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Is Running Necessary for Weight Loss?

Find out if running is right for you, whether your Personal Trainer is Telling you to or not!

We’ve all heard it….”no pain, no gain”.  Running has therefore got to be better than walking because you sweat more, you breathe faster and therefore burn more energy!


I suppose you can use the same argument of “which is heavier, a 1kg of feathers or a 1kg of brick” – they are both the same!  Therefore because the distance is the same, the energy used must be the same!

OK, that’s not strictly true, so here’s the science bit…


Walking Vs Running

Take on average someone who weights 70kg:

– Walking about 3.1 miles per hour, they use 50 units of energy per km.

– Running at 6.2 miles per hour, they use 78units of energy per km.

So…it seems running is better!

HOWEVER, at the start of the run, you are metabolising carbohydrates (before you start to burn fat). To optimally burn fat (over carbiohydrates) you need to work at 60% of your maximum aerobic capacity (reached at around 75% of maximum heart rate –which is generally ariound 220 minus your age). Therefore low to moderate exercise is a better way to burn energy/fat and on the plus side it can be easier on your joints!  OK, so you do burn SLIGHTLY more energy when you run, but it’s not a huge significant amount.

By running you can do more work in less time, but if you think you’ll need to exercise for half the time if you run, you’re sadly incorrect! On the flip side, however, thinking that an amble round the park for three miles is equivalent to a three mile run isn’t quite right either!


Outdoor Vs Indoor Running?

I suppose the next question is comparing running on a treadmill to running outdoors.  Outside you’ve got the pounding of the pavement on your knees and legs, but running outdoors does burn slightly more energy than running indoors on a treadmill (mostly because of the air resistance). However, running indoors can be safer and some ‘tricks of the trade’ show that setting the treadmill to an incline of 1% evens this out the difference in kcals burned between indoor and outdoor running!

Perhaps when choosing whether to run indoors or outdoors it’s most important to remember that the many scientific papers on movement and exercise do not take into account the impact of our mind and how we feel on the rest of the body – the psychological impact is yet to be truly explored, and ultimately we might be better of basing our decision on which we enjoy most.


Output and Input

Ultimately, even if you are running every single day, you won’t lose any weight if you are putting more energy into your body than you need.



Do what makes you feel good…

So what is the truth about what is right for you?

We are all different and as such we need to do what is right for our own body, mind and goals – If you don’t like or can’t run then walking is definitely the best thing for you and will make a significant difference to you health and wellbeing. If however, you are training for a marathon walking is not going to get you there (unless you are walking the 23 miles). I believe the outside is better for health as you get fresh air and can take in nature but if you get hay fever then the gym might be the place for you.

The only thing science ever shows us is the average info for the average Joe Bloggs. You are not average (in fact the ‘average’ person doesn’t really exist!).

Do what is right for your body.

Do what makes you feel amazing.


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