Running versus walking
Several articles have been written recently about the differences between walking and running and which one is better for you. Many of these articles were extolling the virtues of walking over those of running. In my opinion, they both have good and bad qualities; it all depends on your purpose for doing cardiovascular exercises . . . whether you are trying to lose weight or are in maintenance mode.
As a runner for several years and lately a walker/runner, I must say that running was much more effective in my weight loss program. It has allowed me to realize my weight loss target and also helped me to keep off any excess weight, even when I backslid with my training and diet.
A walking program
Walking has many benefits especially for those who are just starting an exercise program. It will certainly help you to maintain your weight and improve circulation, if done correctly.
To be an effective health facilitator, walking must be done at a pace that will elevate your heart rate for a set period of time. In other words, you need to walk at a certain level of intensity and for a distance that will allow you to reach and maintain your target heart rate for set amount of time. It should also cause your body to burn excess calories. For a walking program to benefit your heart (circulation) and to keep diabetes at bay, it must be a focused and consistent effort.
If your aim is to lose weight then running, in my opinion, is your better option. It will get you to your target weight faster and more efficiently.
The type of running that delivers the best weight loss results is not the slow steady state jogging but doing interval training.
Intervals are done by running (or cycling or swimming) at a high rate of speed for a period of time, interspersed by doing that same activity at a reduced speed for varying periods of time. For example, to do running intervals you would run as fast as you can for thirty seconds and then jog or even walk for ninety seconds. Do this seven or eight times and your cardio is done.
This type of exercise should not be done more than three times per week since it puts a lot of stress on the body.
The main benefits of interval training are:
(1) rapid loss of weight,
(2) less time spend doing cardio exercises and
(3) it can be done in a variety of settings.
There several ways to practice intervals. They can be done by running on an outdoor track, on most cardio machines found in health clubs (stationary bike, treadmill, stair-climber or elliptical glider) or swimming . . . to name a few. You can also do intervals when doing resistance exercises.
Problems with running
The major downside to any running program would be the heavy pounding your joints take especially your knees. If you’re heavy then this can be a major issue. Running can also cause leg cramps, side stitches and shin splints. To avoid some of these problems you can swim or do biking instead. I have found that running on grass or a ‘cushiony’ surface takes away some of the pounding your joints undergo.
Weather can also become a problem. If you live in extreme climate zones (hot or cold) you will have to take the necessary precautions. This is not just for running and walking but any outdoor activity you may become involved with as a diabetic.
To lose weight from walking requires patience, since this form of cardio will take longer before you see results. You can shed excess weight from a consistent walking program and especially when combined with the necessary dietary changes but don’t expect this in the short-term. For best short-term weight loss potential, in my opinion, running is by far better.
To a healthier you,