01 December 2008

Every body agree, exercise, whether it’s hard (swimming, running, skipping) or simple (walking, yoga) can help to lose your weight. I believe the theory of walking distance is what helps you lose weight best versus my theory that it is the speed at which you walk that matters. So, Which matters most in ultimate weight loss : speed or distance?

Your buddy feels it is the duration of the activity that matters. It’s correct in thinking that the longer one works out, the more calories will burn. It’s also correct in assuming that the more intensely one exercises, the greater the caloric expenditure. To illustrate, consider the numbers for each pace listed below for the average 150-pound person :

PaceCalories expended per minuteCalories expended per mileMinutes per mileOne hour totals :
2 mph3.610830216 calories 2 miles
4 mph6.69915396 calories 4 miles

Based on the figures above, the faster the pace at which a person walks, the more calories per minute will use. If two people walk for the same amount of time, the speedier walker obviously will expend more calories. It also appears that at a slower pace, a person burns slightly more calories per mile, since it takes more time to reach a mile. The slower paced person burns approximately 9 more calories per mile, which, by the way, is not very meaningful in terms of weight loss. (These numbers are approximations and vary according to body composition, with a more muscular person expending slightly more energy and calories than a less muscular person.

Intensity and duration of exercise are mutually exclusive. It is hard to stay active at the highest intensity for a long period of time. Most times, exercise is either at a higher intensity for a shorter period of time, or at a lower intensity for a longer period of time.

The Benefits

Walking at a faster pace is can helps you improve the cardiovascular function and fitness level. In time, a person who trains at higher levels of intensity can slowly increase the exercise time, building up endurance. While walking slower pace allows you to stroll for a longer duration before becoming tired, which helps to build up endurance. In time, a person can slowly increase the intensity (speed up the walking), improving his or her level of fitness. Improvements in fitness occur by increasing the body's use of oxygen (oxygen consumption). Whether the intensity is high and duration is short, or the intensity is low and duration is long, relatively the same amount of oxygen is utilized and the same number of calories is expended.

Doesn’t matter which one you choose, intensity or duration. You should be consistent in any activity you choose to do. You can Mix it up some days going for intensity shorter, faster walks; some days going for endurance longer, slower walks can keep you on your toes (pun intended). It can also make your exercise routine more interesting, fit into any schedule, and keep you and your buddy satisfied and happy.


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