I am a walker. My partner, who you will get to know as Paul, is a runner. Obviously his athletic ability far outweighs my own, (Paul ran the Rome Marathon in 2015).
We both exercise regularly, sometimes together, (so to speak), running and walking around an open space down the road from our home. The track is about 3.5 to 4km long so I speed walk around with my daughter on her bike, while Paul will run two laps so we finish at the same time. It’s about 30min to 40min.
I have to admit that since starting regular walking it has gotten easier and I have increased my speed and reduced the time it takes to get around our walking/running track I can also break out into a sprint at times to catch up with my daughter. I would never have been able to run along side her six months ago but my fitness has greatly improved. I am proof that walking is a great step, (pardon the pun), to improving your fitness. So what about weight loss?
I did some reading on the subject and it seems the experts are divided as to how effective walking can be when trying to lose weight. I am a curvy woman with hypothyroidism so losing a small amount of weight and maintaining that loss, (I feel) is a pretty good outcome from walking.
Some experts believe that using walking, as your predominant daily exercise is not enough to drop the kilos and keep it off, but some disagree.
The pro-walking experts (doctors, trainers), seem to hold the opinion that good eating habits and walking, although a slow way to drop weight, is more effective, long term, in maintaining your lighter weight and fitness as there is less chance of injury. Walking is low impact and its something you can do at your own pace. If you have pre-existing injuries or conditions, walking is a gentle way to exercise without the constant jarring of jog. Have a read of this. This article talks about the cardiovascular benefits of walking. http://www.prevention.com/fitness/how-walking-healthier-running
Pro-running experts seem to want people to drop weight quick. Do 20 minutes of exercise as compared to an hour. Have a read of this. This quick article has a good argument for speeding things along. http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/quick-vs-slow-weight-loss-which-method-produces-long-lasting-results.html . Some real good points that rebut my personal opinion of slow is better. How about some health benefits of running. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/running-and-jogging-health-benefits
But what if you injure yourself or lose heart in your own abilities and fitness that you walk away from exercise within the first month. Would walking be more effective in not overwhelming a newbie with, “keep your heart rate up”, “push yourself”, “and no pain no gain”.
I have seen other people, mainly women who have gone on to lose a lot of weight very quickly through vigorous and sometimes excessive exercise only to put the weight back on because of an injury, work commitments or family commitments cutting into gym time. It makes me want to take my time and have the most easily maintainable exercise regime.
The idea that walking can get boring or doing the same exercise every day can get old real quick isn’t far fetched. Some days, I have to admit, I have woken up in the morning and thought, I can’t be bothered to go for a walk, but after I have managed to drag my arse to the park I have felt better for it. I think some people including myself would have that same attitude some days regardless if you’re running or walking. Everybody has a lazy day.
Paul is obviously not going to get the same results from walking now because he has a regime that rivals most people I know, and his fitness is excellent. If he was to change to a walking regime, I am sure his fitness level would suffer. So I certainly would not expect people to change to walking just because someone suggested it’s a great way to exercise. If you are a runner … go on with your bad self. Get to it and don’t slow down unless you have to. Oh and don’t forget, walking is a good easy exercise on a rest day.
But as for me, I like the feeling of a walk. The fresh air (when its cool) is divine. I have my headphones in with the music blaring, ignoring everybody except for a smile as you quickstep past the strangers. I don’t feel like there is any pressure to preform and I don’t have anyone telling me to hurry up. My brain calms down, (which for me is a struggle) and by the end of it, I feel like I’ve exercised without collapsing and begging for a Zimmer frame and two oxygen tanks because one just would not cut the mustard.