Weight-Loss Myth: 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.
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