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Running or Incline Walking: Which Burns More Fat?

A trainer shares whether you should run or incline walk to slim down.

Time is precious, especially when it comes to spending your limited free time working out. If your fitness goal is to trim fat and slim down, it's crucial to make sure you are doing just the right exercises to get the most results for your effort. With this in mind, we spoke with a trainer to learn which burns more fat: running or incline walking? Get ready to kick your cardio routine into high gear and move closer toward your goals.

The quick and easy answer is running.

woman doing morning exercise, concept of morning workouts to lose belly fat

"Typically, running burns the most calories as it is self-propelled with one's own body weight," explains April Gatlin, senior master trainer for STRIDE Fitness.

Not seeing results? It may be time to work harder. Gatlin adds, "As someone gets accustomed to running and notices less calorie burn, they can work at a quicker pace (which will [increase] the heart rate)."

One way to torch calories when running is to plan interval training. Gatlin suggests, "[You can] spike the speed for a designated amount of time, [and] then bring it back to a steady, manageable pace. This roller coaster on the heart rate helps to keep the calorie burn high for the duration of the workout."

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The benefits of running:

mature man running outdoors by the beach, concept of weekly workout routine for men to do in their 50s

If you're looking for one of the absolute best forms of cardio/aerobic exercise, lace up your sneakers and start running.

"Running is accessible to everyone because it can be done outdoors (all seasons!), and it is at no cost," Gatlin points out. "Since running is a weight-bearing exercise, it burns calories while at the same time [building] strong bones and [strengthening] muscles. (Legs are the dominant muscle group.)"

In addition, research indicates that running, even if you only have time for a five-to-10-minute daily jaunt, is quite beneficial in preventing all-cause mortality and death from cardiovascular disease.

Even though running is incredible for your overall well-being, don't overlook including incline walking in your routine as another valuable form of cardio.

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The benefits of incline walking:

woman doing uphill walking workout to shrink belly fat faster

"One [amazing] benefit to walking at an incline is the calories burn is high due to the recruitment of larger muscle groups," Gatlin tells us.

Walking uphill or on an incline engages many of your leg's posterior chain muscles, including the glutes, lower back, hamstrings, and calves. "When the posterior chain is stronger, it helps to avoid injury of the lower back and weak hamstring muscles," Gatlin adds.

In addition to the calorie burn you can achieve by incline walking, research shows that getting your uphill strides in can improve the joint range of motion of your ankles, knees, and hips.

How To Do Interval Walking for Weight Loss

Why is performing cardio important for weight loss?

close-up trail running sneakers

When it comes to weight loss, cardio should be a critical part of your workout routine. Gatlin stresses the importance of wearing properly fitting footwear and performing cross-training.

"The body needs to be strong in all aspects. Cross-training will help to avoid injury when performing cardio," says Gatlin. "The absolute worst thing that could happen is to get injured. Injury on a weight-loss journey can derail the process for months and have an impact mentally as well."

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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