When it comes to walking or running, which is the better method for helping you achieve your fitness goals?
Find out the winner once and for all as we quiz our experts in the areas of fat loss, health and endurance.
Goal: Fat loss
According to Amanda Ferguson, owner and founder of Blue Sky Health & Fitness, the best method for shedding extra kilos from your midsection is a good old-fashioned walk.
“Power walking is the way to go. It’s a lower impact exercise where the risk of injury is less when compared to running.” According to NSW PT of the Year Jarrad Sullivan, from Jetts, “Walking has just the same amount of benefits as running. Walking will be more beneficial for those who are just starting to lose weight or for those with health problems. For people who are overweight, walking can be less stressful on the body as it is a low impact exercise.”
According to a 2007 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, just 30 minutes of brisk walking five days per week is enough to decrease your risk of heart disease and lose weight. Those who walked 60 minutes per day showed a significant loss in weight, shedding 12 to 14 per cent of their starting weight when consuming 1,500 calories a day. The study also concludes that it is the amount of time involved in a metabolic fitness routine that matters, not the distance covered.
To ensure you’re burning fat at the fastest rate possible, it’s important to continue adding to the intensity of your walk. “What you want to aim for is to increase your speed and distance over time. If you want to see results, you need to step out of your comfort zone, increase your heart rate and challenge yourself,” Ferguson says. “If you have been a runner for a long time, and you now need to walk to maintain your weight loss goals, you will just have to walk for longer periods of time to get the same amount of calories burnt,” Sullivan says.
“By adding in interval workouts and hills to your running regime you will help speed up this process. Interval workouts can be less rest, running faster or adding in hills or steps.” Powerwalking on challenging surfaces such as sand will ensure you’re still being pushed while decreasing the risk of injury. “The best surfaces are flat, firm, but not too hard. Avoid concrete if possible as this can be a source of high stress on your hip, knee and ankle joints,” Sullivan says.
“Try and aim toward walking a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes per day, four to six days a week.” Setting yourself a goal of 10,000 steps a day will help give you a bit of a guide.” Can’t afford the time? “Try and go for walks at lunch, walk down and up stairs at work, and park your car a few blocks away from work to help you increase your daily steps,” Sullivan says.
Nordic walking (also known as pole walking) is another option for perambulatory workouts. Not only are poles helpful for tackling steep inclines, but energy consumption increases by an average of 20 per cent using poles compared to ordinary walking. Not so silly after all…