Walking vs running – let’s get straight to the debate! After realizing that I had put on so much weight that it was causing me health problems, I set about improving my health. I decided to give coach to 5k a go. Two weeks later and with a very sore lower back I knew that running was not for me. It was then that I decided to give brisk walking a go.
Is walking better than running for your health? For me it was and I’ve no doubt it will be for you. There is so much evidence out there to suggest that walking is just as good as running for your health. Walking has also been proven to reduce diabetes, depression, risk of cancer and many other benefits.
Some of the health benefits of walking vs running
Studies by the American Heart Association’s Journal have shown that walking briskly is just as effective as running because you are expending energy. Walking has also been shown to relieve stress, keep your heart strong, reduce diabetics and reduce your depression. This is even more true if you walk at a brisker pace rather than a stroll.
The effects of walking vs running
I wanted to share with you my reasons for believing when it comes to walking vs running that walking is indeed better than running. These are based on my own personal experience and research which I have read.
Running could contribute to osteoarthritis. As I get older, I am very concerned about my bones. When I gave running a go I felt a real pounding in my knees, not to mention the stress and strain that it was putting on my lower back. This lead me to learn more about exercise and osteoarthritis. The more you run the more chance you have of getting an injury especially around your joints. This may lead to osteoarthritis. The injuries you get when running disrupt the collagen network and slowly start to wear the cartilage down which could lead to microfractures in the bones underneath the cartilage. This could lead to a depilation of lubricant at the joints. This really isn’t something I want to happen to me, so I switched to walking briskly to avoid the jarring on my knees and the issues surrounding my lower back.
Running can contribute to damaging your cartilage. Pretty much the same as osteoarthritis. The pounding of running can cause damage to your cartilage. The damage is often seen in runners who have been running for some time. This wear and tear are not something I want to have to deal with when I’m older. My father in law had to have a hip replacement. He was a great runner when he was younger, but the wear and tear meant his hips had damage to the point where he needed one replaced.
Running can be bad for your heart. There was a study by the Journal of American College of Cardiology that people who run most days of the week faster than 7 miles per hour would have the same risk of death as those who just sit on their bum! I was surprised by this fact but then I read that the chambers of your heart start to become overwhelmed after 60 minutes of intense physical exercise and that inflammation occurs inside your arteries.
Running could tax your immune system. The sheer excess of running could mean that your immune system could be low. This can lead to increased infections from a cold, to a chest infection. For example, those who train for a marathon are at greater risk of not just burning fat but burning muscle which is not great for your body.
Research carried out at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign found that intense exercise increases certain proteins that allow viruses to thrive in your body! If you tax your body, then you will be more prone to infection. So what are your thoughts on the walking vs running debate?
The benefits of walking vs running
Walking on a regular basis means fewer injuries. Above I mentioned that running can cause several injuries. With walking you don’t get as many. Research has shown that up to half of runners get running injuries each year with the most common being problems with their knees. This can also lead to long term issues such as osteoarthritis.
Walking isn’t as taxing on your joints/bones. Did you know that runners hit the ground around three times their body weight with each strike? It really does sound like a lot compared to walking which is only 1.5 times our body weight with each foot strike. This is what is referred to as a low impact exercise. Low impact exercise means less stress on your joints and less wear and tear on your bones and cartilage.
Walking helps you stay within your fat burning zone. It is so much easier to stay within your fat burning zone when walking. Walking at a brisk pace will result in burning your stored-up body fat rather than sugars when you stay within your zone. If you need help in understanding the fat burning zone and to figure out what your fat burning zone is head over to my blog post on fat burning.
Walking doesn’t need fancy clothing. The whole reason for me wanting to walk has been that I can fit it in with my daily routine. I don’t want to get home from work, rush out again after changing in to special clothing to go to a gym. I want to walk in whatever I am in. I fit my walking in during my way in to work, during lunch time and on the way home. I walk in whatever I have put on for the day at work. Although I do change in to my trainers as they are so comfortable to wear.
Walkers don’t burn out or hit the wall. I’ve often heard a friend talk about hitting the wall or burning out during a long run. Us walkers don’t often experience this. Burning out or hitting the wall means that the runner has used up all the available fuel in their body and they are experiencing extreme fatigue. Walking for an hour especially in your fat burning zone will not do this unless you have been walking on an empty stomach. At least though us walkers can replenish our energy as we go.
Walking can be a mindful experience. When out for a brisk walk, we can often take the time to consider how things are going. We can slow down and look at the flowers, we can stop and chat to people. These are all mental wellbeing benefits of walking which are stress reliving.
I really do hope that you will start to embrace walking. So for the question in the debate of walking vs running, there is no question walking comes out tops for me! While some may not consider it exercise, I can truly say that it is and it’s an important one too. There are so many benefits to walking that they can be life changing. Indeed, a study which appeared in US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health noted that those who walked on a regular basis turned out to be healthier than those who were running on a regular basis. In all areas such as cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension all dropped significantly among walkers compared to their running counterparts.