Should I walk or run? – Ask the experts: answers to your questions from the leaders in natural medicine – exercise and weight loss

Should I walk or run? – Ask the experts: answers to your questions from the leaders in natural medicine – exercise and weight loss – Brief Article

My friend walks briskly three miles a day, and I run three miles a day. Who’s getting the better workout?

ADRIANE FUGH-BERMAN, M.D., REPLIES: In terms of burning calories, you’re both getting the same workout. Running burns more calories per minute because it increases your heart rate more than walking. But your walking friend is compensating for her slower burn rate by exercising for a longer time (because it takes longer to walk three miles than it does to run that same distance).

These modes of exercise also tie in terms of weight loss, but walkers may keep off more of the weight. In a 1999 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one group of women who did 30 minutes of moderate exercise (like walking short distances or taking stairs instead of elevators) on most days of the week lost approximately the same amount of weight after four months (about 18 pounds) as a second group of women who attended aerobics classes three times a week. (I would equate the aerobics classes to running since they both significantly elevate your heart rate.) However, one year later, the first group had regained less than a pound, while the aerobics group had regained an average of 3.5 pounds.

Walking treats your joints more gently than running, and many people find it easier to incorporate into their lives than other forms of exercise.

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