Walking is as Good as Running for Weight Loss

A study shows the low-impact workout can help shed pounds; it just takes a bit more of a time commitment.



When it comes to weight loss, there may be no benefit to running over walking, except for the time saved, according to a recent study.

The study, conducted at the Duke University School of Medicine, had 120 overweight individuals exercise on treadmills, ellipticals, or exercise bicycles for 11 miles a week; they were told to exercise vigorously enough to get their hearts working at a rate equivalent to what it would be like to walk or jog. After a six-month trial period, participants in both groups lost about three pounds, according to an article in The Tallahassee Democrat. The joggers completed their 11-mile weekly treks in two hours, whereas the walkers completed their exercise regimens in three hours.

For anyone who has tried to begin a running routine while out of shape, it’s a daunting task. Muscles that haven’t been exerted in a long time can be overworked and cardiovascular and respiratory systems may be strained. It may be an uphill battle to get started on an exercise routine of running, both mentally and physically, if you haven’t been regularly active in a while.

It’s also possible to overdo it. Research has shown that running too much can have a negative impact on long-term health. A recent study by the Copenhagen City Heart study found that strenuous joggers were found to have the same risk of death as sedentary individuals. Some researchers are beginning to advise that jogging is best prescribed at lower doses of one to two hours per week at a reasonable pace.

When it comes to exercise, walking may be the best option for many people. According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of walking go beyond weight maintenance and include improved mood, improved balance and coordination, and strengthening of the bones. Plus it’s a great reason to get outside and enjoy a beautiful day. So if you aren’t ready to sign up for a marathon, or if you never will be, don’t hesitate to get out for a good walk.

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Justin Surgent served as an assistant editor for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation. Previously, he was a photo editor and copy editor for UMass Amherst’s independent newspaper, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian.