Whether you’re just starting a new workout regimen, or you’re a fitness buff, you may have questions about benefits of walking vs running, or vice versa. This issue has been brought up before by the fitness community, and the results are pretty much always the same.
Depending on your fitness level, walking may be better to start off, and then you can transition into running. Let’s look at this in detail to determine what’s best for you.
Consider Your Fitness Level
Before you decide whether walking or running is a better workout, it’s best to assess your physical fitness level. If you’re just starting out, walking is definitely the better choice, as you may not be able to run often or far in your current physical state. People who are highly active and physically fit will probably not have any issues with immediately implementing running into their daily exercise plan. If you’re a beginner, you can always build up stamina and distance as you go along.
You should also check with your physician before starting any fitness activities, especially if you have underlying health conditions. Walking and running are both great exercises, but you should proceed with caution if you suffer from any cardiovascular conditions. Now, let’s look at the benefits of both walking and running before we decide which is a better workout.
Benefits of Walking
If you prefer walking to running, then you’ll be happy to know that there are several benefits to this activity. One benefit is that walking helps you to lose weight. A brisk walk for 30 minutes can burn up to 200 calories. If you double your time, that’s 400 calories, or possibly a whole meal. Those calories add up over time, and could lead to a lot of pounds lost. Walking also helps improve your sleep, and supports your joints.
There are some mental health benefits to walking as well. A brisk walk can lead to a more positive mood, and it also slows the decline of your mental status. The University of California conducted a research study that showed memory decline was decreased in people who walked more. This should be enough to help motivate you to get out and get moving, even if you have to start at a snail’s pace. Walking is a simple exercise, and you can do it wherever you are; no special equipment needed.
Benefits of Running
If you’re in pretty good condition and you can run, then you will probably prefer it to walking. Running comes with its own set of benefits. First off, you burn many more calories than walking, and it doesn’t take long to do so. Depending on the speed that you run, you could easily burn 400-600 calories within 45 minutes.
Most runners have very strong legs, and are overall physically fit. Running is a proven stress reliever, and helps strengthen your immune system. And like walking, running is also good for your mental health.
If you’re looking for answers based on sheer numbers, running is the better workout. You burn more calories in a smaller time frame than walking, and running gets your heart rate up faster. However, it takes more than burning a lot of calories to be considered the better workout.
The bottom line is that the benefits of walking and running are very similar, and although running burns more calories, you can achieve the same results with walking longer distances. Your physical capabilities have a lot to do with which activity is best for you, and as a general rule of thumb, you should always learn to “walk before you run”.