Running vs Walking

run walk shoesRunning vs Walking

You may be wondering whether you get the same benefits from running vs walking and if so which is best for you. Or even should you do both?

It all depends on what you want to achieve whether it be speed, weight loss, fitness, enjoyment and so on and also what your body is capable of.

Benefits of both running and walking

Improves your aerobic capacity
Promotes weight loss
Boosts energy levels
Improves sleep
Feel good factor
Sociable
Improves cardio vascular system
Decreases diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, high blood pressure.

Running vs Walking Comparison

Running

Walking

Activity Impact Level 

High Impact Sport and therefore places more stress on the body.

Low Impact Activity and stress on the body is less.

Cost

Expenses include running kit and running shoes and possible race entry. Can be as expensive as you want it to be.

Costs are lower as you may already have suitable walking shoes and clothes

Weight Loss

Running in your aerobic zone burns fat  and thus produces visual weight loss. However runners often do  speed work in their anaerobic zone which basically burns up your carbohydrate stores  (glycogen) and not your fat. 

Walking at an aerobic pace burns fat and produces the greatest visual weight loss. It's not always just about burning calories!

Time & Place Factor

Runners need to be a bit disciplined about choosing the time and place to run. Not all places are suitable and you need to don your running kit and shower afterwards and that takes time and organisation.

It is easy to find a place and time to walk even in a big city. Walk to the shops or to work and all you need is a decent pair of walking shoes.

Injury Risk

Being a high impact activity, injuries to the hips, knees and ankles are not uncommon. and can develop subtly over time.

Being a low impact activity, injuries are more to do with immediate trauma such as a twisted ankle.

Over training

Runners may do too much too quickly and not allow enough recovery time. This creates stress on the body and leads to injury and chronic inflammation.

Less likely to develop overuse injuries.

But which should you do? Run or walk?

I think it comes down to what you would enjoy the most. The more you enjoy something, the more you are going to stick at it. I like running and it suits me right now. I run with a fantastic club and my husband runs too.

You also need to look at your current health and fitness level. Basically don't run before you can walk. Many people I know follow a run-walk strategy and others just do one or the other.

In terms of health benefits and running vs walking, the majority of research done in the past couple of years shows that.....

Walking is just as good for your health as running and with the added bonus that you don't get the injuries associated with running.

As far as weight loss goes (I like to think of it as fat loss rather than weight loss), both running and walking can have the same effect. However you need to balance both with a healthy and appropriate diet.

I used to believe that running fast meant that I was fit. Wrong!

Being fit and being healthy are two different things.

After suffering several running injuries I realized that although I was getting fitter, I was also causing damage to my body by running to much and too fast. I was often tired, I had niggles and pains that weren't there before and I began to not enjoy my runs.

I decided to re-evaluate my running and I have now adopted the Maffetone training method which involves me running slowly going by heart rate, with episodes of walking too. It suits me so much better and I've not been injured since. Plus I've got my running mojo back.

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