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Weight Loss and Running

There have been many posts on the Running Woman Board regarding Weight Loss and Running It is hoped that this article will provide some information on that subject.

New Research Suggests a Change in Thinking.

Recently I told a runner that both walking and running burn the same number of calories per mile. I was absolutely certain of this fact for two reasons: I had read it many times in articles about running; and I had passed this information along to runners many times.
Most runners have heard that you burn about 100 calories a mile. And since walking a mile requires you to move the same body weight over the same distance, walking or running should also burn about 100 calories a mile. Now new research suggests otherwise.
A recent study by a group of Syracuse University researchers measured the actual calorie burn of 12 men and 12 women while running and walking 1,600 metres on a treadmill. Men burned an average of 124 calories while running, and just 88 while walking; the women burned 105 and 74. (The men burned more than the women because they weighed more.)
This seems to suggest that when you walk, you keep your legs mostly straight, and your center of gravity rides along fairly smoothly on top of your legs. As we begin running, we jump from one foot to the other. Each jump raises our center of gravity when we take off, and lowers it when we land, since we bend the knee to absorb the shock. This continual rise and fall of our mass requires a tremendous amount of force in fighting gravity.
So as a result, we now know the relative calories consumed in running a mile versus walking the same mile. The male subjects consumed 105 calories by running and 52 when walking. The women consumed 91 calories when running compared to 43 calories when walking. This seems to imply that running burns twice as many calories per mile as walking. If you can run two miles in the time it takes to walk one mile, running could burn four times as many calories per hour as walking.
The downside of this is that the study only uses 12 males and 12 females, but as soon as more research comes in, this new information will change the way we view running vrs walking.
Walking still remains a great way to lose weight and to exercise.
Most websites about Weight Loss and Running agree that the farther you run/walk, the more calories you burn. Some refer to running 'in the zone' to ensure that the 'right' fat is consumed for calories. None say that running faster burns more calories than running slower or walking. Running will burn calories faster because you cover a set distance in less time.
Until more studies on running and weight loss are done, the focus on distance rather than speed will still be the benchmark.
Our original article is below.

Weight Loss and Running

With exercise, it is a matter of burning off calories to lose weight. Whether walking or running, fast or slow, the average person will lose approximately 100 calories for every mile walked or run. Some sources state 93 calories for a 100 pound person. The speed that you walk or run does not make any difference. As each pound is equal to 3600 calories, you need to cover 35-36 miles to lose one pound. So even if you walk a marathon, you will not lose a total of one pound.

When you begin a weight loss program through exercise, weight drops off quickly due to water loss. Marathon runners will lose 7-10 pounds due to water loss, but only up to one pound due to the activity. This explains why it is important to hydrate as you run.

Calories burned while running is directly related to the distance covered, the faster you walk or run translates into a greater distance. Some individuals think that if they run 5 miles as opposed to walking the 5 miles, they burn off more calories. This is not necessarily the case. Long runs of 22 km or more, may increase the metabolism, but only for a short time.

Muscles will tone up and can increase in mass, thus adding to your weight. Competitive runners also weight train and this produces the weight gain. Again you need to diet carefully, be concerned with sugar content, but also fat content.

Just carry on running, watch your diet, check the amount of calories you are consuming, and don't weigh yourself. As soon as your clothes feel loose, buy a smaller size.

Walking Vrs Running

Walking does burn a greater percentage of its calories from fat. The reason for this is because walking is a purely aerobic activity, meaning oxygen using. Running burns a lesser percentage of calories from fat. But it burns so many more calories than walking, that a greater weight loss is possible from running than walking. Walking is great for losing weight if you have 4 hours a day to walk. Walk for 4 hours or run for 1 hour. The choice is obvious.

Weight loss comes from burning more calories/day than you consume. There is no other way to lose weight, than burning more than you consume. Where the calories come from, carbs, sugar, or fat, is not that important. The after burn from intense exercise is more important than how many calories are burned during the exercise as your metabolism is boosted much higher after a bout of intense exercise than from moderate exercise. If you burn all of the carbs/sugars in your body during the run, the calories for normal metabolism come from the only thing that is left, fat. Fat will always be your body's last choice for energy.

I would say that walking is great for the average person who needs to do something. Walking involves much less effort mentally and physically so more people are willing to stick with it.

Research regarding fitness and exercise shows that intense exercise is much better than moderate exercise. The longer and more intense a workout is, the more benefits you get from it. That means less body fat, lower chance of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and in the end you live longer.

Older people who walk are at least doing something. Many people have bad experiences of running laps in gym class. It takes time to overcome a mental dislike of a sport

The body runs on certain fuels: fats, carbs, and sugars. When these are not present, your body can also break down muscle tissue to supply energy needs. That is why runners need to make sure they get protein in their diet. When your muscle mass diminishes, so does your metabolism. Your body will break down muscle before fat to feed the body's energy needs if it has to do so.

Generally, you burn calories based on transporting weight over distance. So if you use the same muscles to transport the same weight over 10K running vs. walking you burn about the same number of calories - only you do it much faster running. You burn more calories when you involve more muscle groups (i.e.racewalking as it uses more muscle groups than walking or running).

To lose fat you need to eat fewer calories than you expend each day. It also helps to be building muscle at the same time.

For an increased lifespan and prevention of heart disease, walking a half hour to an hour a day at an easy pace is good. More than that is better - various benefits have been shown from moderate exercise.


Gord - Women in Motion

Women in Motion -Modified on August 10.2005