Walking versus Running
One of the age old questions in cardio exercise concerns walking versus running. Both are weight-bearing exercises and can help maintain bone density. You might wonder which is better for your health. Some take up running even though they don’t like it just for its calorie burn. It turns out walking may have the edge on health benefits.
Walking versus Running Health Benefits
A study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory compared the health benefits of similar energy expenditure between moderate-intensity walking versus running at vigorous intensity. The researchers found that risk reductions were similar for heart disease risk factors, including hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol.
This is good news for individuals who aren’t keen on running or have other issues preventing them from taking up the activity. However, notice the bit about expenditure.
To achieve similar health benefits, the calorie burn has to be comparable. According to Mayo Clinic, that means more exercise time. A 160-pound woman can burn about 314 calories an hour, walking at 3.5 mph. That’s a brisk pace. A woman running at 5 mph for the same time can burn upward of 606 calories, nearly twice as much.
Why Do You Run?
The question then that you have to ask yourself is why are you running? Do you enjoy it? Then, there is time. Is running a better fit because you are short on time? These findings show that if you are motivated by health reasons, then you can benefit with either activity. It boils down to how much time you have—or are willing to give—for exercise.
Other studies have found similar health benefits, if that is your motivation. A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found comparable risk deduction in developing cataracts for walking versus running. The Berkeley study also identified a lower risk of diabetes.
Yes, running is better for quicker weight loss. It’s not just about the calorie burn. Let’s face it. When it comes to eating, 300 calories is nothing. A margarita can top that figure easy. When you’re talking 600 calories, you’re into some serious calorie deficit.
It’s great that you exercise, whether you walk or run. Rest assured you are realizing some serious health benefits by keeping active. But choose the activity you like and have fun. It’s the surest way to keep you in the game.