Fat-burning face-off: Walking on incline vs running

When it comes to getting rid of extra fat, there are different ways to exercise. Two popular choices are walking on an incline and running. These exercises make your body work and burn calories, helping you lose fat.

For this article, we will focus on what works best for women. We all want to find the most effective way to get results. Whether it’s to fit into those jeans or just feel healthier, it’s important to know which exercise can help the most.

In the following sections, we’ll explore the benefits of walking on an incline and running. We’ll also talk about how these exercises affect your body and the best tips to make them work for you. So, if you’re looking to burn fat and make the most out of your workouts, keep reading.

The benefits of incline walking and running

Incline walking and running are both excellent forms of aerobic exercise that offer various health benefits. Let’s explore the unique advantages of each activity:

Incline Walking: Stepping up your fitness game

Incline walking involves walking on an inclined surface, such as uphill walking or an inclined treadmill. This form of exercise offers a low-impact workout that engages multiple muscle groups, including the calves, hamstrings and glutes. 

woman walking on incline in a treadmill

Here are some notable benefits of incline walking:

  1. Joint-friendly: Incline walking puts less stress on your joints compared to running, making it an ideal option for individuals with knee issues, joint pain or those looking for a gentler workout.
  2. Cardiovascular health: Walking uphill increases your heart rate and helps improve cardiovascular endurance, promoting overall health.
  3. Muscle building: The uphill movement engages your lower body muscles, aiding in muscle building and strengthening. It also can help improve posture and stability.
  4. Accessible: Incline walking can be done outdoors on hilly terrains or indoors on a treadmill, providing convenience and versatility.
  5. Sustainable over time: You can walk on an incline for a longer time compared to running because it’s not as intense as running; which may allow you to do it for a more extended period without feeling too tired or out of breath. 

Running: Embrace cardiovascular intensity

Running is a high-impact exercise that involves moving at a faster pace than walking. It’s a popular choice for individuals seeking an intense cardio workout. 


Let’s explore the benefits of running:

  1. Calorie burn: Running burns more calories per minute compared to incline walking, making it a great way to help with weight management and fat loss.
  2. Endorphin release: The higher intensity of running triggers the release of endorphins, promoting a sense of well-being and reducing stress.
  3. Bone health: The impact of running stimulates bone density, which is crucial for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
  4. Versatility: Whether on a track, trail, or treadmill, running offers numerous options for varying the intensity of the workout and terrain.
  5. Less time: Running is a super-fast way to burn a number of calories and fat. Even though you’re not doing it for as long as regular walking, you can still burn a lot of calories in a shorter time.

Comparing the mechanics: Incline walking vs. running

Mechanics of incline walking

Incline treadmill walking involves deliberate and controlled movement. As you walk uphill, your body engages different muscle groups to push against gravity. Walking is a low-impact exercise that is at a slower pace and in a controlled motion which minimizes the risk of injury, making it suitable for beginners and those with joint concerns.

Mechanics of running

Running is a high-intensity exercise that requires a more dynamic motion. The impact of each step requires a higher level of joint mobility and stability. The stride lengthens, and the body experiences brief periods of flight, resulting in higher energy expenditure and cardiovascular intensity.

Choosing the right activity: Factors to consider

How hard you work

Think about how much effort you put in when you walk uphill or run. Running can make your heart beat faster and your body heat up quicker. Walking on a hill can also make your muscles work, but it might not be as intense as running. You can choose the one that feels right for you.

How long you exercise

Consider the amount of time you spend walking or running. The longer you do it, the more calories you can burn. Sometimes a shorter run might burn the same calories as a longer walk. Incline walking can be easily incorporated into daily activities, such as hiking or walking the dog. However, if you’re short on time, running might help you burn fat faster.

How strong you are 

Your body’s strength matters. If you’re starting to exercise, walking uphill could be a good start. If you’re already fit and want a bigger challenge, running might be better. It’s important to pick the one that matches how strong you are and what you want to achieve.

What you can keep doing 

woman running track intervals

Think about which exercise you can do regularly. If you enjoy walking more and can do it every day, that’s awesome. But if running makes you happier and you can stick to it, that’s great too. The key is to find something you like and can do over time.

Fitness level and goals

Consider your current fitness level and objectives. Incline walking may be preferable if you’re new to exercise, recovering from an injury, or aiming for a low-impact workout. On the other hand, if you’re looking to challenge your cardiovascular endurance and burn more calories, running could be the ideal choice.

The science behind fat burning

How your body burns fat

When you move your body, like when you walk or run, it needs energy to keep going. It’s like putting fuel in a car to make it run. Our bodies have a special way to get energy from the food we eat, and one of the ways is by using fat. It’s like a backup battery that our bodies can use when we’re active.

Steady vs. super fast fat burning

Now, let’s talk about how fat burning works when you walk or run. When you walk, your body uses a bit of energy from fat, but it also gets energy from other sources. It’s like a slow and steady burn, kind of like a cozy fire.

When you run, your body needs more energy really quickly. It’s like turning up the heat in a fireplace. So, your body uses more fat to keep up with the fast pace. Running makes your body work harder and use more fat in a shorter time.

Both walking and running help burn fat, but running can be like a turbo boost for fat burning because it makes your body use up fat faster. So, whether you like walking or running, both are good for burning fat – it’s just that running might make your body use more fat in a speedy way.

Tips for effective workouts

1. Mix up walking and running: You can switch between walking and running during your exercise time. This is called “intervals.” High-intensity interval training is like playing a game – you walk for a bit, then run for a bit. This makes your body work extra hard and burn more fat. Plus, it keeps things exciting.

2. Move the right way: When you walk or run, it’s important to use the right moves. Stand tall and take good steps. When you run, land softly on your feet and swing your arms gently to help propel your body forward.

3. Make it tougher slowly: Imagine you’re climbing a hill. At first, it might be easy, but as you go higher, it gets harder. It’s the same with exercise. If you’re walking on an incline or running, you can make it more challenging by the degree of incline. Raise the hill a little or run a tiny bit faster. This helps your body get stronger and keeps you from getting bored.

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