Walking or running? Image via Unsplash/Gabin Vallet

Walking or Running: Which is Better for Weight Loss?

Anybody who’s had to lose weight will be familiar with getting used to walking or running. Multiple sources will tell you how these exercises are effective for weight loss and how easy they are.

But which is better than the other? Walking is so much easier than running, but won’t running burn more calories?


Before we jump into the comparison, let’s talk a little about cardio exercises. Both walking and running are forms of cardio exercise that get your heart rate up and ensure you burn calories while breaking into a good sweat. Cardio exercise provides numerous benefits to our bodies, such as:

  • Improves circulation
  • Improves stamina
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Regulates cholesterol
  • Improves immunity
  • Prevents insomnia
  • Strengthens the heart
  • Relieves stress

If you’re a beginner, even 30 minutes of cardio exercise three to four times a week can bring about changes to your wellbeing.


Does walking or running help more with weight loss?

While walking is a great exercise in itself - almost all of us have been doing it for decades - running takes the trophy in being the larger contributor to weight loss. Running burns about twice as many calories as walking and can boost weight loss.

Image via Pexels/Tirachard Kumatanom

Of course, the number of calories burned during exercise relies largely on the person doing the exercise. People who weigh heavier tend to burn more calories than those with lower percentages of body fat. To lose one pound of fat, 3500 calories need to be shed. This makes running a faster route to weight loss than walking.


However, if you are a beginner, it is advisable not to jump into running right off the bat. Don’t discard the idea of walking just yet, as this is what will help you get into the groove of running. Plus, some activity is better than none, right?


It is recommended to stick to walking for the first two weeks - regular pace in the first week, and slowly picking up the pace of your steps in the second week.

How to get the same impact as running, from walking

In case you are someone who is unable to run for whatever reasons, here are some simple walking workouts you can do to torch some additional calories:

Power walking

As the name suggests, this is a form of walking that expends more energy by walking with more power. The idea is to walk at a fast pace, usually above 3 mph. This brings your heart rate up and gets you sweaty in no time. The faster you go, the more calories you will burn, as it’s a similar pace to jogging.


Inclined walking

If you are using a treadmill, you can make use of the incline feature on it. Else, find yourself a hill with a nice slope you can walk up. Walking uphill burns more calories than walking on a flat surface. It is also an effective way to build strength and endurance.

Walking with a weighted vest

Weighted vests aren’t just for street lifters and calisthenics athletes; try wearing one the next time you go for a walk. Not only will you burn more calories, but the additional weight will urge you to keep your core tight so you can bear the weight of it on your body. This will help build core strength as well.

So, while walking and running are both great forms of cardio, running obviously helps more with weight loss than walking. That being said, it is important to recognize what your body is capable of and be sure not to push it to the point of injury.

Start slow and keep it light until you figure out what works best for you. You can check out our beginner’s guide to running if you’re looking to take your walking up a notch.


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Edited by
Sabine Algur
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