While both forms of exercise are good for you, it all depends on your personal fitness and health goals.
If you are in great shape… go for the gusto. Run to your heart’s delight.
For those who have some health issues, are a bit older, cautious, or heavier, you may want to slow your roll and stroll. Walking is accessible for nearly all fitness levels.
The key difference between running and walking is how many calories you are burning—not per mile, but per minute of exercise. Walking is a better choice for low impact on your joints. If you think about it, one foot is always on the ground at any time. With running, you are leaving the ground with both feet on every step
Running is more demanding on the body; therefore, you are burning more calories per minute of exercise. So, if you only have 30 minutes to exercise, you are burning more than twice the calories.
However, studies show runners are at higher risk for injury. Men who run or jog are 25% more likely to wind up with issues in their feet, Achilles tendons, and tibias. You can reduce the risk by building up slowly.
There are also various speeds to walk. You can Speed Walk, which is generally around 3 mph (versus running at 6 mph). Power Walking is a step up with 3mph to 5mph, although some proficient power walkers will go as high as 10mph. This will burn similar calories to running. A power walk at 4.5 mph for one hour would burn the same as jogging at 4.5 mph for one hour.
Even better is Pace Training or Interval Walking. Try increasing your speed for two minutes at a time, then slow back down.
Walking and running are both aerobic cardiovascular exercises. Either can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, strengthen your heart, increase stamina as well as boost your immune system and extend your life. Studies also show that 30 minutes of moderate intensity excursion three times a week reduces anxiety and depression.
There are also ways to increase the number of calories you burn while walking. Try adding a weighted vest, carry small dumbbells or incline walking. Uphill walking burns a similar number of calories to running. You can walk a hilly area or use the incline setting on a treadmill. When you walk, put your entire body into it. Pump your arms as you walk, it is not only for the lower half.
No matter your choice of exercise, watch your posture. Your head is up, look forward, not at the ground. Your neck, shoulders and back should be relaxed. Swing your arms freely with a slight bend in your elbows. Tighten your stomach muscles and straighten your back. Walk smoothly, rolling your foot from heel to toe.
Keep in mind that running is a high-impact exercise. High-impact workouts can be harder on your body than low-impact exercises like walking. This can lead to stress fractures, shin splints and other injuries. Walkers have an approximate 1 to 5 percent injury risk, while runners have a 20 to 70 percent chance.
Walking can also be done year-round, as you can effectively do this indoors. Many malls have Mall Walking clubs that meet before the shoppers arrive. Walking can also be more social, get a buddy and make a date.
Many people find a long walk to be great for clearing your head, refreshing your attitude, and rejuvenating, whereas running can be just exhausting. You probably won’t be a sweaty mess when you get home, which is a plus for planning your day. You may get a chance to have meaningful discussions during your walk with your partner.
Not sure which exercise routine is best for you? Want to be sure you are in good health to begin? Maybe take a preventative measure first?
Come and speak with Dr. Savarino, a highly skilled physician with over 10 years of experience and expertise. He has brought cutting-edge technology and new trends in medicine to Central Monmouth County to benefit his patients. He will be happy to discuss and address your medical questions and concerns with an individualized treatment plan.