More than ever, we are being encouraged to take care of our bodies, eat right, getting plenty of rest and exercise
Many people are trying to figure out how that fits into their busy lives.
Not everyone can afford a personal trainer or a fancy gym membership, so they opt for something that will keep their body, and their budget, in good shape.
You can find them lacing up their sneakers and heading out to hike the unbeaten paths or run along a back-country road.
But with all the miles under their belt, one has to wonder which is better for your health—walking or running? Which has the most health benefits? Which burns the most calories? Which helps you lose weight?
Walking vs Running and Weight Loss
Food is the energy that goes into our bodies, giving us the energy to exercise. It works in a cycle with energy coming in and going out. This cycle needs balance to work more effectively, and when more energy is coming in than is going out, we can gain weight.
In terms of weight loss, running exerts more energy than walking when it’s performed within the same time frame. Exerting your body beyond its “comfort zone” will bring you plenty of benefits. Intensity is the key ingredient if you want added health benefits.
If you run for 30 minutes, your body will burn more energy in order to lose or maintain your weight.
If you prefer to walk, you will have to heel-toe it for almost an hour to get similar weight-loss benefits.
Pain is Gain
Remember that old saying, “Pain is gain.” Well, it’s effective for those who want to shed extra pounds, but steer clear of literal “pain.”
Pain on any level is your body’s way of alerting you to the fact that something is wrong. If an injury has resulted from your daily activities, an accident, or your exercise regime, take a break from physical activity until you’ve sought medical attention.
Keep in mind that there will be less injury associated with low-impact exercises, including walking.
This can be especially beneficial for Baby Boomers and those with certain health conditions, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, running can be hard on your joints. With every running step, you’re putting more than three times your body weight of pressure on your hip, knee, and ankle joint.
If you really want to exert your body without running, a brisk walk may be just what you need to maximize the health benefits and minimize the pain and discomfort.
The Health Benefits
Both walking and running give you health benefits, both physical and emotional. Below is a shortlist:
- Weight loss
- Toned body
- Better circulation
- Increased strength and flexibility
- Enhanced happiness
- Fights depression
- Lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Improved sex life
- Added confidence and improved self-esteem
Walking vs Running: Training
With either form of exercise, you will need to get your body ready for the impact.
You have to build up to the right level of walking or running that works best for you. Once it’s accustomed to the “jarring effects,” the health benefits will be there.
Suggested Exercise Time
You will not only see weight loss but for health improvements if you walk or run for 30-60 minutes a day.
This can be done all at once or broken down into 15-minute sessions throughout the day.
How to Begin a Walking or Running Program
Be sure to consult your physician before you begin any dietary or exercise plan. Then, set achievable goals, working up to those that test you to go further or push harder.
A steady pace will allow your body to adjust to the change and respond favorably to the physical challenge.