Walking has been part of my fitness routine on the days I didn't do the gym. It's been gym, gym, walk, gym, walk, gym, rest, (that's 7 days, if you're counting) for months. But a few weeks ago I began transforming the walking into running. For example, I had been walking 4 times around my apartment complex. Then I substituted a few hundred feet of running to the walk, then I was walking three, running one, then walking two, running two, then I added a lap and last week I walked one and ran four. I'd like to be running six pretty soon. Then, who knows?
But is this the right approach? Which is best for getting lean and hard? Which is best for my overall health? These burning questions will be answered very soon. Actually, right now.
First, the fat burning question. According to experts, the idea that you burn more fat when you exercise at a lower intensity is a myth. While it's somewhat correct to say that you burn more fat proportionally in comparison to carbohydrates, this small difference is offset by the fact that you are burning far more calories at higher intensities. Take a look at this quote:
Myth: Exercise done at a low intensity, such as walking, is better at fat burning than other high-intensity activities, like running or cardio activities where you push yourself very hard.On the other hand, walking is far and above better than not doing either. And for many people (me included for a long time), running is not an option.
The Truth: In a strict scientific sense, these claims are true because working at a lower intensity requires less quick energy and a higher percentage of fat is burned. But you'll also burn fewer calories than you would if, for the same amount of time, you work out at a harder intensity (running versus walking). If you're trying to lose weight, even though a higher percentage of fat is being used, a lower total amount of fat is lost (Busting the Great Myths of Fat Burning).
Another consideration is injury. Low-impact exercise is certainly prone to fewer injuries than the high-impact varieties, and running can result in injury to various parts of the body.
So, running burns more calories and increases my cardiovascular fitness better than walking, but is not always possible and can be more prone to injuries.
Here's what I'll do. I'll run, but I'll build up slowly and be careful not to over-train. Cool? Awesome.
(If you're wondering where power-walking fits in, it doesn't. You run the serious risk of getting beat up for looking so dorky.)
Lean and hard movie star of the month: Jon Hamm
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