Today we are going to talk about the most popular cardiovascular exercises – Running and Walking. I am sure a lot of you have had this doubt about which one is going to work the best for you? Which one is going to help you move faster towards your goal of losing weight. Is it running ? because it makes me sweat more, I go breathless faster etc. or Is it walking ? Where I don’t get tired at all, very less or no sweat at all etc.
Before we answer these questions, we must understand that both these workouts are very good cardiovascular workouts. There is nothing like choosing one over the other as the choice really depends on your fitness levels and health goals.
So what exactly are cardiovascular exercises ?
Cardiovascular exercises are the ones that increase your heart rate to a level where you start burning calories and fat from your body. It is one of the most essential part of your workout whether you are looking to maintain your weight, reduce your weight or just get fit. To list down a few benefits of cardio workouts:
- It helps in burning fat and calories which plays an important role in reducing weight.
- It helps in increasing your stamina.
- It strengthens your heart and reduces the risk of heart attack
- It helps you to sleep better
- It boosts your immune system
- It also saves you from a lot of lifestyle diseases.
- Last but not the least it boosts your mind and helps coping with depression and anxiety.
So which one is better?
Walking provides more or less same benefits of running. But if we consider the amount of calories burnt then running is almost double to that of walking. So if you’re new to exercising and can’t cope with running at a decent pace then walking can definitely help you to stay in shape. Walking is suitable at all fitness levels, it will still boost your mood and also reduce the chances of getting injured.
And which one is more effective ?
Walking doesn’t burn the same amount of calories as running, but you can increase your pace slightly which is called brisk walking or power walking. It will increase your heart rate higher than simple walking and burn more calories. You can also consider weighted walking, you can either carry light weight dumbbells in your hands or wear ankle weights and walk. The weight should not be more than 5-10% of your total body weight. It is an effective way to burn calories and also tone your muscles. Walking on an inclined surface will also burn more calories than walking on a plane surface.
While running is an effective way to burn more calories and lose weight fast, it is a high impact workout. High impact exercises are very hard on your body as compared to the low impact ones like walking. There are much higher risks of overuse or stress injuries. To avoid such injuries make sure that you are cross training your body, not increasing your speed suddenly and taking decent recovery time.
To sum up, both running and walking are good cardiovascular exercises. If you are starting to workout for the first time then walking is an ideal choice for you as it will help you stay in shape with very little or no risk of injury. On the other hand, if your goal is to lose more calories and burn fat faster then running is ideal for you. When running, make sure that you design a program that gives you enough time to recover from previous run. Hence, you can go for a walk on the recovery day. You can also consider pace training in which you alternate between walking for 2 minutes , power walking 2 minutes and running 1 minute – It will help you burn calories and fat and will also be more sustainable.