Walking vs. Running: Which Is Better Exercise?

Posted on: March 1, 2021
By: Christie Garofano

Walking and running are popular exercises for good reasons. They don’t require any equipment beyond a pair of shoes and your feet. You can do both activities virtually anywhere, and they both have long track records of success when it comes to fitness. A persistent question about these exercises remains: Is it better to walk or run? When it comes to walking vs. running, you’ll need to consider a few factors. Here is what you need to know. 

Injury Risk
It is a well-documented fact that runners are prone to injuries. This is because running causes your legs and feet to absorb the pressure of about two-and-a-half times your body weight with each step. Runners often experience plantar fasciitis, hairline fractures, and knee injuries. However, many of these injuries are avoidable with a more gradual introduction to running. You’ll also want to maintain cross training routine—it’s a common misconception that running builds strength in the legs. In fact you need to focus specifically on strength training to gain muscle in the lower body. 

Walking, on the other hand, rarely leads to injuries. Walking is easy on the joints, and even at long distances does not pose the same orthopedic risks as running. However, you can ease from walking into a running routine with the following 3 tips to ensure your safety. 

  1. Start slowly by integrating short spurts of running into your walks. 
  2. Do not run every day. Give yourself time to rest and use non-running days building strength with weight training and other muscle toning exercises. 
  3. Avoid overexertion by checking your intensity level. If you cannot talk conversationally while running, you should slow down or switch to walking at a quick pace. You’ll build more stamina through time and find yourself better able to run longer, faster with this gradual approach. 

Fat Loss Benefits
Running and walking are both aerobic exercises, and both burn calories. You burn calories faster by running but walking also offers fat burning outcomes. If you’re motivated by fast results, you’re likely to see them more quickly through running. But if you love to walk yet can’t seem to get into running, walking will still help you burn fat effectively. 

Health Benefits
Running and walking both improve cardiovascular health, boost flexibility, and may even help to reduce depression and anxiety. Generally, about 15 minutes of walking provides similar health benefits to five minutes of running. However, both activities offer the benefit of getting outside, which can work wonders for your mental health in addition to your physical health. In addition, walking may have longer-term benefits for many people because it’s easier to stick with over time than running. 

Let Body Essentials help you find a well-rounded exercise regimen that works for you, including aerobic activity and strength building. Get on the path to weight loss and fitness by scheduling a free consultation today.

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