My Nike+ doesn’t think so… So I decided to do some digging to find out. I jogged 1.83 miles a few nights ago and then ago walked the same distance. According to Nike+ I burned 397 calories (if I had realized I was at 397, I would have circled the car in the drive way a few times for the extra 3 cals). Hmmm… when I run my knees hurt, my side hurts, my back hurts – I mean, let’s face it – I’m FAT. When I walk, I don’t hurt. So, if walking burns the same calories, why run?
Which is it then, walking or running? Well, the answer is apparently… complicated. The short and simple – if your knees and back hurt while you run – then walk. Moving the same amount of mass the same amount of distance (i.e. you running 1 mile vs you walking 1 mile) takes the same amount of effort, meaning it burns the same calories. “But wait”, you say, “didn’t you say it was complicated?” Yes well, the assumption is that both running and walking are equally efficient. They are not. Running is LESS efficient and therefore burns MORE calories. It also doesn’t take into account the amount of time you continue to burn calories due to increased heart rate after the run vs the walk.
Here is my take – running is hard on the joints and difficult to do. For someone that is extremely out of shape, your heart rate will spike well above the ‘fat burning’ zone (60% of 220 bpm minus your age) while you run AND you are less likely to go as far as when you walk. If you are like me – you might run for two miles, but you are much more likely to walk for four miles. So, if you are choosing to run one mile instead of walking two or three and your goal is weight loss, then clearly you should switch to walking.
Now if your goal is better cardovascular… thats another story.