The “Freshman 15” is a concept that I’ve heard about forever. I never really thought much of it because it always seemed so far away. Even this past summer, I ate lots of ice cream and seldom exercised. Now that I am at Penn State, I keep thinking of the dreaded freshman 15 and have decided that I should probably start exercising. I’ve never really gone to the gym before because I’ve done gymnastics my whole life and the whole concept sounds painfully boring to me. Going on a walk sounds like a nice and easy way to get some exercise but I keep wondering if a run would be much more/how much more beneficial.
The New York Times explains that it depends on what you are trying to gain from this exercise. People exercise for many different reasons; weight loss, heart health, stamina, endorphins, fun, etc.. Nutritionaction.com discussed a study performed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California where they compared the weight loss of runners and walkers after 6 months of doing their respected exercise. They found that jogging or running 11 miles a week led to approximately the same weight loss; the only difference being that walkers had to put in more time to get to the 11 miles. This study showed that it’s not the intensity that effects weight loss, it’s the calories burned.
Another study compared about 16,000 walkers with approximately 30,000 runners. The New York Times explained that “Participants were asked about their weight, waist circumference, diets and typical weekly walking or running mileage both when they joined the study, and then again up to six years later”. Almost every single one of the runners was thinner and kept off the weight better than the walkers. Also, when put in a room with a huge buffet right after doing their respected exercise (running or walking), the runners seemed to have a much smaller appetite than the walkers. This suggests a definite possible reason why the runners kept off more weight than the walkers.
In conclusion, while running is a more vigorous exercise, both running and walking have immense health benefits. One must figure out what he/she is trying to achieve before deciding on one.