Is walking as effective for weight loss and helping with overall general health as running?
In a way, yes it is. The benefit of running over walking is simply that you work at a higher intensity, so can do an equal amount of work in a reduced time. As far as calories burned goes, you can burn the same calories when walking by walking for longer – think of it more as distance covered rather than time taken.
Running will raise heart rate more and engage more muscles, plus the added work involved in lifting your body off the ground. But you can certainly get in shape and get fit with walking.
However, while it is commonly held wisdom is that running a mile will burn the same calories as walking a mile, there is research showing that running a mile will burn more calories.
Ultimately walking will help to burn fat and increase fitness but running will see higher and faster gains, especially in areas such as VO2 max, however this has to be balanced with the higher risk of injury.
2 thoughts regarding running over walking:
1. you lift your body off the ground more – this must require more energy.
2. if a car is driven fast, it uses more fuel per mile than if driven at an economical speed. We are probably not all that different in this respect.