Part of staying healthy involves exercising. Experts recommend about 30 minutes of calorie burning activity for at least 5 times every week in order to stay fit, develop strong bones, lower body weight and maintain a healthy heart.
Of these exercising activities, it is walking and running that are more popular for their excellent fitness outcomes. While running seems straightforward, walking isn’t always so. It involves a heart-thumping exercise and not one of those leisure walks around your hood.
For some reason, it could be that we hate walking or running or because we lack the time, we find ourselves pondering between walking vs running. While both are just as effective, there is still conflicting information on which one is better than the other.
Walking Vs Running: Calories Burnt
The first aspect that comes into focus when deciding whether to go for a jog or a walk is the number of calories you are likely to burn in the process. Well, it is a known fact that running helps you burn more calories than walking, more so if you are trying to lose weight.
But how many calories does walking burn? And can you achieve the same running results while walking? Take for example a 15-minute run and a 15-minute walk. Fundamentally, you will burn more calories running than walking, for the same amount of time.
However, this is where most people get it wrong. Most people give more emphasis on the time, rather than the distance covered. What I am trying to say is, would you burn the same number of calories during a 1 mile run in comparison with a 1-mile walk?
Since walking is slower than running, more time is taken to cover the 1 mile while walking than running. Also, running is more intense, thus burns more calories. The dilemma in such a situation is that while running, you burn more calories every minute, but for a short period of activity. On the other hand, when walking, fewer calories are burned every minute, but you take longer, meaning you remain active for an extended period of time.
In whichever case you find yourself in, note that running doubles the number of calories burnt during a brisk walk. Let’s say you weigh 160 pounds and run at a speed of 5 miles per hour. You end up burning 606 calories. Similarly, keeping the time constant, a 3.5 miles per hour wall only burns 314 calories.
Speed/Power Walking Vs Running
Hypothetically, when you run at 5 miles per hour, and your partner walks at the same speed, then both of you burn the same number of calories every minute. The problem is, not many of us can manage to power walk at such speeds, except for professional race walkers.
In fact, the average person should be able to do a maximum of 3 miles per hour. And speeds of 5 miles per hour would be too slow for an effective running exercise. But if you can power walk up to speeds of between 7 and 10 miles per hour, then theoretically you would be burning the same number of calories as a person who is running.
From this illustration, it becomes clear how you can achieve the same weight loss by power walking instead of running. This does not mean walking at slower paces doesn’t accrue your body any benefits. Brisk walking elevates your heart rates, provides a cardio workout, and boosts your mood.
Walking Vs Running: The Benefits Vs Risks
As a high impact exercise, running exerts your body more than low impact exercises such as walking. While there are benefits of getting into shape and getting a thorough cardio workout, there are risks as well involved. But first, let’s take a look at some of the benefits walking gets you, then compare with running, and finally consider the risks involved in both workouts.
Benefits of Walking
Less Injury Risks
Of the aerobic exercises, none is quite gentle on the body quite like walking. This is unlike running that involves continued pounding on the ground, thus leading to the accumulation of stress on your knee joints. Provided you have appropriate safety gear to let walk safely including ideal walking shoes, you can be sure that you are safe doing a walking exercise. In addition, walkers are at a reduced risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee.
Walking Still Burns Fat
Do not mistake this type of walking to be the leisurely type. Involving walking at pace, either uphill or on flat paths, power walking still helps you accomplish weight loss through the burning of fats.
However, speed and duration of walking matter a lot if you are to shed some of that stored fat. Keep your walks to speeds of around 5 MPH for about 45 minutes, and you might just become leaner with time.
Walking is flexible enough for stoppages
Here is one of the things I love about walking. You can virtually stop to smell the roses you come across or to enjoy the ecstatic views that come along. Well if you are a snack enthusiast (who isn’t?) then you can easily stop by and grab a bite.
Walking under relaxed conditions works to your advantage, thanks to the rumination and stress relieving effects.
Benefits of Running
Just as I had mentioned earlier, running is the best exercise for losing weight between these two. Plus, if you are short on exercising time, running would be ideal as completion time of a 1-mile jog is way shorter than when you opt to walk.
More Calories Burnt
Because of the relatively low efficiency of running, it is considered as a resistance exercise, thus more demanding on your body. This result in an upscale in the calories consumed for every minute that you spend out on the trail.
Studies depict that an average-sized runner will burn around 100 calories per mile. Means, if your goal is to burn 700 calories, you ought to run about seven miles. However, you can find several methods to determine the number of calories you burn while running. Mostly, runners consider the 100 calories /mile rule. No doubt, it is the quickest and simplest way to estimate caloric expenditure, but not accurate! Don’t fret; you can try this accurate tdee calculator to know how many calories should you burn a day.
That being said, you can still walk and achieve the same results. So, if that’s fine with you, then opt to endure for longer walks, then you will still have the same outcomes as a person who goes for runs or hits the treadmill.
Improved Heart Health
Cardio exercises do better to the heart than you would imagine. Back in 2013, researchers found out that if you frequently go for runs, then you are at a lower risk of heart diseases than those who remain inactive.
In order to realize this benefit, be ready to work harder and devote extra time to your running schedule.
Reduced Belly Fat
Picking up the pace is a great way of cutting down on belly fat. As a high-Intensity Interval Training workout, the short activity bursts strain your muscles to the max, thus accelerating the rate of conversion of fat into energy.
Last year the Journal of Sports Medicine published a research paper highlighting the role HIIT workouts play in the reduction of Visceral fat. Located deep within the abdominal cavity, these fats expose you to risks of elevated resistance to insulin and high triglyceride levels.
Remember that running is high impact, so you must take measures to ease yourself into the workout routine if you are a beginner. For starters, alternate your exercising between high intense running and low impact walking. Do this and you will reap the benefits of both exercises.
When conducted over time, running takes its toll on your body. Common injuries runners develop as a result of accumulating too much running time include shin splints, ITB friction syndrome, and stress fractures.
When compared with walkers, runners have the highest probability of developing injuries resulting from exercising. According to statistics, nearly one in every five runners is prone to developing some sort of workout-related injury.
Despite the risks, you can still run safely without succumbing to any of the above-mentioned injuries. In order to avoid these injuries, ensure you don’t abruptly increase your daily mileages. Plan your jogging exercise such that the increase is gradual, thus preventing an overload of the knee joints. Alternatively, you can cross-train a number of times every week to mitigate the risks. Or better yet, go for walks in between intense running workouts.
Walking basically has no known risks, making it a better alternative to running. This is particularly true if you are simply looking to keep fit and lose a considerable amount of fats while at it.
How to Increase the Intensity of Walking
There are ways in which you can still adapt to walking to achieve weight loss without running. Apart from increasing the speed, you can as well make the exercises harder than ordinary brisk/power walks.
1. Invest in a Weighted Vest
In order to lose weight, you need to burn considerable numbers of calories. You can only do so by weighing yourself down, consequently increasing the endurance levels of your walks.
For safety purposes, ensure the weighted weighs no more than 10 percent tops of your total body weight. Walking with dumbbells in your hands is also a viable option to explore so that you burn more calories than before while walking at the same pace.
2. Walk Uphill
Are you looking for a way of cranking up the intensity of your walks? Look no further than that route that goes uphill that you have been avoiding all along. Simply put, your body burns more calories going uphill than downhill or on a flat surface.
If you have a treadmill, adjust the inclines to mimic going uphill from about 5 to 15 percent. The gradual increment is to avoid overexertion more so if you are new to incline walking.
Walking Vs Running is a debate that produces no clear winner. It depends on how much time you have and your aim of doing either. However, the minimal injury risks involved in walking is what endures most people to it. But for more intense, worthwhile workout, running is your go-to routine.
The question of losing weight is dependent on several other factors such as genetics and dieting and not just on walking or running. The good thing is, you can comfortably interchange between these exercises, or opt for any that makes you feel good.