In the quest for effective weight loss strategies, a common dilemma often emerges: is running or walking more beneficial? To shed light on this topic, we consulted Rachel MacPherson, CPT, an ACE-certified personal trainer with Garage Gym Reviews. The debate often centers around which exercise burns more calories. Running, known for its higher intensity, has been shown to elevate heart rate significantly, leading to a more rapid calorie burn.
According to a 2013 study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, running builds lean muscle and boosts metabolism, aiding in weight loss. This muscle exertion also results in a substantial post-workout calorie burn, often referred to as the “afterburn effect.” However, walking, when executed with sufficient intensity and duration, also stands as a viable weight loss strategy.
MacPherson highlights the importance of the amount of work done, irrespective of the exercise form. She illustrates with an example: a 150-pound individual walking briskly for seven hours weekly can burn approximately 1,800 calories, comparable to the caloric expenditure of thrice-weekly 30-minute runs at 6 mph.
The actual number of calories burned varies depending on several factors, including age, sex, and heart rate. MacPherson points out that one hour of running at 6 mph might burn about 680 calories for a 150-pound person, while an hour-long walk at 3.5 mph could burn around 260 calories. She also notes the demanding nature of prolonged high-intensity running and its requirement for more recovery time, emphasizing the importance of fitness level in choosing an exercise.
When selecting between running and walking, it’s crucial to consider personal safety, enjoyment, and exercise consistency. A 2020 review in Sports advises caution with running due to its higher demands on joints and muscles. On the other hand, 2021 research in Frontiers in Public Health advocates for walking as a lower-impact option, suitable for a wider audience, including those with preexisting health conditions or beginners.
Though running may offer quicker weight loss results, its sustainability is questionable, especially for long-term goals. A 2023 study in Gait & Posture suggests that the high impact of running can lead to fatigue and injuries over time, particularly in older adults. Conversely, walking is viewed as less taxing and more easily integrated into daily routines.
In conclusion, the choice between running and walking for weight loss hinges on personal preferences and objectives. Both exercises present unique health and weight-loss advantages. While running may burn calories faster, walking offers benefits for those seeking a long-term, sustainable approach to weight loss. A consistent exercise routine remains key to effective and sustainable weight loss.