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Walking vs. Running: Why Walking is Better for Health and Weight Loss?


  • Walking vs. Running: Why Walking is Better for Health and Weight Loss?

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    You don't have to run. US scientists found out this in 2016. Today, their theory has many supporters.

    Running is now one of the most popular sports. This is a relatively simple and affordable way to keep fit.

    However, walking at a fast pace, according to some experts, is much more beneficial for health: it helps prevent diseases of the cardiovascular system and has fewer contraindications. Let's find out how walking at a fast pace affects the body.

    Walking prevents heart and vascular diseases

    In 2016, scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Life Science Division in Berkeley, California, found that walking is a more effective prevention of heart disease than running.

    The researchers compared the performance of runners aged 18 to 80 years and those who prefer regular walks at a fast pace. It turned out that walking reduces the risk of heart disease by 9%, and running — by 4.5%. At the same time, the load on the joints when walking is much lower, which is important for older people.

    Active outdoor walks activate blood flow, strengthen the heart and bones, tone the muscles, improve sleep and lung function. They also help relieve tension and fight stress.

    To achieve the best results, you need to walk for 30-60 minutes every day. A leisurely walk is not suitable as a workout if you want to increase your stamina or burn calories.

    The step should be active, warming, so that the skin is covered with light perspiration. You can increase the speed gradually. If you have shortness of breath, it is better to reduce the pace. The optimal distance for walking is 4 - 6 miles (6-10 kilometers).

    Walking has practically no contraindications

    Running perfectly strengthens muscles and increases endurance, but also has a number of contraindications:
    • overweight (due to high load on the spine and knee joints)
    • cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and others)
    • joint problems (osteochondrosis, intervertebral hernia, arthritis)
    • varicose veins

    Walking has almost no restrictions. You can start with it to get your muscles in shape before running workouts. It is mandatory for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. This is the optimal load even for people with diabetes and asthma.

    Walking helps burn fat and strengthen muscles

    When running and active walking, the same muscles are involved: the glutes, calves and tibia, as well as the quadriceps and the muscles of the back of the thigh. However, running is more energy-intensive.

    For an hour of walking at a fast pace, a person weighing 154 pounds (70 kg) burns an average of 300-400 kcal. A 60-minute jog allows you to get rid of 400-800 calories, depending on the intensity of the load. Jogging, for example, is not as effective as interval running.

    However, when losing weight, it is important not only how many calories you burn, but also what reserves the body uses during training.

    There is a term "fat burning zone" – this is a certain pulse of contractions, in which subcutaneous fat is actively burned. It is calculated using the formula: (220 — your age) * 70%. If you are 40 years old, the pulse for fat burning will be equal to 126: (220-40)*0.7.

    But is such cardio training effective for weight loss?

    During cardio, the body gets energy from two sources: fat and glycogen. At almost any pulse, the body burns both, but the proportion of each source will vary, depending on the intensity of the workout.

    At the lightest intensity (such as slow walking), energy comes from almost 100% fat. At high intensity (for example, a fast run up the stairs), energy is almost 100% from glycogen. As we speed up, we burn proportionally less fat and more glycogen. Slowing down – on the contrary: more fat and less glycogen.

    There is a pulse rate that has the highest percentage of calories burned from fat. But there is one point: just because more fat is used as a percentage does not mean that a lot of fat is spent overall.

    For example, you walk slowly for an hour at a speed of 1.8 miles/h (3 km/h) and burn 300 calories, almost all of them from fat. If you run an hour at 5.6 miles/h (9 km/h), you burn 900 calories. But the proportion of fat is only half, the rest is glycogen. In percentage terms, you burned less fat (only 50%), but in absolute terms, you burned more, 450 calories.

    Training in the fat-burning zone does not burn more fat in absolute terms. But few people can run for an hour without stopping, and those who can usually do not need to lose weight. Therefore, we recommend calmer cardio, which can be done for a long time and not get tired.

    Also, the intensity of training depends on physical training: beginners should start with a slower, low-intensity pace, and the "fat burning zone" is perfect for this.

    Walking is safer, especially for beginners

    Not only the muscles, but also the heart and lungs are not prepared for running. For many, even 5 minutes of jogging – and there is already fainting, the heart jumps out.

    Gradually increasing the load here works, as in strength training, and there are many options to do it safely: cycling, ellipse, walking downhill.

    You can eat less and move more. Both are better, but any activity is suitable, not necessarily running, where there are more risks than benefits for beginners. Instead, you can quickly work out on other simulators: velo, ellipse, hill walking, and just walk more.

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