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Walking Or Running? Which Is More Beneficial For Health?

Fri, Jun 04, 2021

There has been a widespread debate over the fact that running is best for health since many feel that walking may also be equally good for boosting metabolism and getting cardiovascular exercise done alongside. Both running and walking is great cardiovascular exercise forms without a single one being superior to the other form of exercise. Choosing between the duo is majorly dependent upon your specific health and fitness objectives.

Running may be a better option for losing weight and burning a higher amount of calories. Yet, walking may also come with multifarious advantages for health including helping in the maintenance of healthy weight levels. Both running and walking are cardiovascular and aerobic exercises which offer numerous health benefits including maintenance of healthy weight, weight loss, enhanced stamina, better immunity, prevention/management of chronic ailments, extending life and also fortifying the heart. Cardiovascular exercises work wonders for boosting mental health as well. Studies have reported that performing only 30 minutes of exercises at moderate intensity for three times every week will help in lowering depression and anxiety alike. This may also enhance overall self-esteem and mood significantly. Exercising for 30 minutes at least is necessary for experiencing such advantages as per experts. Walking for 10 minutes at a stretch for three times each day may also result in similar mental health benefits.

Which is better?

Walking offers various benefits which are similar to those experienced while running. Yet, the latter burns almost double calories as compared to walking. For instance, a person weighing 160 pounds, running at 5 mph (miles per hour), will be burning a whopping 660 calories while he/she will burn roughly 310+ calories while walking at 3.5 mph for the same duration. 3,500 calories should be burnt for losing a single pound. Hence, if weight loss is the objective, then running is a better option as compared to walking.

Yet, if you’re looking to get in cardiovascular exercise regularly without straining yourself too much, losing weight slowly but steadily and maintaining your weight levels smoothly, walking may be a great option. If you are also new to exercise, walking will help you get in the groove and steadily trim the fat. Speed/power walking is another option which may help you burn more calories and you should walk at more than 3 mph in this case. The heart rate gets elevated and hence you will burn more calories as compared to walking at a regular pace. 3-5 mph is good for power walking, although 7-10 mph is often achieved by several people. Power walking helps in burning as many calories as running. Walking with a weighted vest may also enhance the amount of calories that you burn. However, you should not wear any weighted vest that exceeds 5-10% of your total body weight. Interval walking is a great way to tone muscles or lose weight. Walk faster for a specific duration before you slow down and walk at a more relaxed pace. Thereafter, repeat these circuits a few times. You can also try walking with light dumbbells held in your hand.

Walking uphill or incline walking may also burn the same calories as running. You will burn more calories than walking on a regular flat surface. Walk on the incline on your treadmill or find a hilly area for this purpose. Increase incline levels by 5/10/15 percent for practicing. Start slow and work it up to 15 percent subsequently. Running, of course, is an exercise with higher impact and the load on your body may be more as a result. Running may lead to shin splints, stress-based fractures and ITB friction syndrome among other issues.

Studies have indicated that runners may have higher risks of injuries related to exercise as compared to those who are walking. Walkers have roughly 1-5% risks of injuries while runners have 20-25% risks for the same according to numerous studies. The core aspect worth remembering is that both walking and running is beneficial for you. You can alternate between the two and even combine them in a circuit that balances the load on your body while helping you burn calories simultaneously. Aim for 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on a weekly basis. If you are starting out and wish to start getting into shape, walking is the best option. If you are looking to scale up the calorie burn or weight loss, then try running.