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Old 22nd June 2020, 14:05   #1
Zed
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Default The Walking vs Running debate

This thread captures my experiences related to walking and running as part of my fitness regime. I'm 41, married with two kids (4 & 6 yrs) and, like many of you on this forum, balancing life and career goals while trying to make each day as memorable as possible. Not having my first heart-attack in my 40's is my primary fitness goal! My brother had his at 48, and we lost dad to coronary complications in his 60's.

During my 20's and early-30's, I weighed around 80 kgs, which wasn't too bad for my 175 cm frame. However, my overall stamina and fitness levels were hardly a benchmark. I was eating out a lot on account of my work and not that regular at my gym. All that changed in 2010 when I relocated to Germany. The two most significant changes were (1) more time for exercising (b) reduced intake of snacks and fried food. In a couple of months, my weight dropped to 72-74 kgs. And has stayed in this range since.

Running

Until my late 30's all of my running was on treadmills. That changed around 3 years ago when I discovered the joys of running outdoors. I quit the gym and started exercising at home. My initial runs lasted 30 minutes covering around 4 km as I alternated between running(70%), jogging(20%), and walking(10%). Followed by 30 minutes of exercise at home. Within a few weeks, I recognized that running, unlike exercising, had a positive influence beyond muscle, fat, and calories. I felt a lot more positive and consequently found myself taking on tasks and challenges at work and home that id formerly dread. So I upgraded my shoes & earphones, installed an app on my phone, and focussed on improving my running skills.

My first 10k took me an hour and 15 minutes and felt like a marathon. Over three months, with 2-3 runs each week, I was able to complete 10k in under an hour. I noticed my weight dropping by 2-3kgs. I didn't switch to any specific diet but reduced my salt and sugar intake and cut down on deep-fried food, snacks, chocolate, and sugary drinks. And consciously tried to drink more water. My first 15k run took me an hour and 40 minutes. And while looking to improve my 15k time, I came across youtube videos that highlighted the risk of running injuries for men over 40. And this made me deep-dive on the whole running Vs walking discussion. And after a few days of reading and expert recommendations on youtube, I decided to try my hands (or feet to be precise!) at walking.

Walking

Despite all my running, there wasn't a significant reduction in fat in my torso (belly, sides, chest), while I did lose a noticeable amount of fat in my face, arms, and legs. While my primary goal was cardiovascular fitness, it didn't hurt to look and feel better in the bargain! So running was great but I still wanted to get rid of flab in my torso. Several studies have linked belly fat to heart complications. Some doctors even suggest waist to height ratio as a more reliable measure of cardiovascular health rather than traditional measurements like weight or cholesterol levels.

There is a lot of literature on the benefits of walking at least 8000 steps a day to reduce fat in hard to target areas. I found this video quite insightful.




So last Sunday I decided to embark on a "10k per day for 10 days" walking routine. I'm fortunate to live in a region with plenty of walking trails. I ditched my regular running routes for a new walking trail not far from my apartment. I'm not a morning person so my fitness sessions are always in the evening. Or late afternoon when the weather is good.

I'm on day-8 of my 10-day plan and the progress report is as follows.

1. There is a noticeable reduction in fat in my tummy, hips, and chest. Not as dramatic as I pictured but noticeable nonetheless. I still have today and tomorrow to go - so fingers crossed for further improvement! I've lost about a kilogram of weight.
2. I could have achieved better results with a calorie deficit diet. Instead what I did was reduce my intake of salt, sugar, and fried stuff. I've been eating both carbs and protein. For instance, last nights dinner was two eggs (one with the yolk) followed later by skimmed milk with turmeric and black pepper before bed. Lunch was a small portion of pasta with olive oil and tomato dressing.
3. Since coffee is known to encourage fat-burn and provide an energy boost before a run or long walk, I take an espresso 15 - 20 minute before my walk.
4. It does not feel as tiring as running 10k, for sure. On a few occasions, when I had a light lunch, I felt tired around the 7-8 km mark but I made it a point to follow through to the 10k target.

Based on what I'm experiencing I have to say that there is evidence to support that walking can indeed have a very positive impact when it comes to reducing fat in hard to target areas. And in a way that is easier on the body than running.

I would be interested to hear about your experiences on running Vs walking for targeting fat loss. Cheers!

Last edited by Zed : 22nd June 2020 at 18:42.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 08:16   #2
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Shifting Gears Section. Thanks for sharing!

43 here, fitter than I was at 33 and I prefer a light jog or brisk walking over hard running. Just something I & my body are more comfortable with.

Just note that if the objective is to lose weight, then it's 80% diet & 20% exercise. One can never outrun a bad diet.

Last edited by GTO : 23rd June 2020 at 08:17.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 09:08   #3
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

Jogging is beneficial to lose weight. Fasted cardio is also a viable option as it focuses on burning the stored fat. As GTO mentioned, diet plays a major role. Also, targeted area fat reduction might not be possible, it takes place all over the body.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 09:41   #4
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

I enjoy a brisk 20-30 minutes walk as a cool down after a session of weight training. It is a "light" way to wind down after an exhausting lifting session, and really helps cool down the muscles and at the same time, provides the cardio that the body generally needs.

Weight training takes care of fat loss by itself, and in my case, I use brisk walking (cardio) as a cool-down and relaxation method.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 09:47   #5
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
[b]43 here, fitter than I was at 33 and I prefer a light jog or brisk walking over hard running.
42 here, and definitely fitter than I was at 32! But, I don't walk or jog at all.
I used to cycle long distances when I started my personal fitness turn around, but don't exceed 20-25 kms now and that at a brisk pace.
But I prefer sprinting on soft ground only. Around 10 x 100m all out sprints once or twice a week.

Last edited by roy_libran : 23rd June 2020 at 10:03.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 11:08   #6
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

Walking vs running depends totally on your age, state of fitness and previous exercise history.

In my case, I'll be 62 next month, and have been running for last 25 years with a couple of years break in between. Since my 3rd grandchild was born in Sep 2018 I had been off exercise. Then in Sep 2019, weighing around 63 kgs, I found my lipid profile and thyroid hormones out of whack, so in addition to other measures, I restarted my running.

Started slowly and worked up to 10 K in 54 minutes. I was running 40 kms a week by January 2020. And then tragedy stuck...I suffered a stress fracture on my foot. Basically as a result of overdoing the running and a not so balanced diet.

Now, after being able to walk without pain, I am slowly getting back to running and alternating this with cycling (which I'm getting to like a lot). I do weights daily for 45 minutes and have a balanced diet keeping a steady 58 kgs body weight.

So for all of you around my age don't overdo the running and cross train with some non impact exercises.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 12:07   #7
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

With Covid-19 type of health concerns, the world is changing. I feel the future life is not about how rich one is but how fit one is. So running/walking are the cheapest and the best form of exercise that one can indulge. I prefer running and take it easy. Never bothered much on timing. A sub 30 mins 5K and sub 60 mins 10K remains target for my body and mind. Many times take a minute or two extra than this but it doesn't bother me. Just a yard stick for me to know about gain or loss in weight. So far so good. With corona scare I now walk/jog in my terrace.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zed View Post
I felt a lot more positive and consequently found myself taking on tasks and challenges at work and home that id formerly dread.
This is what I love about early morning physical exercises. I enjoy the whole day. All of a sudden I've all energy to do car cleaning, gardening, veggie shopping without any laziness. In fact my Sundays and holidays starts very early with physical activities and then end up doing many jobs before breakfast.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 12:43   #8
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

Since the OP specifically mentioned FAT loss, i`m going to say that neither is a good way to do this. We humans are super efficient at moving on two legs, so efficient that we can run down most land animals on the face of the planet in terms of endurance.

While general consensus is that doing something is better than nothing, Running when you are over weight is going to screw up your legs sooner or later, simply not worth it.

So what do we do? You gained weight because - well, you know how! so now you need to diet (more of this)+ exercise. I would say consult a specialist like dietitian as well as a physician because , while trying to lose belly fat if you start losing hair (often at a faster rate) for instance is not a good idea. Your bones getting weaker as you try to lose weight is definitely not a good idea.

Be careful when you change you food habits, just do not blindly follow any fancy diets, it will ruin your health and you wont even know it until its too late.

Some supplementary steps to Diet+Exercise regimen -

1. Cook your own food (maybe for others as well).
2. Replace your scooter with a nice pair of sandals \ sneakers.
3. Switch off your TV and step out during weekends.
4. Uninstall big basket etc, go out and buy your supplies.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 12:59   #9
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

What I've learnt is that moderate exercise is a lot better than no exercise and a lot of exercise is only slightly better than moderate exercise. As GTO says losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise. My preference is moderate walks (4 to 5 kms), swimming (before the lockdown put an end to it) and yoga thrice a week. I am no fitness freak. I just make sure that one of these three gets done at least 6 times a week. I believe the human body was built for walking long distances and not running long distances. Running might wear out the knees -- just my theory -- and at my age I can't take that risk. Walking also massages the soles of the feet where all parts of the body & its organs have nerve terminals/junctions. It is said that this massage helps tune those parts up -- true or not walking is still fun.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 23rd June 2020 at 13:01.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 13:02   #10
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

The walking vs running debate is a never ending one.

As mentioned by other members, a lot comes down to personal preference.

There is some science to it as well:

https://www.vox.com/2015/8/4/9091093...versus-running

From the above I sort of like this summary:

Quote:
Running improves your health more efficiently than walking does and has greater health benefits per time invested. But even a small amount of running carries more injury risk than walking. And a lot of running (i.e., ultramarathon training) can well be harmful, while the same is never true for walking.
What is also apparent that even moderate exercise, be it running or walking on a regular basis (2-3 a week) appears to improve your health considerably.

I have also seen some research that indicated that at some point, training (e.g. running) more does not bring any health benefits in the long term. So these ultra fit runners doing mega marathons actually appear to have a lower life expectancy than average runners. As with everything; take it in moderation I guess.

I used to run a lot, but I have problems with my knees, so I stick to cycling these days. I must admit, this thread testifies to that as well, I know a lot of enthusiastic runners who got severe injuries and were out of action for a long time, sometimes multiple times over the years.

But then again, I always did enjoy my running. It’s easy to do, especially with all my travel, I always used to pack my running gear. You can run just about anywhere, at worst in the hotel gym on the tread mill.

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Old 23rd June 2020, 13:11   #11
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
...... I believe the human body was built for walking long distances and not running long distances.......
Absolutely the point! Just one modification, that as "hunter gatherers", which is still predominantly the genetic and physiological makeup of our bodies today, we were built to walk long distances (for stalking) and for short sprints (for the hunt). This what both our exercise and our food should aim to mimic.

Last edited by roy_libran : 23rd June 2020 at 13:37.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 14:13   #12
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

Running/ walking principle for losing weight is flawed in itself. If I am looking to lose fat, I would look to fix my diet first. For physical activity, I would prefer to add a mix of aerobic like running or cycling/ anaerobic activities like strength training. Reasons:

• Fat loss is a net result of total energy in vs total energy out. It is much easier to control your energy intake via diet vs trying to spend that extra energy by countless hours of walking/ running.

• Walking is a very low impact exercise and you end up stalling very easily. For someone who is injured or is a couch potato, I would suggest going for walk instead of doing nothing. For others, it is always advisable to build your endurance to reach a certain basal amount of stamina required for running/cycling. Of course it takes time and cannot be done overnight, one should be patient enough. If running is still difficult for you, get a bicycle and clock some kilometres. It is much more effective than walking and easier on body than running.

• Thermal energy expenditure by body during resting phase (RMR - resting metabolic rate) is much higher if you are strength training as compared to aerobic activity only.

• One needs to incorporate strength training into routine to strengthen the muscles which are utilized for running/ walking. All those injury concerns amongst runners are mostly due to sudden overuse/ weak parts which they tend to neglect.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 14:14   #13
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

I hate to have to run, period. Even as a fast bowler in my teens, I figured out a Bumrah-esque action with which I could achieve blistering pace with 5 steps (and of course my height helps).

My personal predilection aside, I think walking makes sense as a low intensity activity and should suffice to get the circulatory system going. I would suggest weight-training as well along with ample stretching in order to maintain bone density, muscle tone and overall flexibility as you age.

Moreover, weight training builds muscles and muscles are really hungry tissues. If you have more muscle cells per unit of body volume, I reckon your metabolism will be off the charts.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 14:21   #14
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

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Originally Posted by Zed View Post
walking can indeed have a very positive impact when it comes to reducing fat in hard to target areas. And in a way that is easier on the body than running.
Slightly off topic but another low hanging fruit is hormonal imbalance which makes it sometimes harder to drop fat (esp in the so called hard to target areas). Eg. Vitamin D deficiency directly affects testosterone and healthy T levels make it easier to lose fat.
If you're interested, you can get read up more on this and get blood work done to compare to optimum levels.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 15:19   #15
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Default Re: The Walking vs Running debate

Great fan of walking. Ever since I read this publication.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/stayi...teps-to-health

Excerpt from the link:
Walking vs. running
Walking is not simply slow running; competitive racewalkers can zip by recreational joggers. The difference between the two is not based on pace. At any speed, walkers have one foot on the ground at all times, but runners are entirely airborne during some part of every stride. As the pace increases, the percentage of each stride that is airborne increases; competitive runners have "hang times" of about 45%.

What goes up must come down. That's why running is a high-impact activity. Each time they land, runners subject their bodies to a stress equal to about three times their body weight. In just one mile, a typical runner's legs will have to absorb more than 100 tons of impact force. It's a testament to the human body that running can be safe and enjoyable. At the same time, though, it's a testament to the force of gravity that walkers have a much lower (1% to 5%) risk of exercise-related injuries than runners (20% to 70%).

Walkers have one foot on the ground at all times.
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