Remember the first time you lost a significant amount of weight? Think of the surge of positive emotions you felt when you stepped on the scale. You felt accomplished, invincible, and capable of doing anything.
Maybe you rewarded yourself with a new wardrobe or a lifetime gym membership. Maybe you indulged on a favorite dessert that you’d avoided during your diet. Regardless of the methods you used or the amount of time you spent struggling to control your weight, you deserve praise and recognition.
But now that you’ve reached—or at least neared—your target weight, you need to find a new way to keep the pounds off. You know that diet and exercise are the two most important factors that contribute to your health, but you want to ensure that you make the right lifestyle changes to keep the weight off in the months and years to come.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss two of the most popular exercise activities: walking and running. We’ll teach you the facts about each exercise that can influence your weight loss, so you can choose the method that fits your body and your lifestyle. Read on to find the pros and cons of running and walking as weight loss activities.
Running Saves You Time
If you want to get the most out of your tight exercise schedule, pencil a long run into your calendar for your daily dose of exercise. Running provides you with a more intense, concentrated workout in a shorter amount of time.
When you work out for an hour, running for the entire time would burn significantly more calories than an hour-long walk. According to a recent study by the medical professionals at Duke University, participants who ran for an hour reached their target weight in six months, while walkers needed the full year to reach their weight loss goals. If your schedule is time-sensitive, running could help you speed up the weight loss process.
Running Builds Muscle
Runners experience more impact to their legs and feet than people who engage in lower-impact walking activities. This increased impact acts like putting more weight onto each step. When you experience the higher intensity of running up and down hills, you sculpt the muscles in your legs more quickly than you would if you walked at a slower pace.
If you want to maximize your new body image with a pair of muscular gams, running may help you achieve this goal better than walking.
Running Stimulates Afterburn
Even after you stop moving from your run, your body continues to burn calories for a short period of time. The momentum you build up during your run can help you feel energized and lose weight while you go about your daily activities.
Walking, on the other hand, stops eliminating calories nearly the moment you sit down.
Running Regulates Appetite Hormones
Have you ever noticed that you crave different foods after you run? Even if you wanted a chocolate donut before you left the house, you sometimes come home wanting light pasta or salad instead.
As it turns out, there’s a scientific reason for this phenomenon. Researchers hypothesize that running increases levels of the hormone peptide YY, which decreases appetite and food cravings. A study of runners and walkers found that those in the running group decreased their caloric intake after exercising, while walkers increased their calorie consumption, eating even more than the number of calories they had burned during a workout.
If you know you have a weakness for food cravings, running may help curb your appetite and keep the weight off for a longer period of time.
Walking Reduces the Chance of Injury
Despite the benefits of high-intensity activities, running also poses some serious problems to your body. Frequent running puts more stress on your muscles, joints, and bones, and it can even lead to injuries. Runners complain of shin splints, hamstring strains, and knee problems more often than their walking counterparts.
Walking Fits Into Every Lifestyle
If you’re new to the workout scene, you might not have the money to invest in a new pair of running shoes and sweat-reducing spandex. In addition, you might not have time during your lunch break to run several miles and then hop in the shower. Maybe you live in a cold climate where you can only safely run on the streets for a few months out of the year.
Walking, on the other hand, provides the same benefits at any time of day. It doesn’t require any specific equipment, and you can do it during your ten-minute break from your desk without breaking a sweat. You can also enjoy walking with people of all ages and skill levels—something that becomes more difficult for runners.
Walking Burns a Higher Percentage of Fat
Walking, like other moderate-intensity activities, uses fat to fuel your body in motion (unlike running, which depends on carbs as its source of energy). Though walking may burn less overall calories than running, walking burns an average of 65% fat. Running, on the other hand, only burns 40% fat.
If you have control over your diet and you want to focus on losing your fat content rather than shedding overall calories, walking provides the ideal solution for you.
Both walking and running show a significant impact on cholesterol, diabetes, and overall cardiovascular health. The choice between walking and running depends on your body type, your weight loss goals, and your schedule.
For more information about diet and exercise, as well as other ways to lose weight, consult your doctor or weight loss specialist.