Simply put, both running and walking while trying to cut the excess pounds are a good choice, however, running does burn far more calories and can have a greater effect on overall health. That being said, it’s important to understand the difference between “burning fat” and “losing fat,” as well as what it takes to actually lose weight.
How Your Body Uses Calories
Walking is an excellent exercise for fat burning. While any exercise can burn calories, brisk walking for 45 minutes mobilizes the body to dip into fat reserves and burn stored fat. Walkers can also achieve the exercise intensity that uses more fat as fuel.
The Fat Burning Zone
The fat-burning zone is at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. In this zone of exercise intensity, 85% of your calories burned are fats, 5% are proteins and 10% are carbohydrates. When walking at a brisk pace, you’ll be breathing heavier, feeling increased exertion and beginning to perspire, but you’ll still be able to carry on a conversation. These are your tell-tale signs that you’re in this preferred zone.
To fuel your run the body primarily uses carbs and fat as its go-to energy source, and the ratio of carbs and fat actually changes depending on your speed and intensity. For high-intensity running, such as interval workouts for example, your body will rely more on carbs for fuel than fat because they’re a more readily available source of energy. For long, slower runs, your body starts using fat as an energy source. What’s more, many eLifestyle clients have reached their fitness and weight loss goals with our 12-Week eTransformation Exercise & Lifestyle Program!
What It Takes to Lose Fat by Running
It’s important to remember that when you’re trying to shed pounds it doesn’t matter what type of fuel you use. Just because you’re using more fat as energy doesn’t mean you’re losing fat or burning more calories.
The simple fact is, in order to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you take in daily. As with running, or any other forms of exercise, the harder you work dictates the amount of calories you’ll burn.
You must also keep in mind that there are a few things to consider that will determine which is best for you to do as an individual to meet your weight loss goals – all which are predetermined by your personal ability.
Your Fitness Ability Determines Results
Matching your intensity for walking or running with your ability is key in a few ways. First, if you’re you a beginner, are overweight, have any current injuries, or have any pre-existing physical or medical conditions such as shin splints, a cardiovascular condition or osteoporosis, you’ll want to limit your intensity.
Next, you monitor success and increase intensity accordingly. This is where walking for weight loss has the clear edge due to the low impact it has on bones, joints and muscles while still increasing the benefits on overall health.
Whether walking or running, you’ll get the greatest benefit if you aim for thirty to sixty minutes each day, building on your intensity as you improve on your ability.
For best results keep them small and stay consistent, increasing them bit-by-bit every week.