If your goal is to lose weight and improve your health, what’s going to be better for you, walking or running? Like most fitness-related questions, this one takes me back to a joke I heard in third grade:

What weighs more: a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks?

Just as you may be tempted to shout “bricks!” (as I would often do right up through eighth grade, when the subtleties of this riddle and “no soap radio” were finally explained to me), you may be tempted to assume that running is the greater “burn” of the two exercises. And, like all questions in fitness, I remind you that nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

Let’s break it down.

Calorie burn is based on energy consumption over a period of time, and the best way to gauge that energy consumption is by monitoring your heart rate as you exercise.

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