Walking vs. Running
Chester J. Zelasko, Ph.D. |
August 20, 2007
This is another myth
that has some basis in fact.
Walking burns more fat than running.
The basis for this myth is the estimate of what kind of fuel a person uses
while exercising. The muscles prefer glucose (sugar) as a fuel because it
can burn it more efficiently than other fuels. The harder you exercise, the
more your body relies on sugar.
If you exercise slowly or less strenuously, the body shifts to burning more
fat as a fuel. That’s the basis for fat-burning exercise: exercise slower
and your body uses fat as a fuel.
While absolutely correct, it’s meaningless in the real world. You’d have to
invest much more time in exercising slowly than if you go fast. It doesn’t
mean that walking isn’t efficient--it is, but you’ll have to spend more time
doing it than you will running or taking a spinning class.
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t really matter what type of fuel you use when
you exercise because as long as you don’t overeat, you’ll burn up body fat
when you run out of glucose. It may be hours later, but you will burn up the
fat and that’s a fact.