This would have been great as my debut blog, but the 6 year study comparing the results of runners and walkers just came out. Turns out, runners had greater weight loss than walkers, especially overweight women. Both walkers and runners lost weight, but the weight loss was more significant in the runners. In fact, the same amount of exercise produced 90% more weight loss running vs. walking for those with a BMI greater than 28. High intensity workouts also reduced the risks for hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus, and coronary heart disease (CHD).
As a former runner, I can personally attest to the weight control factor of running. For me, it was effective and nothing compares to that or the splendid, irreplaceable endorphin rush that comes with running. Unfortunately, not all of us can run. I loved running so much (32 years of it, 4-7x per wk) that I literally ran out of cartilage in my knees. The resulting bone on bone situation makes running excruciating and nearly impossible for me. So for everyone who can’t run, I feel your pain! But just because you can’t run, doesn’t mean you can’t be vigorous! It wasn’t until I started doing triathlons, mixing in the bike rides and swimming that I was at my fittest.(The virtues of cross training – a subject for another day.) So don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be running, it just has to be at intensity.
The way I look at it, if you are going to invest an hour in your fitness regimen (that’s only 4% of your day by the way) – make it count. Don’t just go through the motions in slow motion. If you’re not putting your body to the test, you might as well give it a rest! (This is different than the no pain, no gain―it doesn’t have to hurt, but it should make you sweat or at least raise your heart rate above walking zombie.)
Of course, there are hazards to working too hard, too long, and too much. (Ask my knees.) But, I think we all know when we are putting in a 7 or 8 effort vs. a 3 or 4. If you are going to invest time, invest energy and you will reap the rewards. Bottom line—vigorous exercise is a key to weight control, fitness and better health.
Now Join Me & Let’s Get Vigorous!
- Instead of stroll, step up the pace – swing your arms, add hand weights and pump away! (Never use ankle or leg weights, they’ll destroy with your joints.)
- Hike fast uphills.
- Jump on a bike (indoor or outdoor) and speed it up.
- Speaking of jumping –
- if your knees can hack it, jump rope.
- Do Jumping Jacks,
- Jump in the pool and Swim – not deadman’s float – take lessons and join a coached group for a great low-impact, high-intensity workout.
- Rollerblade or ice skate.
- Go dancing and go wild (this comes close to running for me) or
- Join a dance, aerobic or kickboxing class.
Just do something that you enjoy & do it with vigor!
Williams, Paul T. et. Al, “Does Higher-Intensity Exercise Produce More Results?” ACSM Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise. ACSM April 2013, Vol. 45, No. 4.