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Running vs walking: which is better?
Is it better to walk or run? which burns more calories?
Running and walking are fairly similar concepts; both get you from a to b. How different are they when it comes to weight loss, then? where do the differences between the two forms of exercise lie, and which one holds the title as the better weight loss aid?
Before comparing the two activities head-to-head, it is important to note that both are beneficial. Both running and walking are proven to offer cardiovascular benefits. Both will help promote weight loss, improve your sleep, elevate your mood, boost your energy level, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of cancer, diabetes.
Another fun fact is that they have been shown to reduce risk of cataracts with age. They are beneficial to bone density and, therefore, bone strength.
Calories burned per 1-mile walk vs 1-mile run for a 156-lb person (around 70.7kg)
Walk calories burned per mile: 88.9
Run calories burned per mile: 112.5
Walk calories burned per minute: 4.78
Run calories burned per minute: 11.25
Walk after-burn per mile: 21.7
Run after-burn per mile: 46.1
Which burns more calories?
Does running burn more calories than walking? well, yes and no.
If you run for 20 minutes or walk for 50 minutes, you end up burning about the same amount of calories. But if you walk for 20 minutes or run for 20 minutes, running will create the biggest calorie deficit.
So if you've got more time, are more prone to injury or simply have an aversion to high-intensity activities, then go with a lower-intensity exercise, such as walking, biking or swimming.
Just remember that the lower your exercise intensity, the lower the calorie expenditure, so how long you exercise becomes more important.
Do keep in mind that everyone's body responds differently to exercise. So even though you and your spouse may both be walking for 45 minutes each day, your results will differ.
This is because the number of calories you expend during exercise depends on your body composition (lean mass vs. Fat mass). The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn. In addition, the type of exercise you do and the muscles that are involved will also dictate the amount of calories used.
What's so great about walking?
Walking has a few benefits that set it apart from running:
Walking is correlated with an even lower risk of high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes than running
Walking is ideal for joints because it is a low-impact activity
Lower intensity exercise, such as walking (as opposed to running which is high-intensity), burns energy directly from fat stores
Then why bother running?
Now, those are all great benefits, but that does not necessarily mean that they outweigh the benefits of running.
Running stacks up pretty well in comparison:
Running is correlated with a lower bmi and waist circumference than walking
Running burns more calories per hour, making it more time-efficient than walking
Runners controlled their weight better, so they were able to maintain weight loss long-term
Running suppresses the appetite and regulates hunger hormones
Running causes a more lasting metabolism increase even after exercise has ended.
How running and walking match up
So, which is the better exercise?
At the end of the day, that is really a matter of personal decision. The most important factor to consider is that intensity doesn't have a significant impact on weight loss if you are burning the same amount of calories.
Say you do a high intensity workout for a short period of time. You can likely burn the same amount of calories by doing a low intensity workout for a longer time. This means that you don't necessarily have to go for a run to burn the calories, though running will be much more time efficient.
A calorie is a calorie, and the subtle differences between running and walking are unlikely to add up much.