Unsurprising Benefits of Walking Or Running ~ Is walking as good for your health as running?
Let’s explore the benefits of walking or running and put all the pieces together in order to see how you can live a healthy lifestyle well into your 90s.
My question for you today is should you compare walking to running when it comes to your health?
Now that the nice weather is finally here you are eager to get out and start some kind of exercise routine. You might be wondering about the benefits of walking or running and which is best when it comes to your health and well-being.
So which is better? Let’s look at the research. I turned to PubMed and Google Scholar two of my ‘Go – To standard’ places to check for scientific research.
RISKS AND BENEFITS OF WALKING AND RUNNING
One study in PubMed found that runners have a significant higher rate of injury than walkers do.
This study done at Cooper Clinic Preventive Medicine Center in Dallas Texas, looked at men who ran or jogged having a 25 % higher risk of getting injured than men who walked and that this risk increased as those runners ran marathons.
They found that the main injuries that runners get involve their tibia, achilles tendon, and their plantar fasciitis.
Typically, more than 50% of people who run will get some kind of injury whereas only 1% of walkers experience injuries.
What I found interesting or ‘cool’ is that they found you can pretty much walk as much as you desire without increasing the risk of injuring yourself.
It may not surprise you that this study showed that running can hurt you more easily than walking.
“Running produces ground reaction forces that are approximately 2.5 times body weight, while the ground reaction force during walking is in the range of 1.2 times body weight.”
This could be why you are more likely to injure yourself while running than when you are walking.
BENEFITS OF CARDIO
Cardiovascular exercise or Cardio is considered to be generally good for both your physical and your mental well-being.
One study found that just 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise three times a week reduces anxiety and depression. It was also noted to improve your mood.
Researchers from this study also mentioned that it was not necessary to exercise for 30 minutes straight and, that walking for just 10 minutes at a time three times a day resulted in the same mental health benefits.
Yet another study, published in the JACC (Journal of the American College of Cardiology reported that just five minutes of running per day was as beneficial as 15 minutes of walking.
Some benefits that were also noted were that after training for a year, just two hours a week, runners found the following:
they lost weight,
reduced their body fat,
lowered their resting heart rate, and
drove down their triglycerides.
Benefits of walking or running both appeared to be excellent ways to fit in some cardio into your day. Whether you are a weekend warrior or like to fit exercise into each day you will find that walking or running could be just the right fit for you!
It seems that neither are necessarily ‘better’ but they do offer different benefits.
This gives you a choice to which one is best for you depending on your fitness level and health or wellness goals.
It is suggested if you want to lose weight more quickly, then running may be the better choice for you. Walking is also a good choice but takes longer to lose weight but is great at maintaining a healthy weight.
NOW TO THE QUESTION – SHOULD YOU RUN OR SHOULD YOU WALK?
Is running really a ‘better’ form of exercise than walking…
The ANSWER: IT ALL DEPENDS…
Walking and running are two of the most popular physical activities for getting positive results from cardio.
Whether one is better than the other has been a question of debate for a long time. There are many studies that look at running vs walking. It appears that which one is ‘better’ often depends on what you hope to accomplish…
You could choose walking instead of running if you are concerned about the intensity of the physical activity and whether or not you want to risk injury, since walking is less risky than running.
Or perhaps you might decide to choose running because the health benefits are larger and come faster, in a shorter period of time.
It is not really clear why running should be better at helping with weight loss. It’s true that running is more strenuous than walking and will burn more calories per hour.
However, what doesn’t seem clear is that if you walk longer and burn the same calories as running, the runner seems to be able to control their weight better over time!
This was shown in a small study published in the Journal of Obesity, which looked at running’s effect on appetite of women. This study showed that running appeared to control a woman’s appetite more than walkers.
I think it is also important to note that often people who begin a walking program are often more ‘out of shape’ than there running counterparts.
Thus their health benefits from walking may actually be greater than those of runners at this stage of the game.
One thing that is made clear in the research is that it is definitely healthier to do either walking or running than doing absolutely nothing in regards to getting some cardio into your lifestyle.
Whatever your health goals – it’s important to get your body moving.
WANT TO GO FROM A COUCH POTATO TO A RUNNER
Perhaps, I’ve motivated you to try running. You have been following along and think… yah… I can do this!
Now if you are a couch potato or just someone who hasn’t done much exercising this will not be easy. I’m not going to sugar coat this.
However once you get started it will get easier and you may even find that it is fun.
I want to start with a disclaimer: Before starting this program, get checked out by a doctor, especially if you have any health risks, such as heart or lung problems, major diseases, pregnancy, or the like.
If you’re able to walk for 20 or 30 minutes, you should be able to follow these FIVE steps to this program designed to get you running in no time.
THE FIVE BASIC STEPS TO GET YOU STARTED
Take your time, these steps are just suggestions. There’s no rush and if you need to take longer to build up your stamina, by all means take longer. It’s important to work at your own pace and have fun!
Step 1: Start out by walking.
For the first week walk any 3 days that week for about 20 minutes each day.
The next week (week 2) walk any 4 days and increase your time by 5 minutes to 25 minutes for each walk.
Step 2: Start to run / walk
Continue to exercise 4 times a week. For each session do this easy run/walk routine:
Warm up walk for 10 minutes
jog lightly for 1 minute (or 30 seconds if that seems too hard), then
walk for 2 minutes.
Repeat in intervals for 10-15 minutes, then
do a 10-minute walking cool down.
(Do this step for two weeks, or longer if you like.)
Step 3: Increase your run time
Once you’re comfortable running one minute at a time, for several intervals you’re ready to start running a little longer. Continue to exercise 4 times per week.
Increase run time to 1 minute 30 seconds, with equal walking (1:30 run, 1:30 walk) do this for about 15 minutes.
Increase running to two minutes, with walking for 1 minute.
Increase run time to 2:30, walking 30 seconds to a minute.
( Do this step for 2-3 weeks or more.)
Step 4: Run for 9 or 10 sets
Follow the workout in Step 3 until you are able to do 9 or 10 sets. Once you can do these sets try leaving out the walking.
Step 5: Congratulations you are now running!
Some people continue to walk a bit during their runs and that’s okay. You want to do what feels good for you as you build your stamina and endurance.
Eventually you will find you won’t need as many walk breaks but again that’s really up to you.
The Final step or bonus step, if you will, for you – is that you want to keep challenging yourself so that running doesn’t become boring.
Here are a few ways you can do that:
1 Sign up for a 5K race
2 Buy a Fitbit
3 Once you’ve got endurance, you can add some hills to your program.
4 Run with a group
5 Add Some MOTIVATING MUSIC
Experiment with new routes in your neighborhood, trails, treadmill etc
6 Track you progress on your phone with an App.
7 If you feel really energetic sign up for a 10K, a half-marathon or even a marathon. But remember go at it one step at a time and most of all Remember to have fun and enjoy your run!
MY FINAL THOUGHTS…
Is running really a better form of exercise than walking, given that running can lead to more injuries?
Both walking and running will provide you with proven health benefits. The great news is you only need a good pair of running or walking shoes. You do not need a lot of equipment and you can run anywhere or anytime.
Running will improve your health more quickly and some say more efficiently than walking and has greater health benefits per the time investment you put in.
But even a small amount of running carries more injury risk than just plain walking.
Walking can be done for any length of time without risk of injury. It has also been shown that a lot of running (for example those longer marathons) can actually cause a lot of harm, while that does not seem to be the case with walking.
However, overdoing it in any time of exercise can lead to injury – I want to reiterate – always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Whichever you choose, be kind to your body and just get moving! It doesn’t matter which you choose as you reap benefits of walking or running if you – just do it. Your health will thank you for it!
If you found my article useful, I would appreciate you sharing it with your friends, family or on social media.
Thank you for taking the time to read through my article and if you have any comments or ideas about the benefits of walking or running or how they make you feel, please leave them in the comment section.
Until next time,
Affirmation: “I’m getting stronger with every step!”
Quote: “In order for one to succeed in life, you are provided two means, education and physical activity. Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise can save it and preserve it.” —Plato 400 B.C