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The Fitness Zone

Walking Versus Running for Weight Loss
July 24, 2014

Both are effective for weight loss, but have you ever wondered which one is more effective, asks Claire Knoop, Coach at the Australian Institute of Fitness VIC/TAS.

Walking can provide many of the same health benefits associated with running, such as increased cardiovascular fitness and decreased risk of chronic disease development, and although both forms of physical activity involve the same muscle groups, the technique of walking differs somewhat to that involved in running.

Power walking is typically performed at between 5 to 8 kph, with at least one foot always in contact with the ground. Running, on the other hand, requires additional energy in order for the feet to become airborne before each foot stroke. The extra energy expended by running in comparison to walking is derived partly from the up-and-down motion inherent in running.

The recent research has shown that people expend two-and-a-half times more energy running than walking whether it's on the track or on a treadmill, therefore suggesting that running may be more effective for body fat reduction.

A further study found that even when runners and walkers expended equal amounts of energy, i.e., walkers spent more time exercising and covered more distance, runners still found greater weight loss.

With this being said, running can be inappropriate for beginners, as their body may not be ready to undertake vigorous exercise. Those who are physically inactive should begin an exercise program by walking, according to their fitness level, and progress to running as their fitness capabilities improve.

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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