Monday, 5 September 2011

Power walking: what you think you know and what you don’t know

There was, and still is, a bit of a fad amongst people who were looking to lose weight a few years ago. Power walking offers an exercise that can be done for long periods of time with the belief that more fat is being burned than more intense exercise. The “fat-burn zone” is something often thrown about and tagged with less intensive exercise. But does lower intensity exercise burn more fat than more intense exercise?
If I was to offer you 50% of £100 or 35% of £200, which one would you take? (for those of you not good with maths, it’s either £50 or £70). Now take this example and think about it with energy. If we were to walk for say 30 minutes and we burned 100kcal (for the purpose of keeping it simple, these numbers are made up but the principle does apply), of that 100Kcal 50% of the energy came from fat burning and 50% from carbohydrates. This means that 50kcal has been used from using fat as the energy source. In the jogging example; 30 minutes, 200kcal and 35% from fats. That’s 70kcal from fats.

 As well, then, as using more fat, jogging also uses more energy in total, and, as I’ve said in previous posts, the only way to lose weight is to use more calories than you take in. Surely for that we want the exercise that burns the most energy? Don’t we?

So, power walking does not burn more fat than jogging and it burns less energy all together than jogging per mile (in fact it is about half as much). So, we should just disregard it should we? We should all just jog instead? No. We shouldn’t, and the reason is simple, we can’t. Not everyone can go out and jog for 1/5/10 or however many miles. Pretty much everyone can walk further than they can jog.
Let’s put this in another practical example;
Mary is going to go out power walking and Hilary is going to go jogging. Mary walks for an hour, at 3.5mph, so manages to walk 3.5 mile. Hilary is new to jogging and only manages 20 minutes at 5mph, so manages 1.6 miles. I’ve already said that jogging uses twice as much energy per mile as walking, so for this we’ll say Hilary would have burned 50Kcal per mile and so Mary burns 25kcal per mile. Hilary would have burned 80kcal on her run and Mary would have burned 87.5kcal. So the power walking can burn more energy and use more fat?
So, first I’ve told you that jogging burns more energy and fat and then I tell you that power walking can burn more energy and use more fat. Confused you? Good.
Let’s clear things up then.
Which burns the most energy?
Jogging will burn more energy per mile but you may not be able to do as many miles.

Which uses the most fat?
Walking uses a higher percentage of fat but that does not mean that you will use more fat in total. (50% of 100 is less than 35% of 200)

Which should you do then?
If you are capable of doing so, jogging should always be the preferred choice of exercise. However, if you cannot manage to jog for long periods of time, walking is definitely better than not doing any exercise. But, do what I’ve said in this report and use it. Next time you’re walking, try jogging for one minute then have a few minutes rest, then jog for another minute. Next time you go, try running for 90 second intervals. Build it up slowly and before you know it you’ll be able to run further than you ever thought you could, be burning twice the amount of energy and losing weight at twice the rate you would have walking.

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