Walking v/s Running for Weight Loss- What is Better?

When it comes to weight loss, exercise is what all suggest. Walking and running are the two simplest exercises for weight loss but what’s better- walking or running?

How to lose weight is the question of the decade! Corresponding to the technological advancements and innovations, people rapidly catch up lifestyle diseases. Every lifestyle disease has a link with obesity or overweight. Be it cardiac health, diabetes, fertility issues or arthritis, overweight is a major culprit. Fortunately, before it turns worse, people realized the importance of staying fit and healthy! Ultimate health goal of every individual across the world is losing weight to maintain good health.

What should I do to lose weight? We have almost zeroed down on physical activities as the best bet to lose weight. Now, the debate again pops in! What is the better way to lose weight? Walking or Running!

The answer to this question is not obvious. Both walking and running make excellent aerobic exercises. They almost cost nothing. They are more of a social activity blended with physical workout.

Weight loss is all about burning the extra calories. The difference in calorie intake and calorie spent result in weight gain or weight loss. Running for weight loss or walking to lose weight, both will achieve this aim but what’s faster and better way to do so? Let’s try to solve the mystery regarding walking v/s running!

Walking Vs Running – An Overview

Running is one of the best and an easier form of physical activities to lose weight and stay fit. In fact, a regular running workout schedule has numerous health benefits. Running is a high intensity workout. You can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and several health conditions. Schedule running program even after if you achieve the weight loss goal. It helps you manage the weight loss in a long run.



Is Walking Better than Running?

Walking is a very mild and a relaxing exercise. You can enjoy walking like a leisure activity. Walking is just for everyone. Losing weight is definitely not an overnight magic. It takes some time, from several months to more than a year! You cannot expect any dramatic weight loss. The scales in the weighing machine don’t run backwards faster. Walking helps you lose weight gradually without any hurry. Also, you can retain it for longer.

Is Running Better than Walking?

If you want to lose weight, don’t walk and run! – Says a study published by US News and World Report. Many researches suggest running may be best for weight loss. There are many claims that running burns your fat faster and help you shed weight quicker than walking. It is true, but to some extent.

Running is a vigorous activity. The intensity of running and the effects on the whole body completely differs with walking. Calories you burn if you run for 15 minutes vary a lot with 15 minutes walking. This intensity marks the percentage of weight loss.

When you lose 5 pounds over running 30 to 45 minutes a day for one week, you may need 2 weeks to lose same weight by walking for one hour a day.

Being a vigorous workout, your body gets toned and you can get the stunning physique you ever longed for. Your body uses energy to fuel your workout. So, you burn more and more calories. Running makes a perfect workout to lose weight and build cardiovascular health. However, it has a lot of restrictions.

Advantages of walking for weight loss

Walking has more health benefits beyond weight loss. Whether or not you walk to lose weight, weight loss is assured. Walking regulates your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It enhances the blood circulation throughout the body.

Easy and convenient

Walking is easy! Everyone knows how to walk isn’t it? You just need move your legs, but at least for an hour. It is quite convenient and needs no practice. There is no need for any equipment. You don’t need any special training, any specific level of fitness, and anything extra.

Everyone can walk

Walking has no restrictions on age and gender. Walking is the best exercise for the beginners. If you have never done any exercise, you can obviously kick start your workout routine by walking. Walking is safe and doesn’t pose any side effects.

Flexible to fit into any schedule

It is quite light form of workout. You can do it at anytime. Even if you cannot walk more than one hour a day, you can fit the short walks into your weight loss workout schedule.

Triggers weight loss efforts

There are many indirect triggers to gaining weight. Rather, these triggers prohibit weight loss. Hope you know, stress is one of the major contributors to weight gain. Walking eliminates stress and depression, which inhibits secretion of stress hormones and promotes weight loss.

Relieves stress and sleeplessness

If you are stressed, just move away and take a short stroll for 5 or 10 minutes. You will find quick relief! Similarly, walking induces quality sleep. No more insomniac nights, which indirectly improves the health and weight loss efforts.

No Risks of Injuries

Walking literally has no side effects. You can walk for 3 or 4 miles without getting exhausted too much. Rather, walking nourishes you. Also, there is no risk with respect to bone or joint injuries.

A comfortable activity

You can walk for any distances with ease or without troubling yourself. However, you cannot do the same with running. Walking never gets overdosed.

A starting point to fitness

Walking is one of the most recommended forms of physical activities. It is the base point to kick starts your fitness regime. Regardless of your age, gender and health, you can schedule walking program.

Burns Fat, not your muscles

The best thing about walking for weight loss is fat loss! Yes, it burns fat and not your muscles. Walking doesn’t need more energy. It increases your heart rate and stays around a certain level, which happily supplies fat to fuel your workout. As a result, it burns more fats than calories.

However, you may not burn more fat until you notice the heart beat increases!

Disadvantages of Walking for Weight loss

Walking is extremely beneficial in many cases. However, it has certain restrictions with respect to weight loss.

Low intensity exercise

Walking is a low intensity exercise. It is a milder aerobic workout. It doesn’t increase the heart rate. Neither it consumes more energy nor does it beat your heart faster. The distance you cover in an hour makes it low or moderate intensity workout. However, even if you walk for 4 miles an hour, it turns out to be moderately intense. Low intensity workout is often linked with delayed or limited results. You may either lose weight at a low pace or lose no more than a few pounds.

A lot of distractions

Walking with friends or neighbors is a super entertainment. Although it helps you connect more with social life, you can easily get distracted. There are a lot of things in the world you can discuss about! Any interesting topic or a gossip gets life even among the avid walkers. Unfortunately, you may get tempted to slow down the pace of walking. It really happens!

It can be boring

You need a lot of motivation to walk regularly. You may find it boring and love to quit it! If trying to catch up with any group, think about the distractions. However, there are exceptions too, who really enjoys walking.

If you feel bored, try to walk in different routes!

May be (!) time consuming

Yes! We live in a fast paced world. To achieve your weight loss goal, you may find walking a time consuming activity!

If you really want to reap the most from any form of workout, you should enjoy it! Think about walking a mile or two enjoying the bliss of nature. Walking is like refreshment. Try walking in the morning before the sun spread his hot wings or during the sun set, you will feel rejuvenated.

Advantages of Running for Weight Loss

Running for rapid weight loss

The best thing about running for weight loss is the rapid results. When you examine the above mentioned facts about running for weight loss, you can lose a minimum of 15 pounds a week! Doesn’t that look promising?

Burn calories

You spend your energy to fuel running. The more energy you spend, more calorie you will burn. As you burn more calories, you lose more weight.

Post workout effect

This is a high intensity workout. It has after burn simulation and burns calories even when you rest after running.

Time efficiency

Most people cover two or three times more by running than the distance covered by walking over a specific time. Just running for 15 to 20 minutes a day, assures promising weight loss results. Running makes intense, effective and super-short workout to lose weight.

It’s a happy feel

Kids always love to run! As kids, you would have enjoyed running! Running makes you feel happy. Walking is always considered an inferior cousin to running!

Psycho-social Benefits

Beyond physical benefits, running improves your self-esteem, creates a strong positive image about your body, and eliminates the signs of depression. All together contributes to your weight loss efforts.

Want to know more? Read Top 10 Reasons to Start Running for Weight Loss

Disadvantages of Running for Weight Loss

You need a lot of energy

Since your energy source is used to fuel the workout, running makes you exhausted. This may backfire on your weight loss goals. When you are too tired and deprived of energy, you have the tendency to drink or eat more. It may add up to the calories you lost! It makes no sense in drinking calories soon after your burn calories through running.

Running is not for all!

Not all can run away the pounds! Running puts extra pressure on knees. You cannot suggest arthritis patients to run to shed those extra pounds. Fit men and women can go easy on running. Not everyone. Until you have a moderately fit body, you cannot run for more than 20 minutes. Obese people can’t imagine about running even for 30 minutes.

Too much running harms the body

Too much running may harm your body in different ways. To name a few,

  • Sore muscles
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive oxidative stress.

If you run for more than 30 miles a week, you pose the risk of building plaque in the arteries.

Risk of Injuries

Running exposes you with the risk of injuries. It is not about external injuries, but injury to knee, hip, hamstring, and ankle joints. You may need proper running shoes and track suit to reduce the risk of injuries. You cannot just run in any outfit. That’s a major disadvantage!

According to a report published by ‘Wall Street Journal’ if you run on concrete or asphalt, it certainly causes low back pain, stress fracture, joint problems, etc.

Minimum Requirements of Running or Walking to Lose Weight

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed out the minimum requirement of exercises to meet weight loss goals. Spend at least 75 minutes of high intense workouts or 150 minutes of moderately intense workouts a week. This minimum requirement isn’t a big deal to meet.

If you pick the low intensity workout, i.e walking, just double the minimum requirement of moderate intensity workout. It comes to 300 minutes walking every week.

  • 15 minutes of running a week – 5 days a week
  • 30 minutes of brisk or power walking – 5 days a week
  • 1 hour walking – 5 days a week

This minimum requirement kicks start your weight loss goal.

According to various studies on weight loss, walking for 30 minutes help you manage weight! You should kick yourself to move ahead and walk for a minimum of 45 minutes to 1 hour to lose weight.

If you can’t keep track of how much you have walked, use pedometer. To know how it helps, read Walking to Lose Weight? Make Pedometer Your Friend

Walking Vs Running – How much weight you can lose in a week?

Walking for weight loss:

Harvard Health Publications published the results of a study that an individual weighing around 155 pounds can burn up to 300 calories, if he briskly walks for an hour. Although walking for weight loss may not burn more calories, this average pace helps burning around 1500 calories a week upon one hour walking a day. This pace is sufficient to lose up to 2 pounds a week. Shedding 1 to 3 pounds a week is a realistic weight loss goal. If you feel this pace of weight loss is satisfying, you can follow the same. In case, if you increase duration of walking, you burn more calories proportionately.

Running for weight loss:

The pounds you lose always come down to distance and intensity of running. Just like walking to lose weight, running to lose weight is influenced by the distance you cover!

If you run at an average speed of 5 mph for an hour, you can lose up to 550 pounds. That’s almost double the quantity burned by walking. More calories you burn, more weight you can lose. However, you can burn more or less calories that depend upon the speed and distance you run. Based on this pace, you can lose upto 3 to 5 pounds a week! And that’s a perfect running plan for weight loss.

However, think well and think twice about running for an hour! Is it possible by everyone?

Remember, if your caloric intake is more, you may not meet desired goal.

Want a detailed running plan to start with? Read How to Start Running to Lose Weight – for Beginners

Outdoors Vs Treadmill? Running or Walking to Lose Weight

Both walking and running poses common restrictions like climatic changes. A change in the climate may ruin your physical activity schedule. A walk in the rain is quite enjoyable! However, it doesn’t aid in weight loss. Many people think about can I run or walk indoors?

When it comes running for weight loss, whether it is treadmill or outdoor, it doesn’t make much difference in terms of calories. You will burn only a few more calories when you run outdoors.

When it comes to walking, treadmill and outdoor walks make a lot of difference. Walking outdoors altogether is a different activity!

Well, outdoor physical activity is recommended over treadmill workout.

How to maximize weight loss efforts with running or walking

With simple tips and techniques, you can maximize the weight loss efforts.

  • Start in a slow pace. If you never ran or scheduled walking to lose weight any recently, you can schedule for around 15 to 30 minutes. Decide it based on your fitness level.
  • Initially, you feel pain in the calf muscles and ankles. Don’t skip your routine. In 3 to 4 days, your body understands the new activity and the pain disappear without any efforts.
  • Get small breaks (not more than a minute) until you really fit into the workout schedule.
  • If you can’t run, mix it with slow paced running, jogging, fast paced running and walking. Combination of these walking vs running techniques helps you reduce more calories than walking and the risk of injuries.
  • Wear right running shoes. Without proper shoes you are prone to risk of injuries.

If you can’t run, but still want to lose more weight with walking try these:

  • Power Walk – Walk at a fast pace.
  • Carry a bag on your back – Adding weight burns more calories
  • Motivate yourself with a reward to achieve certain goals like, walking 5000 steps, power walk for one hour, etc.
  • A walk on the beach – burns calories two times higher than a regular walk on a road.

Best Time for Running to Lose Weight

This is another important criterion that influences how much weight you lose. Whether it is walking or running, evening and night is the best time to get the maximum benefits.

As long as you have sufficient time for all your activities, you can walk in the morning or evening to lose weight. However, it is totally a different story when it comes to running.

Although many studies reveal that morning running generates positive mindset and motivation, a few find it difficult to schedule a morning run!

Your immunity will be low in the mornings. If you run for longer distances, you may hit the immune system and the risk of infections increase. When you wake up, the immunity will be low in the morning. Only when you eat or drink something, you gain energy. Running longer distances in the morning weaken the immunity further. Low immunity easily catch up many diseases and infections.

Get out of bed and hit the road as soon as you wake up in the morning. Remember, you should start running before the sun rise.

Your organs will be sore after a good night’s sleep. Your temperature will be too low as you wake up. You don’t wake up with relaxed muscles and joints. You should do some warm up or stretching exercises before you hit the road and run.

You may feel hungrier after a session of morning running. You may eat more unknowingly.

Some tips to consider when running to lose weight

  • Check on proper hydration.
  • If you are not a morning person, just skip it.
  • Evening is the best time to run. Body temperature tends to be high in the late noons and evenings. You can also run at night as long as you run after a couple of hours after your dinner.
  • Take bath at night before you go to bed. You will soon fall asleep.
  • Also, think about safety considerations about walking or running at night.

Walking or running is effective post dinner for weight loss. It is a mild cardio workout and you can simply expel the calories before you sleep. Remember, the food you eat at night converts into fat as you don’t need energy to sleep! Prevent fat accumulation and burn calories at night.

Beyond these limitations, there are few people who claim a morning running is like having a cup of coffee in the morning. You may choose the one that suits your body and mind perfectly.

Walking Vs Running for Weight Loss – The Verdict

Although walking has many advantages over running, in a couple of instances, running leap over walking.

  1. You burn more calories in running – relatively quicker weight loss
  2. A fit body is assured with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases

If you are young and healthy with no serious health ailments, befriend running over walking to lose weight.

For all other reasons, walking wins over running. Although you need to wait for a few weeks to notice the change, it is worth. If you prefer walking, you may need to walk a mile extra to achieve your weight loss goals. Gradually, you can advance from walking to jogging and running.

Walking Vs Running – You should decide it considering your health and weight loss goal. Consult with your doctor or any fitness trainer about kick starting a regimen if you opt for running! Finally, it is all about the personal choice considering the prevailing health condition.

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