If you’re hoping to lose some weight and planning to add exercise to your overall health regimen, the chances are that you’ve heard people suggest running as a physical activity. While running can be a good option for those who have some experience with fitness and endurance training, it can also be very intimidating for people who aren’t as familiar with fast-paced calorie burning.
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Fortunately, walking is a terrific alternative to running, and in many respects, it is even better for weight loss when done consistently.
Get ready for your heart to pump faster and your metabolism to kick into high gear as you shed pounds from walking around your neighborhood or on a stationary machine. Let these 10 reasons why walking is preferable to running motivate you in your brand new weight loss journey.
1. Walking Helps To Keep Cortisol Levels Stable
Running and other fast-paced cardiovascular exercises can cause your body to produce too much of the stress hormone known as cortisol. Your desire to lose weight may be compromised by excess cortisol, as this hormone is linked with an increase in appetite.
Although you might think that running long distances is certain to result in weight loss, when you take high cortisol levels into account, the issue becomes more complicated. Try walking, which keeps your cortisol production and your appetite stable.
2. Walkers Are Less Likely Than Runners To Burn Muscle Mass
While it’s true that running burns a good number of calories when it is done regularly, some of this calorie expenditure may come at the expense of your muscle tissue. When losing weight, you ideally want to focus on exercises that burn fat, not muscle, so that your body is strong, toned and physically fit. Keep in mind that the intensity level of running can cause both muscle and fat tissue to decrease, while lower-impact walking targets only fat.
3. Walking Is Easier On Your Bones And Joints
Because healthy bones and joints are vital for the undertaking of any exercise program, your best bet is to choose a weight loss-friendly activity that does not place unnecessary stress on your skeletal system. Pick walking over running in order to protect your bones from fracturing and your joints from wearing down.
Remember that if you are overweight, your skeleton has more mass to support, and overly demanding exercises can quickly lead to an injury that leaves you unable to work out at all.
4. Walking Promotes The Production Of Mood-Lifting Hormones
Maintaining a positive and productive mood while you are on the path to losing weight makes the process much simpler and more exciting. Rather than opting for running, which may elevate stress, consider walking for its ability to increase the production of dopamine and serotonin, two brain chemicals that elevate your mood. Walk your way to weight loss with an optimistic spirit and a smile on your face.
5. Walking Is Less Stressful On Your Heart
Exercise is ideal for promoting good heart function overall, but if you overexert yourself with highly intensive activities for long periods of time, you may actually put your heart at risk for the stretching of its chambers, inflammation, micro-tearing of its muscle tissue and free radical damage.
Prolonged, vigorous running might help you to lose some weight, but you need to be mindful of the potential effects that it could have on your cardiovascular system. Walking, on the other hand, is much gentler on your heart.
6. Walkers Have A Lower Risk Of Illness and Injury
Not only does your heart stand a better chance of remaining healthy when you choose walking over running, but your body also receives greater protection against illness and injury. This is because strenuous exercise can elevate the number of inflammatory proteins that your body produces, thereby weakening your immune system, making you vulnerable to viruses and delaying your recovery time.
As well as increasing your risk of developing colds and other illnesses, running carries a higher likelihood of physical injury than does walking.
7. Walking Produces Less Wear And Tear On Your Cartilage
Just as walking is better than running in terms of protecting your bones and joints, it is also preferable for keeping your cartilage, the connective tissues in your body, at a lower risk of becoming inflamed, damaged or torn. Since cartilage often takes quite a while to fully heal if it is injured, runners may hit a roadblock to losing weight that does not affect walkers at a similar degree of frequency or severity.
8. Walking Is Great For Novice Exercisers
If you’re approaching your weight loss program having exercised very little in the past, or if you’re just getting back into working out after a long break, running is likely to pose a major challenge for you right off the bat. Ease into getting your body in shape through walking, which is a popular and fun option for novices.
You can adjust the impact level of walking much easier than is possible with running, and you can continue with it as you grow more physically fit.
9. A Walking Regimen Is Easier To Stick With For Weight Loss
Motivate yourself to stick with your exercise program by choosing an activity that is easy to “change up” according to your schedule or mindset from day to day. Walking is a versatile way to lose weight since you can vary your location, speed and duration without too much difficulty if you start to find that you are getting bored.
Although running routes can be tailored to your needs as well, the more demanding nature of running makes this activity harder for many people to stay committed to over weeks and months.
10. Weight Loss Is Mainly Influenced By Diet, Not Strenuous Exercise
While exercise is a highly useful component of the weight loss process, your diet is the primary factor for determining your level of success. Provided that you are consuming fewer calories than you are expending, you are likely to lose weight based on diet alone, which allows exercise to function as an added benefit for your health.
For this reason, there is no pressing need to strain yourself by running when walking on a regular basis serves as a wonderful complement to a weight loss-friendly diet.
Start your walking program by taking a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes at a time, whether in the morning before you begin your day, on your lunch break or in the evening. Take your walk at least three days per week – you can gradually increase your exercise frequency as you get comfortable with the routine. You can add in arm movements for a more high-intensity walk, and you can make the experience more enjoyable by listening to your favorite music or audio book as you move.
If you need additional motivation in walking to lose weight, ask a friend to join in so that you can encourage one another toward reaching your goals.