Q: Is it better to walk a long distance at a slow pace or a short distance at a fast pace?
A: To get the most calorie burn from every minute, the best walks are short, fast ones. A 150-pound woman will burn about 170 calories walking very briskly for a half-hour. For the same burn, shed have to walk for more than 45 minutes at a moderate pace or an entire hour at a slow pace. Speedy walks also win out for boosting cardiovascular fitness because your heart and lungs get stronger each time you push yourself. Any form of walking burns more calories than doing nothing, though. And studies have shown that, no matter the distance or pace, hoofing it helps reduce your risk of heart disease.
Q: Will exercising in the morning help me lose more weight than working out later in the day?
A: This is the bottom line: A calorie burned is a calorie burned, whether its shed in the morning or at night. What is important, however, is choosing a workout time that you will really stick with. If your mornings are already crammed with carpool duties or dashing off to the office, a more realistic plan may be for you to exercise during your lunch break or even after dinner. Just keep this in mind: If you want to torch fat (and, thus, pounds), you will need to do 40 to 45 minutes of moderate to intense exercise at least four times a weekno matter what time of day you decide to do it.
Michele S. Olson, PHD, is a professor of exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery.