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TOPIC: Running vs. walking on incline

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June 23, 2011 10:45 AM
So today my coworker (who is super fit and helps people lose weight all the time) was telling me that when going to the gym i shouldnt be running. He said that in order to lose weight i should be walking on an incline for 30-60 minutes and that will burn more fat than doing hardcore cardio. Has anyone heard this or know if its true?
Edited by moriaht On June 23, 2011 10:50 AM
  2505870
June 23, 2011 10:52 AM
Well. I will tell you that I don't burn nearly as many calories walking at an incline as I do when I run. I've lost almost 60lbs and I have been running for quite awhile. That being said, I do walk at an incline just to switch things up. But, overall I run as my cardio.
  3200790
June 23, 2011 10:54 AM
The body burns a higher percentage of calories from fat in the fat burning zone (60-65% of maximum heart rate) or at lower intensities.
At higher intensities (70-90% of your maximum heart rate), you burn a greater number of overall calories.
June 23, 2011 10:55 AM
I'd like to see what people say about this. On my treadmill there is a specific weight loss program, and it is all fast paced walking on an incline. I really feel the burn when I do it, and just telling myself it's walking kinda tricks my mind into feeling like it's easier than running. Haha. But it's not easy. I'm rambling...
June 23, 2011 10:56 AM
QUOTE:

The body burns a higher percentage of calories from fat in the fat burning zone (60-65% of maximum heart rate) or at lower intensities.
At higher intensities (70-90% of your maximum heart rate), you burn a greater number of overall calories.


I had a personal trainer a few years ago who introduced me to walking on an incline. She said it was the best for fat burning. I set my treadmill to the highest incline possible (15%) and walk at a pace of 3.5 It really gets your heartrate up there and easier on the knees.
June 23, 2011 10:59 AM
Here's the way I understand it.... There is such a thing as a fat burning zone that will burn a higher percentage of calories from fat. BUT if you want to lose weight, you need to burn calories, and that means you need to get your heart rate up into the high intensity zone and running happens to be one thing that tends to get your heart rate up that high.
  5367199
June 23, 2011 11:01 AM
I had a personal trainer at one point and I had the same question... she said that doing things like walking on inclines, etc. keeps your heart rate in the "fat burning" (60% of max heart rate) zone vs. the "cardio" (80% of max heart rate) zone... but she said what this basically means is that when you keep your heart rate a lower from walking on inclines vs. running, etc., that you are able to go for a much longer time than if you keep your heart rate higher because you are less worn out. And since it takes your body about 20 minutes to burn through its sugar stores in your liver before it attacks your fat cells for energy, the longer you can stay on the treadmill after that 20 minute mark, the more fat you will burn... And of course it is easier to do that if you have been walking than if you have been running. But if you can run the entire 60 minutes that would of course be even more fat burning. I hope I am making sense :)
June 23, 2011 4:16 PM
While there is nothing wrong with incline walking, his "facts" about fat-burning are 100% wrong. The whole "running vs incline walking" debate is a false argument. They both exist on the same continuum of aerobic exercise. It's not an "either/or" type of choice.

There are two truths in exercise physiology that render the whole argument (and his position) moot.

1. The fuel you burn during exercise has NO effect on long-term weight loss. None. A) the total amount of fat burned during exercise is tiny to begin with. The differences between a "fat burning" and a "non fat burning" workout are even tinier. B) Whatever happens during an exercise session, the body compensates the rest of the day, so that the net difference is: nada.

2. Caloric burn during exercise is a byproduct of oxygen uptake. Oxygen uptake is directly related to workout intensity. If you have matching levels of oxygen uptake (i.e. matching intensities), for the most part you will have matching caloric burns (for the same individual).

Again, it doesn't matter what % fat you burn during exercise, or how long it takes the body to "burn sugar", or whatever. When it comes to aerobic exercise, intensity is intensity, regardless of what modality you are using. (Now it can be more comfortable to reach higher levels of exertion with some types of exercise activity over others, but that's a completely different issue).

From a physiologic standpoint, if you can work at an equivalent intensity level during incline walking as compared to running, caloric burn will be roughly equal. There is no "opinion" in this "debate". The facts and the formulae to estimate energy output have been established for decades.

Example: running 6mph (10:00 mile) on the flat is an intensity of around 10 METs. Here are some equivalent incline walking workloads:

2.5 mph/ 20.5% hill (need a specialized machine)

3.0 mph/ 16% hill (most treadmills only go up to 15%)

3.2 mph/15% hill

3.5 mph/13% hill

Anything faster than 3.5 will be harder to sustain at that steep an incline. You can also do faster speeds and lower inclines but those become harder to sustain because you have to keep the foot flexed through the swing phase and that can lead to early muscle fatigue). And, of course, this assumes that you do not hold on to the handrails at any time.

From a theoretical standpoint, these should all be equal, once one has become comfortable with the movements.

Practically, as always, there are pros and cons with each choice. Incline walking, because it has less pounding, allows one to more easily increase duration of the workout and I think can be easier to do more frequently. Incline walking is an excellent choice for those whose fitness level is too high to be challenged by walking on level ground, but who do not have either the physical ability or interest in running. The advantage of running is that it is still one of the best ways to burn calories and improve fitness--but only if you are fit enough to handle the intensity. As you can see from above, it takes a high level of incline walking to equal a relatively modest running pace.

The only reasons to prefer or recommend one over the other would be subjective ones like personal preference or fitness/health background. There is no unique inherent advantage with either activity.
June 23, 2011 4:22 PM
I do believe Asdak said it all. That was very educational and he sounds like a very well educated man not just a here's my advice and flow with it. Love the post thank y'all!!!!
  2099430
June 23, 2011 4:25 PM
QUOTE:

So today my coworker (who is super fit and helps people lose weight all the time) was telling me that when going to the gym i shouldnt be running. He said that in order to lose weight i should be walking on an incline for 30-60 minutes and that will burn more fat than doing hardcore cardio. Has anyone heard this or know if its true?


I do incline walking because my knees can't take the impact of running. I end up burning about 600-700 calories per hour (my workout is usually 3.5mph at 15% incline for 40 mins).
June 24, 2011 7:13 AM
I like to do my treadmilling in bursts! So I'll run at a high speed and a slight incline for around 10 minutes, then I'll walk for 3 minutes or so on a higher incline to catch my breath, and repeat till I run out of time. It depends on my level of motivation how high and low the time, speeds, and inclines get, but I've read that burst workouts are good for weight loss.
June 24, 2011 11:10 AM
QUOTE:

I like to do my treadmilling in bursts! So I'll run at a high speed and a slight incline for around 10 minutes, then I'll walk for 3 minutes or so on a higher incline to catch my breath, and repeat till I run out of time. It depends on my level of motivation how high and low the time, speeds, and inclines get, but I've read that burst workouts are good for weight loss.


All workouts are good for weight loss. What you are doing is an interval workout which is good for increasing overall fitness, which in turn allows you to work harder, which allows you to burn more calories, which is good for weight loss. The whole "burst" concept is just a catchy name. The workout is fine--you will also benefit from continuing to include some endurance cardio as well 1-2 days a week.
February 27, 2012 8:17 PM
This is an old post but I thought I would respond for any one searching for this on Google like I did. Walking on an incline and keeping your heart rate around 65% does burn more fat. The reasoning behind this is because when you run and gas your body you will dig into carbohydrate storage first, then fat. However, if your body is being pushed and you keep running you can burn fat and muscle, which for me is a no no. Walking on an incline does build your glutes (butt), legs, and calves. At 65ish% of max heart rate your body will use fat for energy instead of all your carbs. The body actually prefers using fat for energy. Walking on an incline can also save your knees! specially if your a female considering females naturally have wider hips (for child birth), women can obtain patella-femur pain which can be very painful. To concentrate on fat you don't want to turn your workout into an anaerobic (No oxygen) workout, that's when you will start to grab whatever your body can to produce the energy it needs to keep going.When I'm walking on the treadmill at a 15% incline I keep my heart rate of course at 65% my max heart rate, but also to keep it an aerobic exercise (with oxygen). My motto is if I am able to speak to someone while walking at an incline I am still at an aerobic workout. Now don't get me wrong starting of my legs and calves were killing me, but now they have strengthen up and I can go for over an hour now. Like I tell my girlfriend, Why not tone your legs while doing cardio and have it look like your wearing high heels when your wearing regular shoes or flip flops.
February 28, 2012 9:27 AM
QUOTE:

This is an old post but I thought I would respond for any one searching for this on Google like I did. Walking on an incline and keeping your heart rate around 65% does burn more fat. The reasoning behind this is because when you run and gas your body you will dig into carbohydrate storage first, then fat. However, if your body is being pushed and you keep running you can burn fat and muscle, which for me is a no no. Walking on an incline does build your glutes (butt), legs, and calves. At 65ish% of max heart rate your body will use fat for energy instead of all your carbs. The body actually prefers using fat for energy. Walking on an incline can also save your knees! specially if your a female considering females naturally have wider hips (for child birth), women can obtain patella-femur pain which can be very painful. To concentrate on fat you don't want to turn your workout into an anaerobic (No oxygen) workout, that's when you will start to grab whatever your body can to produce the energy it needs to keep going.When I'm walking on the treadmill at a 15% incline I keep my heart rate of course at 65% my max heart rate, but also to keep it an aerobic exercise (with oxygen). My motto is if I am able to speak to someone while walking at an incline I am still at an aerobic workout. Now don't get me wrong starting of my legs and calves were killing me, but now they have strengthen up and I can go for over an hour now. Like I tell my girlfriend, Why not tone your legs while doing cardio and have it look like your wearing high heels when your wearing regular shoes or flip flops.


The fuel substrate you utilize during your workout has no effect on body fat. There are another 23 hours in the day and, when it comes to fat oxidation, the body will compensate for what occurred during a workout the rest of the day, so that at the end of 24 hours, there is no difference in 24 hour fat oxidation.

The "aerobic exercise burns muscle" is also a fallacy for similar reasons. It assumes that a minor shift in fuel substrate usage during a small portion of a workout will somehow have irreversible changes in muscle mass. Doesn't happen. A simple PubMed search will come up with at least a half a dozen studies that show that athletes can engage in hours of endurance training per week without ever going into nitrogen imbalance as long as their protein intake is adequate.
February 28, 2012 9:32 AM
I was walking on an incline for a while and started running. My problem was my calves were getting too muscular and big.
February 28, 2012 1:52 PM
What Azdak said.

But just to add - I've recently started walking on an incline for a number of reasons.

1) Convenience - I have a half mile hill literally at the end of my road and it's STEEP. I get up to 150bpm walking up it, which at 40 is pretty good going.

2) Low impact. I run, do Insanity, weights, met cons etc. But I really wanted something that would let me burn calories and fat but wouldn't waste my knees. This fits the bill perfectly.

3) Back to convenience - as it's so easy I don't find it difficult to pop out and get an hour workout in before breakfast (I'm NOT a morning person).

I walk up the hill (around 8 minutes) and down it (about 5) for a total of an hour. It's also a bit like an extended interval workout. By the top of it my calves and glutes are burning, I'm breathing hard and my heart rate is around 150+. Coming down I use different muscles but it gets back down to around 120 before I turn around and start going up again.

650 calories an hour last time I wore my HRM. Plus, my knees were fine and I actually felt refreshed after it rather than wasted (as I do after some of my runs etc).

I highly recommend walking up inclines. But there's a difference between walking up a steep hill and just tilting the treadmill a bit.
  8009864
February 28, 2012 2:36 PM
QUOTE:

What Azdak said.

But just to add - I've recently started walking on an incline for a number of reasons.

1) Convenience - I have a half mile hill literally at the end of my road and it's STEEP. I get up to 150bpm walking up it, which at 40 is pretty good going.

2) Low impact. I run, do Insanity, weights, met cons etc. But I really wanted something that would let me burn calories and fat but wouldn't waste my knees. This fits the bill perfectly.

3) Back to convenience - as it's so easy I don't find it difficult to pop out and get an hour workout in before breakfast (I'm NOT a morning person).

I walk up the hill (around 8 minutes) and down it (about 5) for a total of an hour. It's also a bit like an extended interval workout. By the top of it my calves and glutes are burning, I'm breathing hard and my heart rate is around 150+. Coming down I use different muscles but it gets back down to around 120 before I turn around and start going up again.

650 calories an hour last time I wore my HRM. Plus, my knees were fine and I actually felt refreshed after it rather than wasted (as I do after some of my runs etc).

I highly recommend walking up inclines. But there's a difference between walking up a steep hill and just tilting the treadmill a bit.


Well, you can get the treadmill up pretty steep, too.....smile

But you lay out the reasons why uphill walking can be such a good workout for many people. To me, one the most important is that it provides an excellent option for people whose fitness level is too high for level walking to represent an adequate workload intensity, but who do not to run or who cannot run.

Just don't hold on to the handrails.
February 28, 2012 8:25 PM
Yeah I understand what your saying about total 24 hour day there is not a difference at the end of the day. However, my exercise science books said that walking incline does burn fat ratio wise more than running; also I know bodybuilders (although have supplemental help) do the same thing to concentrate on fat instead of running the risk of having it use muscle as energy. For example, look at marathon runners, or people that run all the time as their exercise....their muscle mass is not very good. You are probably right about the PubMed search, but it's the same thing when you go on Science Direct..You can find articles supporting incline training. For example, I know Princeton University did a study on it.

Running vs walking on incline

Walking incline pro's:
Mentally easier
go longer = more calories
A LOT easier on joints
Build or tone butt, legs, calves
Helps women avoid from getting patella-femur pain

These are without mentioning our debate up top
June 8, 2012 10:06 AM
Old post, but figured I'd put my two cent in!

I always walk at an incline and I increase it as I go along. So basically during my work out I start at an 11% incline and work up to 15%, which I stay at for the last half of my work out. I start my speed at 3.8 and continue increasing it to 5.0. I can promise you I seriously feel it, I sweat a lot and I've lost weight doing it!

My new workout, to fight boredom, has me walking at 4.5 and 15% for 10 minutes, and then I lower the incline to about 5% and do intervals of running and walking. I run at the 5% and during my walking I crank it up to 8%. I do this for about 20 minutes and then revert back to my start at 11% and do my walking work out.

Doing this, I burn between 700-900 calories per hour :)
September 24, 2012 6:49 PM
Walking at an incline is a fantastic workout. As an avid runner (including marathons), I often opt for incline power walking when I am looking for a fast high yield workout. I burn more calories incline power walking (~900 cal/hr at 15% incline & 5.0 pace - must hold on to front hand rail at his steep incline vs. running ~775 cal/hr at 0% and 7.2 - 7.5 pace). I find that I get more fatigued with incline power walking and have to take breaks with interval running. Additionally, as others have mentioned, you will burn more fat. If you haven't tried incline power walking, give it a try!
September 24, 2012 7:27 PM
Walking on an incline is a good way to up the intensity without upping the impact. The faster your stride, the more impact on your joints, so if you can keep your stride at a more comfortable pace, then upping the incline will raise your intensity level.

I had both of my knees replaced this past winter, so I'll never be a runner but I get a really good workout by raising the incline on the treadmill but keeping my pace at a reasonable level so I'm not 'pounding the pavement'.
September 24, 2012 8:24 PM
Another pro: it's a good way to get some light cardio in if you're just starting out weight lifting and can't cope with more leg-intensive stuff or impact (as mentioned), or need help with recovery.

There`s a little calorie burn, but at my weight (low end of average bmi) it`s not worthwhile for that. I do it more for motivational reasons - I like doing *something* every day, to keep my head in my body. Helps regulate my appetite too (though I know that`s not true for everyone), and it`s a good mood-booster.

(Ok, technically not a new pro, but thought I`d spell out why I like it.)
Edited by anemoneprose On September 24, 2012 8:28 PM
September 24, 2012 9:32 PM
QUOTE:

Walking at an incline is a fantastic workout. As an avid runner (including marathons), I often opt for incline power walking when I am looking for a fast high yield workout. I burn more calories incline power walking (~900 cal/hr at 15% incline & 5.0 pace - must hold on to front hand rail at his steep incline vs. running ~775 cal/hr at 0% and 7.2 - 7.5 pace). I find that I get more fatigued with incline power walking and have to take breaks with interval running. Additionally, as others have mentioned, you will burn more fat. If you haven't tried incline power walking, give it a try!


If you hold on to the handrail at that workload (5 mph/15% incline), then your actual calorie burn can be as much ad 65% lower than the display on the machine.
February 3, 2013 10:26 AM
Hi. If the incline on the treadmill reads 5, does that mean it's at 5%? Cause going steeper than 5 makes my lower back hurt :/
Also, after walking for 1 hour at 3.5-3.8 on that incline, my HRM said I burnt 912 calories! Is it crazy? Or is that actually possible?
February 21, 2013 6:18 PM
http://anabolicminds.com/forum/weight-loss/76372-what-heck-does.html I myself have just started a tredmill fitness routinew as I am out of shape so I am doing 2.5 incline @ 2.5 mph and for 45 minutes a day hope this helps me loose some weight
  7772622

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