Health Benefits of Running vs. Walking

by Nancy Anderson

Woman Running: How to sustain health and weight loss goalAlthough running gets a lot of attention, the health benefits of walking make the exercise very valuable for health and fitness.

If you are thinking about staying active, you can base your decision on age, medical history, and fitness level.

Running makes sense for some people, but others might benefit from the slower pace of walking.

Health Benefits of Walking

The health benefits of walking are numerous, whether the walker is a teenager or a senior citizen.

Experts from the Mayo Clinic report that the benefits of walking include improved coordination and balance, improved mood, and stronger bones.

Walking also helps people lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, manage chronic health conditions, and prevent conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. The health benefits of walking increase as a walker increases his speed and distance.

Walking Is Great for Stress Relief

Caitlin Raddatz of the Independent Florida Alligator reports that one of the health benefits of walking is reduced stress levels. Walking seems to reduce stress in several ways. One study showed that walking helps the brain shift into a calmer state.

People who walk outdoors instead of indoors also benefit from spending time in nature, which can improve attention span and memory.

One of the key health benefits of walking is that the exercise boosts endorphin levels, improving mood and reducing stress hormone levels.

How Much Do You Need to Walk for Health Benefits?

How much walking is necessary in order to garner benefits? Health experts disagree on this point but, according to the Surgeon General, one half-hour of moderate to vigorous walking each day will help to get you into shape.

Walking can keep you from the doctor’s office, also as it is beneficial in strengthening muscles and bones as well as getting the blood pumping. Walking can reduce coronary heart disease risks, improve blood pressure, decrease blood sugar levels, enhance mental wellbeing as well as reduce the risk of diabetes.

Imagine you can receive all of these benefits simply from 30 minutes of moderate walking on most days. Even walking 20 minutes per day can help to burn approximately 7 pounds of body fat per year as well as extend life by several years.

Health Benefits of Running

If you would rather run than walk, it is important for them to know how the health benefits of running differ from the health benefits of walking.

In many ways, walking and running have the same health benefits. The difference is that walkers have to walk about twice as long as runners to get the same benefits.

running woman is happy

Melaina Juntti of Men’s Journal reported the results of a large study comparing the health benefits of walking and running. In the study, the researchers compared fifteen thousand walkers and thirty-three thousand runners over a period of six years.

They found that the same amount of energy used for moderate-intensity walking and high-intensity running decreased the risk of high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

The coauthor of the study said that walkers must walk about twice as far as runners to expend the same amount of energy and reap the health benefits of walking.

Does Running Make You Less Hungry?

In a recent NY Times article, runners and walkers were compared on the basis of their eating habits after exercising. On one day, volunteers either ran or walked on a treadmill for an hour. On the next day, they were made to rest for that hour. Blood was drawn from these volunteers so that certain hormones related to appetite could be checked.

After both sessions, these volunteers were taken into a room with a laden buffet and told to enjoy. It turns out the walkers were hungry and ate the food while the runners picked at it taking in less calories than they had burned.

The blood work showed that the runners had a higher level of the hormone peptide YY which controls appetite while the walkers did not have an increased level of peptide.

However, this was just one aspect of the study. The bottom line for the study was whether you walk or run it doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that you get out there and do it.

If you are debating whether to walk or run, it is more important to get the benefits of regular exercise. If you don’t like the idea of jogging or running, you can enjoy the health benefits of walking.

Staying active is more important, no matter the activity you choose.

(Nancy Anderson is the communities and article Editor for Beyond.com. Nancy has 10 years experience in the online job search business with Beyond. Nancy’s team produces dozens of articles every month for top internet sites. Follow Nancy and the Beyond team on https://twitter.com/BeyondJobs.)

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One Response to “Health Benefits of Running vs. Walking”

  1. Great post, I can testify to the fact that WALKING really works, a year ago i used to get stabbing pains in my chest and it felt like it was coming from my heart.

    I went to the doc a few times and they discovered my blood pressure was often high. some doctors prescribed meds the last Doc i saw prescribed a half hours walk each day. after about a week i noticed a decrease in the chest pains and after two months my blood pressure normalized.

    so trust me when i say walking works