Walking or running? What is the best exercise to burn calories and lose weight?

Running and brisk walking are the most popular cardio activities but, between the two, which is the most suitable for those who want to lose weight?

We know that to lose weight it is essential to choose the right combination of sport and balanced diet but when we have to decide what physical activity to practice we may wonder if we will get more results with brisk walking or running.

The answer may not be obvious and the same in any case. Obviously, more calories are burned by running than by walking, however walking brings great benefits to people, both physical and mental.

Speaking of calories, the average person weighing 75 pounds burns about 13 calories per minute while running and only 7.6 when walking. This means that if you run for half an hour you will burn about 390 calories, while walking for the same time will consume about 230.

Alex Harrison, physician and personal trainer , explained to Runner’s World that:

“There is a difference in calories between walking and running between 10 and 30%, depending on the conditions, the experience of the runner, etc. Running burns more calories per minute than walking “

Physiotherapist Janet Hamilton notes instead that:

“The muscular action that pushes you from point A to point B requires the use of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). The body stores only a limited amount of ATP (sufficient for only a few seconds of activity), so it must be replenished by metabolizing the available fuels (glycogen and fat). The process of producing usable energy (ATP) from stored fuel (glycogen and fat) depends on how much and how fast you need it “

In other words, the more intense the physical activity, the greater the demand for fuel, and since running is more intense than walking, more ATP will be produced during running than when walking. Furthermore, running has a “fat burning effect” that lasts over time once our workout is over . Something that walking cannot boast of.

Therefore, if you want to do physical activity aimed at weight loss, it would seem better to opt for running when you can. To confirm this, there is also a 2013 study that took 47 thousand people as a sample, highlighting that the calories consumed by runners, compared to those who walked at a fast pace, were almost double.

However, running isn’t always the best physical activity to lose weight . In fact, there are several factors that determine the number of calories burned during a cardio workout: weight, intensity and speed.

Dr. Deborah Horn warns of something important:

“As soon as weight is lost, metabolism slows down by an average of 15% and in some people more. There are also cases in which the metabolism no longer works 100% as it used to ”.

Therefore, some specialists recommend walking as the perfect sport for a long-term weight loss plan. In addition to burning calories, low-intensity exercises like walking offer other benefits including lowering cholesterol and hypertension, helping to fight cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Experts therefore argue that walking is a good alternative for those who want to lose weight. The best would be to lengthen the distance traveled .

According to Alex Harrison:

“Running should not be used as a means of developing a calorie deficit because it requires too many miles, too much effort and, above all, too much glycogen depletion, which is a surefire way to stimulate hunger and cravings.”

For this reason, walking may prove to be a better way to lose weight considering that calories are burned:

“Without depleting glycogen to the same extent, which prevents hunger and increases the calorie deficit needed to lose weight. Walking for 20-30 minutes a couple of times a day is best : it’s short enough not to cause hypoglycemia along the way and it’s much easier to do several times a week than high-intensity exercise. “


by Abdullah Sam
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