s compare calorie consumption between walking and running at various speeds. The following calculations are based on a 165-pound (75 kg) adult.
- Walking 30 minutes at a 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) speed = 150 calories
- Walking 30 minutes at a 4 mph (6.4 km/h) speed = 169 calories
- Walking 30 minutes at a 4.6 mph (7.4 km/h) speed = 188 calories
- Running 15 minutes at a 6 mph (9.6 km/h) speed = 188 calories
- Running 15 minutes at a 6.7 mph (10.8 km/h) speed = 202 calories
- Running 15 minutes at a 7.5 mph (12 km/h) speed = 234 calories
As you can see from the results above, you can burn the same amount of calories in a single situation: if you walk for 30 minutes at 4.6 mph (7.4 km/h) and run for 15 minutes at 6 mph (9.6 km/h). But this would be a very fast walking speed for non-professional athletes, since for most of the people 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) is considered a fast walking pace. At the same time, running at 6 mph (9.6 km/h) is considered an easy exercise, not even moderate.
In all the other situations, running proves to be a more efficient activity when it comes to calorie consumption.
Why Choose Walking
Even though it requires to invest more time in order to generate the same health benefits as running, walking should still be in the cards. Here’s why:
- It’s an activity that doesn’t require any planning whatsoever: you don’t need to schedule sessions or wear sports gear
- You can easily incorporate it into your lifestyle: walk to work if possible or park the car further from the building, take the stairs instead of the elevator, go to the store on foot
- It’s a safe form of exercising which doesn’t put the same stress on your muscles and joints as running
Why Choose Running
Running is more adequate for people who love high-intensity exercising and is a great way to reach your weight-loss goals faster. Here’s how it can help you:
- In comparison to walking, it allows you to burn more calories in less time
- It better regulates your appetite hormones than walking, making you less hungry
- Medical studies show that people who prefer higher-intensity exercising tend to be healthier
The main downside when it comes choosing running over walking has to do with the risk of injury. By doing high-intensity training you put more stress on your body and increase the chances of developing various injuries like hamstring strains or shin splints.
Burn Even More Calories
No matter what you choose from these two activities, there’s a way you can burn even more calories, and that is to incorporate intervals into your exercise. Whether you walk or run, adding an interval program will most surely help you burn fat and improve your fitness level.
Interval programs involve engaging in short bursts of faster walking or running and then slowing down at set times. You can further boost your workout sessions by adding incline to your walks and runs. Going uphill is not easy and hence is not for everyone, but it does have its share of benefits: you get to work different leg muscles, improve your heart rate and burn more calories.
Track your Physical Activity
Whether you walk or run, it’s important to keep track of your activity. This way you’ll know where you are, what you need to improve and how far you’ve come along from a physical point of view. Since we’re living in a modern era, the best way to monitor our progress is by using a mobile fitness app.
Such apps like ActivityTracker for instance are super easy to use and are always near at hand since we’re installing them on our phones. They provide useful data like how many steps we’ve taken, the distance we’ve covered, how much time we’ve spent physically active or how many calories we’ve burned. They allow us to set achievable goals for ourselves and keep us motivated along the way.
To recap, in comparison to walking, running can help you in a more effective manner in your quest to reach your weight loss goals. It does burn more calories in less time, but at the same time carries a greater risk of suffering injuries.
At the end of the day, you should choose something that suits your needs. Both generate benefits to our health, both improve our mood and can help us take our minds off things that stress us out.