Both walking and running are excellent to get cardio training. But is one a better workout than the other?
Benefits of cardio training
Cardio training, or aerobics, is all that makes you breathe harder and your heart beat faster.
Some of the benefits include:
- Reduced risk of dementia
- Improved memory
- Increased circulation
- Better blood sugar control
- Cheerful mood
- An easier time to fall asleep
- Healthier cholesterol levels
- Better erectile function
Running is a powerful exercise for many people, while walking tends to moderate intensity.
Intence activity is when you breathe fast and hard, and your heart rate has gone up a lot. You may also find it difficult to say more than a few words without stopping to breathe. In general, one minute of vigorous activity equals 2 minutes of moderate-intensity.
Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of challenging training each week. They also say that you should do muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week.
Walking vs. running
There are some essential differences between walking and running.
Starts training. If you are starting to exercise or are out of shape, begin by walking short distances, gradually increasing the length and duration. Even walking at a random pace of 2 miles per hour can reduce the risk of heart problems by 31%.
Burn calories. Running can burn more than twice as many calories as walking.
For a person weighing 160 pounds, walking at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour for 30 minutes burns around 156 calories. Running at six mph at the same time burns about 356 calories.
Low impact vs. high impact. You can think of brisk walking as easy running. When walking, you have one foot on the ground at all times. When you run, you are in the air during each step. Every time you land, your body absorbs the effect at about three times your body weight.
Risk of osteoarthritis. Because it is more strenuous, you may think that running will increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the pad between the bones (cartilage) wears down, and your joints become painful and swollen.
However, a study of 74,752 runners and 14,625 hikers found that runners had a lower risk of hip prosthesis and osteoarthritis than hikers. Researchers said this might be because runners, on average, had lower body mass indices (BMI) than hikers.
Risk of injury. Researchers say that runners and others who do high-impact exercise are more likely to be injured than hikers. About 19% and 79% are injured while running. But it is difficult to say precisely how much higher.
Researchers found that running only once a week can lead to overuse injuries. 80% of running injuries are overuse injuries. Those who run longer and more often are also more prone to injuries.
A previous leg injury gives you a higher risk of running-related leg injuries. Researchers found that orthoses and shoe inserts are unsuitable for preventing running injuries.
Common running injuries include:
- The runner’s knee
- Achilles tendonitis
- Bone splints
- Plantar fasciitis
- Stress fractures
- Iliotibial band syndrome
Hikers have a much lower risk of being injured. In a study of 14,536 students who did various types of physical activity, those who walked had some of the lowest injury rates.
Both running and walking are exellent exercise
Walking can reduce the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure as much as running. They measured training by time, not distance.
Since walking is less energetic than running, you need to walk longer or more often to get the same benefits. Running is more effective but has a higher risk of injury, and you need more time to heal if you are injured.
Whether it’s running, walking or both, choose the one you like best.
How to get more benefits of walking
Here are some ways to improve the benefits of walking.
- Swing with your arms. Swing your arms naturally as you walk. Swinging them vigorously encourages you to go faster. It also gives the upper body more exercise. You will also burn 5% to 10% more calories.
- Walk uphill. Walking on a treadmill increase the incline by 5% or 10%. If you go outdoors, look for upphills or even a steep driveway to make the walk more challenging.
- Water hiking. Do this in shallow water on the beach or in a pool. Resistance to water increases the intensity but reduces the impact on your joints.
- Walking poles. Walking poles can help you burn up to 30% more calories. They add intensity and help you maintain a good posture while walking.
- Weighted vests. A weight vest adds intensity but does not strain the shoulders and wrists as ankle and hand weights do. Choose one that is 5% to 10% of your body weight.