Photo credit by Geff Rossi
Many people jog and walk as a means to reduce their weight. It is the popular trend and belief that jogging will be beneficial for weight loss and walking is a sub-optimal choice. In reality, that may not be the case.
The method of jogging for health and weight loss originates from the sport of long-distance running. Many people emulate the long-distance runners in an attempt to lose weight. The question is: Do you really want to look like a long-distance runner?
Long-distance runners are very thin, have little muscle mass and have conditioned their body to use as little calories as possible to function. They literally wear their bodies out gladly for their sport. If you do want to look like a long-distance runner, then jogging may be for you. But there are some side-effects of running for distance that you might want to know.
First, running for long distances is catabolic. Catabolic means the breaking down of large molecules in the body to smaller units. If you jog for a long period of time, your body will reduce the amount of muscles in your body in an attempt to become more efficient by becoming lighter. This in turn reduces the amount of calories your muscle burns and finally, resulting in less food you can consume to maintain your weight.
Second, jogging in long distances will add more stress to your body. When your body is stressed, it releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol will in the long run make you store fat easier and in very specific places. (Stomach and face) If your life is already stressed from work and problems, jogging will only add to it.
Many people do not walk because of the misconception of the effectiveness of walking. Walking for about 20-30 minutes a day will do wonders for your weight loss. Why?
Walking indeed does burn fewer calories in a session than jogging. But the main reason why it is effective is because of its low intensity. Aside from being more liable to stick to your program, walking does not stress an individual like jogging does. As such, walking will not release cortisol hormones and is more likely to release endorphins instead.
Because of its low intensity, walking is not catabolic and you will not very likely lose muscle mass by walking. Walking is also very safe and does not result in as many injuries as jogging.
Weight loss is very different to fat loss. In order to find out which method is best for your needs, you must first determine your goal. Are you trying to lose weight regardless of muscle? Or are you trying to lose fat while keeping muscle mass?
If your decision is the latter, walking is more effective and safer than jogging. You will be able to retain your hard-earned muscles as opposed to risk losing it. If not, then jogging will be faster than walking for weight loss. A word of caution: you will lose muscle mass and not feel as well when jogging. Make no mistake though; the person who works the hardest will achieve his goals much faster than someone who does something half-heartedly.