You may have heard that walking burns more fat than running. This is because when exercising at a lower intensity, our bodies use fat as their main source of fuel.
Technically, this is true. But is it better for weight loss?
As exercise is intensified from a walk to a run, your body uses more carbohydrates to fuel the exercise.
But it doesn't matter if fat or carbs are being used.
“What matters most is how many total calories are burned for the period of exercise,” says Carmen.
For example, if you have 30 minutes to exercise, you will burn 187 calories walking (7km per hour) versus 365 calories running (9km per hour).
Walking may burn more fat for fuel, but running burns more total calories, which will contribute to greater weight loss in total.
Quick run vs long walk
Since running for a straight hour is pretty intense, especially if you're an exercise newbie, brisk walking is a great option. But what if you're short on time? Would a 30-minute run be as beneficial as an hour-long walk?
Compare the average calories burned for a 73kg woman when doing the following exercise:
- 1 hour walking 5km/h – 317 calories
- 1 hour walking 7km/h – 374 calories
- 30 minutes running 9km/h – 365 calories
- 30 minutes running 12km/h – 423 calories
- 30 minutes running 15km/h – 603 calories
The bottom line is: the harder you work, the more calories you'll burn. And the more calories you burn, the easier it will be for you to achieve a calorie deficit and lose weight.
Running and jogging burn more calories per minute than walking, so you can speed up your weight loss efforts by learning to love running.
“Ideally, if you have an hour to work out, spend 30 minutes running, 20 minutes doing strength training and then 10 minutes stretching to help prevent injury and soreness,” Carmen advises.
Walking is a great starting point
For those who are just starting to work out, or for those who have health problems, running may not be suitable. The high-impact nature of running can stress the joints, particularly if you are carrying quite a bit of extra weight.
However, similar health and fitness benefits can be achieved by walking.
Do what you love
In order to get any benefit from a workout, it has to be one that you enjoy and will do day after day.
So if you prefer walking to running, then do it. Just keep in mind that to achieve your weight loss goals, you make need to walk a little further (and for a little longer) than you would if you were to go for a jog.
And whatever you choose to do, remember weight loss is only one of the many benefits of regular exercise. Every step you take is one step closer to a healthier life!