Walking vs Running - Everyday Easier Ideas | Blog

Walking vs Running

For those who want to get fit, the walking vs running debate is very contentious. Whether you prefer to run or walk for exercise the fact is that neither one is ‘better’ than the other. Those who love nothing better than getting out for a 5k before breakfast or a quick jog after work would probably insist that running is far more beneficial than walking. Walkers who prefer a more sedate form of exercise are equally confident that their way is better.

Walking vs Running – surely one is better than another?

Actually, neither side is strictly correct. Whilst both are good types of cardiovascular exercise, and cost very little to do, whether either one or the other is good for you depends entirely on your fitness levels, your age and what you want to achieve in terms of your health. Walking vs running shouldn’t be a contest as both can have numerous benefits for physical and mental health. Any form of regular exercise is particularly beneficial for women approaching their forties and onwards as a way of strengthening muscles in the lower limbs and maintaining bone density to help stave off osteoporosis.

How much exercise should we be getting?

According to the NHS adults between the ages of 19 to 64 should do some form of physical activity every day and should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week. Walking or running is ideal for achieving these goals.

Moderate activity also includes things like:

  • Brisk walking
  • Cycling
  • Water aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Hiking

Vigorous activity could be:

  • Running or jogging
  • Fast swimming
  • Fast cycling
  • Walking up stairs
  • Sports like football, netball or hockey

Basically, NHS guidelines state that vigorous activity should be of a type which makes you breathe harder, and which raises your heart-rate. This is known as cardiovascular exercise.

Benefits of Cardiovascular Activity

Walking vs running arguments aside, cardiovascular activity can help to strengthen the heart and lungs whilst giving a boost to the immune system. It can also help you to lose weight and at the same time increase your stamina, helping you to maintain energy levels. In some cases, it can help with the management of some chronic health conditions.

So if you’re having the walking vs running debate in terms of what is best for YOU, let’s weigh up the pros and cons of each.

Benefits of Walking

The main draw of walking is that it can be done by anyone of any age and fitness level. You can even start at home on a treadmill if you don’t fancy braving the great outdoors – or if the weather is putting you off.  If you haven’t done any serious exercise for a while then walking is a great way to get back into the swing of things without worrying how you look. Larger busted women sometimes find that walking is much more dignified than running, although a good sports bra can help avoid any worry about too much ‘bounce’. Walking is the ideal exercise for beginners as it is low impact which means there is a lower chance of injury. If you’re worried about pain, it’s best to choose a pair of shoes or trainers that will help you keep good posture.

Don’t imagine that you need to walk miles every day to get the benefit. A brisk short walk for just 10 minutes a day will burn calories, contribute towards a steady weight loss and give you a cardiovascular workout. However, unless you opt for power walking any weight loss will be fairly modest.

When you get outside and go for a walk, even a short one, you’ll feel better immediately for being in the fresh air and just taking the time for yourself to think, work out any issues bothering you or just to play your favourite music while you walk. If you join a walking club or walk with a friend, the companionship and encouragement from others can help you to stick to your goals.

Woman wearing walking workout shoes Walkmaxx blackfit

Are there any disadvantages of Walking?

There are no disadvantages per se as a daily walk requires nothing more than a comfortable pair of shoes, and will boost your physical and mental health. For serious weight loss running may seem like a better option, but if your primary goal is to lose weight, workout intensity can be ramped up by walking faster, for longer distances or uphill with minimal risk of injuries.

Benefits of Running

Running or jogging increases cardiovascular fitness while building strength and muscle tone in your legs, bottom and tummy area. Some say that running can give what’s known as the ‘runner’s high’ as feel-good endorphins are released in the brain however not everyone experiences this. Running or jogging 3 times a week could help you towards a steady weight loss.

Disadvantages of Running

Even experienced runners sometimes suffer injuries whilst running so if you are just starting out it may be better to alternate between slow running and walking while you build up muscular strength. Running is a high impact activity and common injuries can include stress fractures, shin splints, ankle sprains and ITB friction syndrome which causes pain in the outer part of the knee. Any of these injuries can stop you from exercising possibly for weeks while you recover. Injuries to the feet are also common, from blisters through ill-fitting or new footwear to plantar fasciitis, a painful condition which affects the sole of the foot. Making sure you choose a good new pair of trainers instead of running in those you’ve had for years with less than perfect support, could make a big difference.

Running carries a much higher risk of injury with runners having around a 20-70% chance of injury while walking carries only a 1-5% chance.

Walking could be a Better Choice

For those who want better mental and physical health the walking vs running debate is settled: health professionals agree that walking is more beneficial. Apart from helping you to get into shape and lose weight, at a manageable pace walking can do much to improve your quality of life with fresh air, freedom to take in your surroundings and the ability to listen to birdsong if you’re lucky enough to live near a park or countryside. The boost to your self-esteem as you’re gradually able to walk further and faster is matched by a reduction in anxiety and stress levels with an increase in your general health. Research by the American Heart Association found that walking reduces the risk of heart disease by some 9.3% whilst running only reduces it by 4.5%.

How do I get started?

There’s no need to pay expensive gym fees or buy any special equipment to start with your walking workouts. However, you should invest in the best footwear you can afford. This should be comfortable and supportive. Clothing should be loose and comfortable to avoid chafing and discomfort. Take a lightweight backpack with you for your mobile phone, bottle of water, blister plasters and waterproof outerwear in case of rain.

A pedometer, activity watch or mobile phone app can help you keep track of how many steps you’ve taken, how far you’ve walked and even how many calories you’ve burned, giving you even more motivation to keep up with your new-found, stress busting fitness regime.

Tagged , , , ,

RECENT BLOG POSTS

Wrapping Christmas presents

Christmas Checklist: 5 Day Countdown

We are into the final countdown and the big day is just around the corner. If you are panicking about […]

Child playing in snow

Christmas activities for families

The magic of Christmas is well and truly in the air, lists have been made, children have sent their letters […]

Woman preparing Christmas dinner

Preparing Christmas Dinner – Tips For A Stress-Free Meal

Hosting Christmas dinner is a chance to show off your skills in the kitchen. However, now that we are counting […]

Christmas table with man pouring a bottle of fizz.

Christmas Recipes everyone will love

With all the stresses of day-to-day life, the constant juggling of busy work schedules and, of course, all those after […]