What has become more challenging than losing fat is walking your way through the myriads of suggestions and theories about what does and what doesn’t work for fat loss. Just when you decide upon running yourself to your weight loss goals, an article like this will pop up on your newsfeed. And that dilemma starts bothering you all over again – to run or not to run. There are two things you could do to spare yourself this debilitating dilemma. One, learn to reason correctly. Two, listen to your body. I can’t do the latter for you. But if you want to know why walking is better than running for fat loss, here you go…
1. You Eat Back What You Burn
Have you ever binged on food that is loaded with carbohydrate or sugar immediately after a good run? Sometimes, even the binging doesn’t satiate this hunger. What do you think is happening? When you run long distances, you are burning a lot of calories and eventually, your body ‘thinks’ you are under some stress. Immediately, the damage control mechanism of the body gets activated with the release of the ‘stress hormone’ Cortisol. Under stress, the body needs more calories, particularly that kind of calories that are readily usable – simple carbs and sugar. Also, a chronic release of cortisol in the body can cause a drop in the leptin secretion (the hormone that tells you that you are full and you don’t need any more food) and can potentially modify your insulin sensitivity. The stress your body goes through results in a leptin drop reduced insulin sensitivity, and increase in hunger all of which only lead to more weight gain rather than loss (1).
Walking, of course, is known for its stress-reducing benefits. Researchers can’t stress enough on the benefits of walking. Starting from reducing the risk of diabetes and heart failure, controlling appetite, to controlling stress, anxiety, and depression walking is the solution to many health problems (2)
2. You Lose Muscle
You don’t want to believe me because you actually lost weight because of running. True, you lost weight. But are you sure you lost fat? I’m sure you know they are different. What happens when you run is that you are burning calories at a very fast pace. Your muscles break down the protein in them which is absorbed into the bloodstream and is used up to fuel your running. So it is not necessary that you are burning just the fat, you could actually be losing the muscle. And on the other side, walking is rather low intensity and helps you burn more fat and not muscle.
3. Running And Thyroid Hormones
There are two kinds of Thyroid hormones. One, T3 and the other T4. T3 is the active version of the hormone and T4; the inactive version needs to be converted into the T3 form to activate it. Running and the impending increase in cortisol levels inhibit this process of conversion. This hampers the body’s metabolic process and ability to lose fat. Also, it increases the feeling of a nagging fatigue. Walking, again, proves to be better when it comes to thyroid dysfunction. Mild forms of exercises like walking promote thyroid stimulation in cases of hypothyroidism and also increases the tissue sensitivity to thyroid hormones (3)
4. The Type Of Cardio Doesn’t Matter
One of the most important things you should remember while choosing a cardio exercise is that to lose weight or fat efficiently the type of cardiovascular workout you choose doesn’t matter. That is to say, you could choose an hour of brisk walking or 30 minutes of running – either way, you burn the same amount of calories. And when burning calories is the only motto, why choose high impact forms like running that could potentially harm your joints and muscles? Wouldn’t you rather walk for a slightly longer duration without having to compromise with your joints and muscles intact?
Did this help you choose between what is more beneficial for fat loss? Can you now reason more appropriately as to why you should prefer walking over running to reach your fat loss goals? When are you starting your 10,000 steps a day?
There are apps like pedometer that tell you exactly how many steps you have walked and the calories burned. You can even tally your scores with other members using the app. This will also keep you motivated.
What are the ways you employ to lose weight? Do you prefer walking or running and why? Drop a comment in the section below. We love to hear from you.
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