Everyone agrees with the public health messages that call for regular, moderate exercise. Walking briskly can be far more effective than running for losing weight. Here are the reasons:
1. When you do any intense cardiovascular exercise like running, you burn calories from both muscle and fat. The body cannot pick which calories to burn, and thus by running you actually decrease your muscle mass which eventually makes you more metabolically inefficient.
2. The production of a stress hormone called cortisol increases after doing too much cardiovascular exercise, which leads to bigger food cravings since your body wants to compensate for all those burned calories. So you end up consuming more calories than you have previously burned.
**Too much cardio exercising makes you leptin-resistant, which has the same hormonal effect as sleep deprivation. This prevents your body from telling you when it’s full. You get very hungry quickly and due to the high amounts of cortisol you eventually develop insulin resistance and back to gaining weight.
**Cardiovascular exercises can have a negative impact on thyroid function. The thyroid produces a hormone called T4, and in order to have a properly functioning metabolism, it is then is converted to T3. But, the thyroid is unable to produce T4 if you are creating too much cortisol in your body. You end up with a dysfunctional metabolism, loss of energy and inability to burn fat.
3. Running is considered high impact and the further you run, the more impact. If you are overweight this can cause havoc on your joints and knees.
Summary: Running can cause hormonal imbalances, reduction of muscle mass, less efficient metabolism, which can lead to more weight, and if you are overweight, it can have a negative impact on your knees.
Walking on the other hand can be much more balanced and a healthier alternative, even though the amount of calorie burning effects are not as high as running. You decrease the amounts of cortisol with walking, which is much better in the long-term. Walking makes you more sensitive to insulin, enabling better calorie burn from other exercises and it doesn’t create unmanageable hunger and cravings. It also produces dopamine and serotonin at reasonably high levels which make you feel happier and motivated in your overall health and wellness.
So, start walking as much as possible! At least three days a week take 30 minutes to walk, and increase this gradually. Choose walking instead of running, especially if you are over 40 and not accustomed to an exercise regimen. If you want a tone and firm body, do some weekly resistance training exercises for 20 or 30 minutes. Combine these tips with a great diet and you won’t have to run ever again.