Walking and running are two cardio exercises that are great for keeping healthy and losing weight. Although they are quite similar, walking and running are two different choices and deciding which one is better for you depends on your fitness goals. There is no way to definitively say which of the two exercises are better; they both just have different benefits. If you’re interested in burning calories and losing weight fast, running is the workout for you. Running helps to drop larger amounts of fat in a shorter period of time. On the other hand, walking helps to maintain the weight you currently have and has plenty of other health benefits. It can also help you lose weight at a slower and steadier pace.
What’s the Point of Cardio?
Whichever cardio exercise you decide to do; you reap valuable benefits. Doing cardio exercise regularly, even for small increments of time, offers a long list of bonuses for your physical and mental health. Cardio helps to keep your mood and self-esteem boosted and steady, and it can also reduce anxiety and depression. On the physical side of things, cardio helps to strengthen your heart which can help you live longer while managing/preventing disease. It also boosts the immune system, increases your stamina and endurance, and helps with weight management.
What About Walking?
Walking and running are essentially the same exercises, and both can provide most of the same benefits. However, walking burns many less calories than running. The first step to losing weight is burning calories, and running burns double the amount of calories that walking does. Running is the best choice if you’re trying to lose weight, but walking is a great place to start especially if you’re new to exercise or if running is too difficult.
How to Boost Your Walking?
Walking burns fewer calories than running, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do things to burn more calories and get more out of walking.
- Speed walking: speed walking or power walking is just walking at a much faster pace. Usually, speed walkers move at a rate of 3 to 5 miles per hour. Speed walking helps get your heart rate higher than regular walking, and it allows you to burn more calories. Speed walking may reach around the same speed as a brisk jog, and it burns the same amount of calories as a jog. It doesn’t burn quite the same amount of calories as a full-out run, but speed walking is a lot easier to handle for any level of fitness.
- Walking with weight: Boost the number of calories you’re burning while walking by wearing a lightly weighted vest. Don’t push yourself to carry any more than 10 percent of your body weight. Walking with a weighted vest or with dumbbells in each hand helps to burn more calories and tone your muscles.
- Incline walking: Walking uphill rather than on a flat surface actually burns nearly the same amount of calories as running. Starting to increase the incline of your walking gradually is great for muscle tone and a higher rate of calorie burning/weight loss.
- Interval walking: Try increasing the speed of your walking for small intervals of time before slowing back down again. This helps to get your heart rate up and burn more calories.
Some other easy ways of adding to the gains of your walking are to swing your arms, keep elbows bent, and avoid moving your hips back and forth too much. While walking, focus on engaging your abs and taking short, fast steps.
Benefits vs. Risks of Running
Running burns more calories and helps you lose weight faster, but it’s not accessible to everyone. Running is a high-impact exercise, harder on the body than the alternative of low-impact exercise like walking. Running puts a lot of pressure on your legs as your feet hit the ground which causes the risk of stress fractures or shin splints. In general, the risk of injuring yourself is much greater when running compared to walking.
However, there are many easy ways to avoid these risks. Don’t start running too fast or push yourself too hard. It’s much better to start off with walking and increase your speed and distances slowly. A great way to reap the rewards of both running and walking is to alternate between the two to increase your endurance and slowly get stronger.
One of running’s most useful benefits is an effect on appetite. For people who have a hard time with diet, running is a great way to help control your appetite. It releases a hormone that suppresses appetite. This is one of the reasons that it’s more effective than walking when it comes to weight loss. Compared to speed walking, running also works the calf muscles in a more efficient manner. The muscles extend slower and gain more power during a run compared to during a walk.
Essentially, there is no way to say whether walking or running is better for your personal fitness goals. Overall, the best way to use the two cardio exercises is to combine the two and increase your use of running slowly as you become stronger. Use walking variations and other types of workouts to maximize the benefits you gain from exercise. You should aim for a goal of around two hours of cardio per week.
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