Ok so it's fair to say that there's so much talk in the fitness world about the benefits and downsides of various things, it's hard to know what's really good for you. Do you rock a high protein diet or is it better to go vegan? Should we do a few long sessions of exercise a week, or more shorter sessions? Oh god. It's all too much. Help us!
So we're going to try as much as possible to sort through all the waffle and find out what we should be doing. Or if there's really actually any right way.
First up - running vs walking. What's the deal? What should we be doing? Personally I've spent most of my time believing that if I wasn't working up a serious sweat and pounding it on the pavement, nothing out of the ordinary was going to happen to my body in terms of fat loss and toning, and yet now, a few flicks through of a couple of health mags and fitness sites, and I'm being told walking regularly, for long periods of time and racking up your step count during the day is actually more effective. My head hurts. Let's discuss.
You expend 2.5 more energy running than you do walking, and that counts for open air running or a gym based treadmill. That's a biggy. You're burning more calories. And a study recently showed that even if the same amount of energy was used (ie the walkers just walked for longer than the runners ran), the runners still lost more weight. Fine.
In case you'd thought you'd already made your decision about your next workout, check this out. Running puts more stress on the body, and increases the risk of injury and loss of flexibility, if you're an avid yoga bunny, regular running is not your friend. On a beauty level constant stress on the body causes your nutrition resources to be targeted to areas that need repair, your hair and skin are far from their first priority so you could suffer a loss of condition there. Oh the horror!
Running burns 2.5 more energy lap for lap than walking but puts your body under more stress. Avoid making it your number one form of exercise, combine it with longer walks and weights training during the week for the most effective weekly workout routine, and make sure to add in at least one session of yoga or pilates to really stretch out those muscles. And keep your halo in place with a star of a warm up and cool down routine.