Sleep, Day 2: Three Cheers for Walking!

February 10, 2009 at 8:12 am 1 comment

Okay.. so.  I did it!  And it wasn’t easy, either, because I was having a nice conversation with a friend last night and looked up to realize it was 11:25 pm already.  I was ready for bed and all, but right out of the box I was facing the very thing that usually prevents me from getting to bed on time.  I did tear myself away, though, and I was able to get walking in earlier in the day, so it worked out.  I just have a feeling this getting-to-bed-at-11:30 thing is going to be an even bigger challenge for me than anything else I’ve done so far.

Anyway,  I was perusing the internet in search of information on treadmill workouts, and I ended up sheering off into discussions on the benefits of walking vs. running.   I found this interesting discussion on Google Answers in which a woman was trying to settle a bet with her boyfriend.   She apparently walks about 9 miles every so often for exercise, and it takes her about 2 hours to do it.  Her boyfriend maintained that if she jogged or ran, she would get a better workout, while she said she’d been told that the only difference between running a mile and walking a mile is the length of time it takes to do it.  She wanted an expert to settle the argument.

The experts rang in thanks to one careful internet researcher who came up with the following quote:

“All things being equal, you will burn more calories by running an
hour than walking an hour. It is true that walking a mile will burn
more calories than running a mile — although it takes longer to do
so. When you run a mile, you’re burning mostly sugar, or
carbohydrates, which is how your body gives you fast energy in bursts.
When you walk a mile, it gives your metabolism time to switch from
burning carbohydrates to burning fat.”

ebMD – Dean Ornish, MD

There was a link attached, but it’s apparently defunct now.  Bummer, because I’d have liked to have read more about that.  She had more too, pertaining to the relative benefits of walking vs running with respect to endurance, cardiovascular health and impact on joints, and walking either equals or wins across the board.  It would seem that the only strike against walking is that it tends to take longer to achieve the same level of workout.

Well, fair enough. 😉  This actually surprised me, because nearly most other articles I’ve found online promise to compare the two, and end up more or less casting Walking as a preamble for running, or placing it in the role of ‘Exercise For Dummies’.

Cecil Adams of The Strait Dope tackled this question too, for whatever that’s worth.  His foray into relevant research suggested that, in fact, running DOES burn more calories per distance unit than walking.   But the calories burned, he says, are different.  Apparently the fact that walking takes longer than running is a strike in its favor both in terms of fat loss and in terms of cardiovascular health.  The prolonged activity pulls less required energy from carbs and more from stored fat reserves when you run (in fact, Cecil says that at ‘minute 50’ of a walk, you’re burning a 75/25 fat-to-carb ratio).  As for CV health, again the prolonged exercise is better for your heart than short burts accomplish the same amount of caloric burn, as may be the case with jogging or running.

Interesting stuff.  I suppose I can stop feeling lame about the fact that walking pretty much comprises my entire exercise regimen now.  What I really need — and maybe I should ask for this for Valentine’s Day, as romantic a gift as it is — is a heart rate monitor like Feaelin has.  The Treadmill presumably tracks my pulse if I hold onto the handrails, but the Terrible Table gets in the way of that. :/  I did pull it away briefly yesterday and walk with my hands on the rails, but the highest reading I got was around 78 or so.  Probably in the ‘heart healthy’ range on a Target Heart Rate chart, but nowhere near ‘aerobic’.

Not that this bothers me.  It’s just interesting to note.  I also tried walking backwards on the treadmill briefly yesterday.  THAT was weird.  I had to keep stopping and backing up because I was consistently nudging forward.  Something to try at very low speeds and build up, I guess.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Sleep, Day 1: Still Getting Yelled At. Sleep, Day 3: Calculated Decisions

1 Comment

  • 1. melalvai  |  February 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Yay for getting to bed on time! I hope you succeed at this one and inspire Iain to give getting up on time another go. 😀 To be fair, he’s been pretty good about getting up on time, and not terrible about getting to bed late, he just hasn’t been recording it daily and he certainly hasn’t done is 21 days in a row without failing.

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