Archive for the tag - running

Does Running and Walking Burn the Same Amount of Calories?

Dear Davey,

I’ve always been told that it doesn’t matter if you walk a mile or run a mile. Regardless, you burn the same amount of calories. After all, a mile is a mile. Is that really true?

From,Jon

running-shoes-male_650x366Dear Jon,

Your question actually points to a very common misconception! Yes, a mile is always a mile. That doesn’t change. But the energy required to move your body across the distance varies depending on your speed.

In fact, there have been numerous studies on the topic including this paper from California State University. For the study, 15 male and 15 female college students were recruited. One day, participants ran a mile in 10 minutes. On another day, they walked a mile in just over 18 minutes. Afterwards, they sat quietly for 30 minutes.

The data was very clear. While walking burned 88.9 calories, running burned 112.5. Moreover, after running, participants continued to burn calories at a higher rate compared to walking. After the mile walk, 21.7 calories were burned. After the mile run, on the other hand, 46.1 calories were burned. In total, the run resulted in 43% more calories burned.

But wait there’s more.

The mile run took less time. And with our busy schedules, efficiency is certainly something to consider. If you want to get a lot of workout bang in a short amount of time, running definitely comes out on top.

The bottom line is that it takes more energy to move our bodies at high rates of speed. A more intense workout simply burns more calories. While walking is a great form of exercise – and certainly less likely to result in injury – it won’t result in the same calorie burn as a run.

Love,Davey

Specialized Running Shoes Don’t Reduce Injury Risk.

Screen-shot-2010-09-01-at-3.52.49-PMIf you’ve ever been to a running store, you’ve probably noticed an extensive selection of specialized shoes. The salespeople are often trained to examine your foot type, and then make recommendations based on your arch. There are shoes for high, low or normal arches with specialized midsoles and cushions; the idea is that these arch-specific shoes reduce the injury risk of the runners who wear them.

But is this true?

It’s a question that the U.S. military asked before investing in arch-specific shoes for their soldiers.

In a subsequent study involving male and female marine recruits, researchers divided participants into two groups. In the first group, marines were given shoes specific to their arch type. In the second group, marines were given a stability shoe regardless of their arch type. The study controlled for other known injury risk factors including smoking, prior fitness level, etc.

After crunching the data, researchers discovered that there was little difference in injury risk. And in other related studies on the same subject, researchers actually found a slightly elevated risk of injury in arch-specific running shoes.

Instead of listening to salespeople or buying into marketing hype, experts agree that the best way to find a running shoe is to try it on and take it for a spin. If there is pain or discomfort, try a different shoe. If it feels right, trust your body and buy it.

 

Is The Treadmill Easier Than Running Outside?

male-legs-treadmill-running-resized-600The treadmill definitely has its advantages – not the least of which is convenience. But when it comes to running on the treadmill versus running outside under comparable conditions, are exercisers cutting their results short? And if exercising on a treadmill is easier, how can runners account for the difference?

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research set out to answer those questions. Researchers enlisted the help of 14 participants ages 20 – 26 and tracked the amount of energy that they burned on a treadmill. Then, participants completed the same walk outside.

Researchers discovered that running outside requires about 10% more energy. This increased energy requirement, according to researchers, can be attributed to breezes, slightly uneven terrain and other variables that come into play outdoors. If the wind becomes stronger, the amount of energy required to maintain a given speed increases even more.

This doesn’t mean that the treadmill is a bad choice. However, if you’re training for an outdoor run such as a 5K or marathon, you need to take this disparity into account. The researchers recommend adding a 3% incline to the treadmill to simulate the energy requirement for outdoor running.

Did you prefer running outside or on the treadmill? Why? Let me know in the comments below!

 

What’s Better: Swimming or Running?

Dear Davey,

I’m trying to get in better shape, and I was wondering which gives you a better cardio workout – swimming or running?

Thanks,
Luis

0627-ent-olympic-swimmers-pool_awHey Luis,

First of all, both swimming and running provide great workouts. And either is better than sitting on your butt watching television. However, there are some pretty big differences between the two types of cardio.

It’s important to note that comparing running to swimming can be a lot like comparing apples to oranges. They’re both very different – and the effectiveness of either workout can depend on a number of variables. For example, a University of Florida study found that swimmers burn 44% more calories when a pool is heated to 68 degrees Fahrenheit rather than 91 degrees. The speed at which you swim or run also has a big influence. As does any incline you might experience during your run. In other words, it’s not that simple.

However, there are a few things that are quite definitive. Swimming is low-impact, and so it’s a great option for people with joint issues. Swimming will also give your upper a body a good endurance workout (running does not), assuming that’s something you want.

When it comes to calories burned, running does come out on top – but again, it depends on all those previously mentioned variables. Here are some general guidelines for a 155-lb individual who is exercising for 30 minutes:

  • Moderate intensity swimming: 214 calories
  • Running at 5mph: 298 calories
  • Vigorous swimming: 344 calories
  • Running at 10mph: 632 calories

If you can hold a 10mph pace, then running is advantageous from a purely caloric perspective. But if you run at 5pmh and can swim at a vigorous pace, then swimming could be a better choice for burning calories and getting your heart pumping.

Personally, my favorite cardio workout is high intensity interval training wherein I alternate between jogging and sprinting for a set duration. It provides a ton of amazing benefits; it doesn’t take a lot of time, minimizes muscle mass loss and provides a huge metabolic boost that you won’t get from steady-pace cardio.

But at the end of the day, the best form of cardio is the cardio that you’ll stick with. Find what works for you!

Love,
Davey

Run Your Feelings.

running-alonePeople do it all the time. You’ve probably done it. I’ve definitely done it. It’s called eating your feelings – and it’s a dangerous and misguided technique for self-soothing.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of eating to fill a void in your stomach, it’s eating to satisfy an emotional need – and often involves cravings for very specific foods like pizza, ice cream, potato chips, etc. Because emotional eating usually involves unhealthy comfort foods, subsequent feelings of guilt or remorse are common.

In a nutshell, you eat because you’re angry, sad, etc. And then, once the guilt kicks in, you end up feeling even worse. It’s a downward spiral that serves no one.

While working with a professional to process your feelings is probably the healthiest alternative, I’ve got another, more accessible solution. Run your feelings. Hear me out.

Few things clear your mind like a good run. For me, running becomes something of a moving meditation. It’s right foot, left foot, right foot… One step, two steps, three steps. Breathe in, breathe out. And instead of having your mind race around an upsetting idea or thought, running allows your to channel and release that energy in a physical way.

Running allows me to take what’s in my mind and leave it on the payment.

And, unlike emotional eating, emotional running does serve your body with movement, exercise and a good sweat. Moreover, no feelings of guilt; instead, only the release of dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters resulting in the euphoric runners high.

Do you ever run or exercise as a way to cope? Let me know in the comments below.

Study: Are Barefoot Running Shoes Dangerous?

vibram_fivefingers_flow_1Over the past few years, barefoot running has been gaining traction in the running community. In fact, it’s estimated that minimalist shoes now make up 15% of the $6.5 billion running shoe market.

There is some science to back up the trend. As I reported early, barefoot running can increase efficiency:

Oxygen consumption is typically 4% to 5% lower in barefoot running, which is attributed to factors including moving the shoes’ weight (energy demand increases about 1% for every 100g of additional mass on the foot), the bending resistance and friction of the sole, midsole energy absorption, and energy lost to metatarsophalangeal joint stiffness.

A recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise is adding more science to the barefoot running debate. For the study, researchers examined 36 experienced runners over a 10-week period. All participants underwent an MRI before the study and were then divided into two groups of either traditional running shoes or five finger barefoot running shoes.

Participants in the barefoot group followed the suggested industry protocol by easing into the barefoot running shoes:

They did one short (1-2 mile) run in the minimalist shoes the first week, and added an additional short run each week so that they ran at least 3 miles in the new shoes by week three. They were then told to add mileage in the minimal shoes as they felt comfortable, with the goal of replacing one short run per week in traditional shoes with the new shoes.

At the end of the 10-week study, all participants were again given MRIs. According to researchers, the runners in the barefoot group showed significant signs of stress including bone marrow edema (inflammation causing excessive fluid in the bone).

One researcher noted:

Whenever a bone is impacted by running or some other repetitive action, it goes through a normal remodeling process to get stronger. Injury occurs when the impact is coming too quickly or too powerfully, and the bone doesn’t have a chance to properly remodel before impact reoccurs.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that barefoot running or minimalist running shoes are necessarily bad. Instead, the study suggests that a longer transition period may be advisable. If you’ve been running your whole life in traditional running shoes, give yourself more than a few weeks to become accustomed.

Personally, I prefer the Nike Free Run shoes. They’re light, flexible and emulate barefoot running while still providing some support. In fact, my feet didn’t fit properly in the five finger shoes – so they weren’t an option for me. The Free Run shoes also come in different levels of support to help your transition. Even so, it’s taken me almost a year and several pairs of Nike Free Run shoes to fully transition and commit to the minimalist sneakers.

Have you ever tried minimalist running shoes? Let me know about it in the comments below!

Disclaimer: This isn’t a paid endorsement or sponsorship of Nike Free Run sneakers.

Is Running Backwards Good for You?

The London Backwards Running Championships

I’m a big fan of movement – regardless of the form that it takes. Your body craves movement, and it’s an essential element in a healthy, productive and balanced lifestyle.

So what’s the deal on backwards running? At some point or another, you’ve probably tried it. It’s just like running forward – only in reverse. And though it’s not quite as popular as barefoot running, it’s gaining many new converts.

Why?

For one, backwards running requires more energy. And more energy means more calories burned. Researchers at the United of Milan in Italy concluded that backwards running is less efficient, and thus requires 30% more energy than running forward at a given speed. If you’re looking to lose weight, that’s a huge benefit.

Beyond burning more calories, running backwards requires a stride that results in less impact. A recent study found that backwards running is an especially attractive option for individuals with bad knees.

Because it’s not our natural stride, it’s also believed that backwards running can help improve balance. In fact, according to an article in The New York Times, it’s often used as a therapy for Parkinson’s patients.

At the very least, it’s a great way to mix up your workout or to try something different. I’d recommend starting with just a few minutes of backwards running so that you can learn the movement over time. And since you can’t really see where you’re going, be cautious. It’s safest to walk or run backwards on a track wherein you’re able to use the painted lane lines to guide you.

The bottom line: If you’re looking to burn some extra calories, have knee issues, want to improve your balance or are just in the mood to do something new, backwards running may help you put your best foot forward backward. Either way, it’s better than sitting on the couch.

Is It Okay to Run with Sore Legs?

Dear Davey,

I’ve started a new lower body workout, and it leaves me sore for a few days thereafter. I know you’re not suppose to strength train muscles that are still sore, but is it okay to run with sore legs?

From,
Matthew

Well, there are a few points that need to be made here.

First, there are two types of soreness. There’s delayed onset muscle soreness (called DOMS) which occurs 12-48 hours after you complete your workout. It’s normal to experience DOMS – especially when you start a new workout regimen.

The other, less-desirable type of soreness occurs immediately and is often asymmetrical (i.e., it occurs only in one leg or one hamstring), and it’s most-often injury related. If your soreness is injury related, then you need to avoid using the injured muscle until you’ve recovered.

If you’re experiencing a low-level of DOMS in your legs, it may be okay to do some cardiovascular training. Ensure that you do a warm-up and proper stretch before engaging in your cardio. If the soreness or discomfort increases during your cardio, then you should stop immediately – as the increased pain may be indicative of an injury.

Keep in mind that DOMS typically fades within a month or two of a new routine, so you probably won’t be dealing with issue long-term. As you become more accustomed to your routine, the soreness will dissipate in subsequent workouts. And remember: Soreness isn’t required for muscle growth.

The bottom line: If you’re experiencing a slight amount of DOMS, then it’s okay to engage in cardio so long as it doesn’t exacerbate the soreness. If your soreness is injury related, avoid cardio until you’ve healed.

How to Build Stamina for Running: 7 Tips.

On your mark... get set... go!

Hi Davey,

Whenever I go for a run or walk, I get winded and lose my breath within 30 seconds. I don’t have asthma, I’m in good shape and I eat well. Any advice?

Thanks,
Matt

Hey Matt,

Running is one of my favorite activities – and few things are as exhilarating as the resulting endorphin release and runner’s high.

But, as avid runners know, the stamina and endurance required to power through a run isn’t something with which we’re born. Endurance must be built over the course of time – and it can be a very gradual process.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Set a goal. It’s always helpful to set some sort of goal for yourself. It helps establish accountability and it gives you a way to measure your progress. Perhaps your goal is to run 1 mile by the end of the year without stopping.
  2. Pace yourself. When running longer distances, it’s important to pace yourself. You don’t want to start your run in a full sprint. Instead, start at a moderate but sustainable pace. Otherwise, you’ll burn out too quickly.
  3. Breathe. As it turns out, breathing is extremely important. As breathing keeps your blood oxygenated, I recommend inhaling for 2 or 3 counts – and then exhaling for 2 or 3 counts. Eventually, you can establish a breathing rhythm that will help get you into “the zone.”
  4. Don’t give up. If you’re winded after 30 seconds, don’t give up altogether. Walk for a few moments, catch your breath, and then run again. Continue until you finish your mile – or whatever goal you’ve set for yourself.
  5. Gradually, run more and walk less. Over time, you’ll notice that you’re not winded as quickly. Instead of running for 30 seconds, you may be able to run for 40 seconds. And then 50 seconds. Build on these gains to increase the amount of time you spend running versus walking.
  6. Try intervals. Intervals are a great way to mix things up and make speed gains. When performing intervals, you’ll alternative between sprinting for a set amount of time and jogging for a set amount of time. When I do intervals, for example, I jog for 60 seconds and then sprint for 60 seconds – and I do this for 15 minutes. In addition to incinerating body fat, this will make the perceived exertion in your regular run seem significantly less.
  7. Rest. Of course, it’s important to give you body plenty of rest to recover. Don’t run every day, and make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep.

By following these 7 tips, you’ll certainly make huge gains to your stamina over time.

Remember: It’s important to be very consistent in your training. If you take a week or two off here and there, you’ll stunt your progress. Keep with it, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the results!

Love,
Davey

Does Running on a Treadmill Burn More Calories than Outside?

Studies show that there may be a slight caloric advantage to outside running.

There’s no doubt about it: Treadmill running is convenient. Rain, sleet, snow or shine – treadmill runners are untouched by weather conditions (unless, of course, you lose power). But for people looking to lose weight, how does the calorie burn of treadmills compare to running outside?

There have been a number of studies comparing treadmill running to outside running. The studies generally find outdoor running to be slightly advantageous when it comes to calories, though the extent of this advantage varies by speed. For individuals running between 5 and 9 miles per hour, running outside burns somewhere between 0% and 5% more calories. For individuals running at 10 miles per hour and above, running outside burns up to 10% more calories.

If you burn 400 calories inside, it would likely require an additional 0 – 40 calories (depending on your speed) to replicate the same workout outside. All in all, the difference is quite slight – but even small changes add up over time.

Treadmill running burns fewer calories because it’s easier. For one, the treadmill belt assists leg turnover, making it easier to run faster. When you run outside, you must propel your body forward to move. Moreover, when you run outside, you experience wind resistance – a condition that isn’t replicated with treadmill running. To account for these differences and better simulate outdoors running (especially if you are training for an outdoor running event), many people add a 1% to 2% incline on the treadmill.

The bottom line: Regardless of calories, select the type of training that works best for you, your schedule and your personality. Treadmill running isn’t for everyone; many people find it monotonousness and mind-numbing. Likewise, people with joint issues may prefer the extra cushion provided by treadmill running. Whether you do it outside or indoors, running can be a great way to get your cardiovascular exercise.