If your goal is to lose weight and/or reduce body fat, you will need to be in a calorie deficit everyday. If you are looking to burn extra calories through exercise to ensure you are getting this calorie deficit, you will probably take to cardiovascular exercise. Running may be the most obvious choice.
But perhaps you hate running. Perhaps you currently have joints that aren’t functioning 100%. Or perhaps just the mere thought of running outside or on a treadmill makes you feel tired.
This could be the one fact that will change your fat loss journey forever.
One fact to change them all
It doesn’t matter whether you run, jog or walk a certain distance, you will burn the same amount of calories no matter whether you run, jog or walk it. It’ll just take you longer to walk it compared to running it.
Read it again
- Day one you run a flat 5km outside.
- Day two you power walk 5km on a treadmill.
- Day three you do a 3km run and later in the day you walk 2km extra to your daily activity.
For all of these differently composed 5km workouts, you will have burned the same number calories.
What does this mean?
Maybe you aren’t starting on your weight loss journey because you feel dreadful after 30 seconds of running or perhaps the concept of running is solely the barrier for you exercising as you think that there’s no point in doing it if you can’t run.
This fact means that you can now get going on your weight loss or exercise journey and feel good doing an exercise that you like. So get your activity tracker set up, put on some headphones, get a new podcast or audiobook ready, and go for that power walk.
What’s the catch?
This fact in itself has no catch. But we must be aware that it is the distance you cover that indicates the number of calories you burn.
So if you run, jog and walk for 45 minutes on three separate occasions, you may cover 8km, 6km and 4km. This will mean that the running option will burn more calories because you have travelled a greater distance. This is why people choose running in the first place because you can burn more calories in a shorter period of time, and the quicker you run the more the muscles will ‘feel it’ after your exercise too, burning a few more calories after you’ve finished training. Also, most people can walk, but not everyone can run let alone sprint. Thus, increasing your intensity of activity through walking to running to sprinting will also improve your fitness level.
Take home point
But this is just an aside to the main fact and enlightening part of this information. We aren’t worried about fitness with this fact. Just calorie burning over a distance.
If you cannot or do not like running, but you want to burn fat and have an hour to workout and do some cardio to complement your calorie controlled healthy diet, go for as fast a walk as you can and travel as far as possible.
When someone pipes up wearing their brand new Nike running gear with ‘I ran a 5km at lunch time’ you can say in return ‘I did 5km too instead of using transport to get to work’. You know that you have burned the same calories doing that walk than if you had also done a 5km run at lunch time. They may have pushed their fitness levels a bit more, but you would have burned calories and untaken a more gentle activity for the longevity of your body.
Moreover, you won’t be as mentally tired power walking compared to if you run or sprinted the distance, so you can do it day after day and continually get yourself closer to your weight loss goals.
Now, get out and walk please people.
Director – Head of Fitness and Nutrition
Fitness Body Pro