Walking Vs Running

Ben Fraser

Walking and running are two forms of physical activity that undoubtedly benefit the human body and mind. Both mechanically work on similar movements and in most cases many a runner has entered the sport through the aid of walking.


Let’s take a look at the benefits of both and draw on the similarities and differences they offer.


With the beginner or inactive individual in mind; walking is good exercise for those who are just starting to work out or for those with health problems. Health bodies around the world advise that if we walk 10,000 steps a day (that’s around 8km) we reap the benefits in terms of a healthy cardiovascular system and reduced body fat. 


Brisk walking reduces the risk of heart disease more effectively than running when the energy expenditure of both activities is balanced out. Walking reducing it twice as more than running in a comprehensive study of 33,000 runners and 15,000 walkers.


On average (distance wise) a 160 pound person burns around 100 calories per mile walking or running. Yet, on a per hour basis an individual will burn twice as more calories running compared to walking. It is advised that an individual who is significantly overweight begins walking when exercising. Walking is a more kindly, moderate intensity exercise, preventing excessive shock and strain on your joints and muscles.  


If you choose to run, reduce your risk of injury by running on the best surfaces in this order: Grass, woodland trails, earth, cinders and man-made tracks; wear good quality shoes that have been fitted for you by a shoe expert – our friends over at Up & Running have two stores in Leeds that cater for this!


Running can maximise aerobic conditioning in minimum time. What this means is your heart and lungs become much more efficient delivering blood and oxygen to your muscles and organs. Running arguably isn’t the most conducive to preserving your joints as heralded by many cynics (usually non-runners) BUT there is mounting evidence that running does not accelerate the degeneration of the body, particularly arthritis in the joints.  


Walking is easier to build into your lifestyle and routine in comparison to running but it isn’t exactly hard to factor in the later once your going – just get up and go wherever you are with both!


Walking and running are both social activities during and after, with a bit more lung capacity required for a jog and a natter and plenty of destinations at the end of your journey.


During a walk and a run an individual can hone into the present and practice Mindfulness which has heaps of benefits on the body and mind.


In all, the more a walker walks, and the more a runner runs, the better off they both are in health benefits. Start one or the other and take that straightforward choice to a healthier lifestyle!



Photo credit – Simon Cullingworth 


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