Why Running Is Better Than Walking For Burning Fat

Regardless of your current fitness level, losing body fat usually significantly improves your health. The best method to effectively lose and keep off body fat is a debate among experts and fitness junkies alike.

Running is better than walking for burning fat because it:

  • burns twice as many calories in an equal distance
  • strengthens your core, back, and legs more
  • strengthens your heart and respiratory system
  • speeds up your metabolism

If you are already an avid walker or runner, there are ways to significantly improve the productivity of your efforts. Perhaps you are a walker and would like the tools and confidence to transition into a runner. If you are struggling with preexisting limitations, such as arthritis or obesity, running can seem like an impossible feat.

Why Is Running The Superior Option?

Running and walking are favorite exercises. When you look at the requirements of these activities it is easy to see why. Running is affordable. All you need is a good pair of sneakers: no gym membership and no equipment. You do not need a partner or instructor to lead. 

Taking walks is a simple way to begin your fitness journey. You will build strength, endurance, and your heart and lung function will improve. However, for optimal fat burning, running is the superior option. 

Running burns almost twice the number of calories as walking an equal distance. Running is better than walking because it builds more muscle throughout the body, giving you a strong core, back, and legs. It works faster and more effectively than walking and strengthens your heart and respiratory system. It also ignites your metabolism and keeps it racing long after you have completed your run. 

The mechanics of walking keep equal weight distributed on your legs and your body never really leaves the ground. When you are running, the body is working harder, each stride puts the body in midair, and then unevenly distributes weight upon impact.

Running raises the heart rate significantly higher than the normal target heart rate for fat burning (40-60 percent of max heart rate), but in return strengthens both your heart and muscles significantly more than walking. This means that your metabolism skyrockets. The muscles gained will keep your body using fat for fuel throughout the day.

Running has also been shown to increase bone density, this will decrease the likelihood of bone age-related illness.

How To Get Optimal Fat Burn During Your Run

If you are already a runner, there are still ways to increase the fat you are burning during exercise.  One method is to add extra weight to your body. This will make your body work harder, on the inside and outside. Extra weights come in several different forms.

  • Wearable Weights is a company that produces well made, comfortable, weighted compression sleeves for both your arms and legs. You can wear these throughout the day while working or during your workout. These are the best option ergonomically. They stay in place and the weight is distributed evenly.
  • Weights vests are an option for those who feel like they have reached a plateau in their training. One company, weightvest.com, offers durable, high quality weighted vests. The heavy weight of the vest rests on your shoulders, which can be a deterrent for some.
  • Ankle and wrist weights are a more affordable option. These can be found at all major retailers and have multiple weights available. These are cheap but not the best option for those with ankle or wrist pain.

All these options will add weight training to your cardiovascular workout. This added difficulty will further develop muscles and in return burn more calories and fat.

More Ways To Decrease Your Body Fat Percentage

Diet is the majority of what contributes to your weight, body fat percentage, and overall health. Running does affect the number of calories you can ingest daily for energy. To lose fat, however, you need to consume a diet rich in protein, fiber, and low in refined carbohydrates. Here are some other tips to assist you on your health journey:

  • Cut back on fast food, eliminate corn syrup, and do not consume sugary drinks. No amount of exercise can replace an unhealthy diet. Get more sleep and take a multivitamin. 
  • Keep on eye on your portion sizes, most of us consume more food than needed for sustainment.
  • Pack healthy snacks. This will help you avoid the urge to make bad food choices. 
  • Keep a food and exercise journal.
  • Build support within the community. Starting a group for members to run together in your neighborhood is a great way to create togetherness and make new friends.

Here is more information on ways to decrease your body fat.

The Importance of Burning Fat

According to a study at Harvard University, excess body fat is the leading cause of disability and death. Excess body fat strains the heart, this can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, or heart attack. Excess body fat can also lead to other health and emotional issues including:

  • Chronic pain throughout the back, knees, and feet due to excess weight straining the spine. 
  • Spiked insulin levels leading to diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cancers
  • Fatty liver
  • Insomnia, sleep apnea, and breathing
  • Mobility Issues
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Slow metabolic rate

 Here is a more in-depth look at the effects of a high body fat percentage.

How To Calculate Your Body Fat

Skinfold calipers remain the most practical, common method to measure body fat. They are also the most affordable accurate method. Don’t be fooled by expensive and inaccurate methods, such as body imaging or hydrostatic weighing. 

The most accurate methods are expensive CT or MRI images, these can even measure internal fat percentages. Although, they are not normally ordered for this sole purpose.

How To Become a Runner

Most people are not confident in their ability to run due to many factors: their current cardiovascular fitness level, chronic pain, or embarrassment. Fortunately, even those who feel incapable can transition from a walker to a runner, by implementing a few tactics and practices.

Choose your terrain wisely. The impact of running on concrete is too painful for many joint pain sufferers. Your joints will be less affected by running on softer ground, such as trail running on mulch, dirt, or grass. 

There are also products to assist you. If you suffer from pain in your back or knees, a brace may be the answer to easing this pain. Although, wearing a brace constantly is not good for your body, wearing it to make running possible is a practical option on your fitness journey. If you have preexisting heart abnormalities, a heart rate monitor can help you keep track of how hard your heart is working. 

More tips for new runners:

  • Be sure to hydrate by drinking plenty of water
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing
  • Use sunscreen. 
  • Avoid running during peak hours to avoid traffic exhaust, this will aggravate lung issues.
  • Start slow! Do not overexert yourself. This will cause injury and discourage you from continuing healthy habits. Schedule a couple of days of rest.
  • Buy good running shoes, the quality of your running shoes is vital to a successful. 

Final Thoughts

Be sure to consult your family doctor, and any applicable specialists, before beginning any new fitness venture.

In conclusion, cardiovascular exercise is essential to your health. Walking and running are both wonderful options. But, when you want to focus on optimizing your fat-burning potential, running is the best choice. You can do it, lace-up and hit the trails.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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