Walking and running are both great exercises for getting and staying in shape and leading a healthy life. In fact, they are the two most popular exercises for adults. But is one better than the other?
At first glance it would seem that whether walking or running, if you cover a one mile distance you should burn almost an equal number of calories. The runner may expend more effort, but the walker is exercising for a longer amount of time. Turns out -- the runner will actually burn 50 percent more calories. A study published last year in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that for weight loss, running was the clear winner.
In an article discussing the study, the New York Times reported: “The runners almost uniformly were thinner than the walkers when each joined the study. And they stayed that way throughout. Over the years, the runners maintained their body mass and waistlines far better than the walkers."
An article in Mother Nature Network offers five reasons why walking is better than running. They include: less stress on the immune system, less cardiac stress, and a reduced risk of osteoarthritis. But they also add: “Although the benefits of walking are numerous, keep in mind that it’s the minimum someone should do if they want to get in shape; shorter bursts of moderate-intensity exercise is probably the most beneficial way to get fit.”
Calories and injuries aside, a study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology found that both runners and walkers had much less risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease than their less active peers. Also, while running for an hour a day lowered the runner’s risk of developing heart disease by 4.5 percent, walking for the same amount of time lowered the walkers risk by over 9 percent.
So which one should you choose? The one that you will do consistently over your lifetime. Exercise is not just about weight loss. It is an essential component of a healthy life.
If this is the year that you've decided you want to get in shape and stay in shape, contact us. We've got the knowledge and resources to get you started on the right foot – whether you’re walking or running.