STAY FIT: Is it better to walk or to jog?


What’s Your Perfect Fat Burning Zone?” from Men’s Health magazine suggests that the “fat-burning zone” idea got its start about 15 years ago. When scientists reported that during high-intensity exercise, the body burned mostly stored carbohydrates for fuel, as opposed to burning stored fat as it did during lower-intensity activity. Exercise instructors took the news and ran, leading the charge for low-intensity “fat-burning” classes. We probably don’t have to tell you that they didn’t end up being a magic bullet for fat loss. Here’s why. It’s true that the body burns a higher percentage of calories from fat during more mellow exercise like walking and easy cycling. But when you pick up the pace for a higher-intensity cardio workout, you burn a greater number of overall calories (which should be your focus for weight loss) and subsequently just as much total fat.

What’s more, high-intensity exercise kicks your metabolism into high gear even after you’re done working out. When you exercise vigorously, your metabolism stays revved up five times longer after a vigorous workout than after an easy one. Over time, this can add up to burning an additional 100 - 200 calories a day. The easiest way to infuse intensity into your existing routine is to sneak some intervals into the aerobic / workouts you already do. For, example: If you walk now, you start by warming up for 5 to 10 minutes, then try picking up your pace and running (so your breathing becomes heavy, but you’re not gasping for breath) for 3 minutes, then walk for 3 minutes, and so on. Do this 2 days a week. Before long, the running will feel easier, and you’ll be a speedier walker, too, which means more calories burned.