Is running or walking better? Are there benefits to both? Which should you choose?
The truth is, any exercise is good for you. Our bodies were designed to move, and when we do not move them regularly, they will quickly fall into disrepair. Today’s lifestyle, however, tends to encourage us at every turn to sit down, lay down, or otherwise stay immobile. Whether it is driving everywhere instead of walking, or spending your entire day sitting at a desk, only to go home and sit on a couch watching TV until laying down for bed, our modern lifestyles seem to actually discourage us from moving. Whereas our not too distant ancestors had to move their bodies from sunrise to sundown just to survive, our choice to stay active must be a a conscious one in the twenty first century.
To that end, the picture of fitness often conjures the image of a person in athletic attire, dutifully on their morning jog, running around a track or a neighborhood. Running is an obvious exercise to participate in; it gets your heart rate up quickly, you can participate in it virtually anywhere, and the only equipment you need is a comfortable pair of shoes. Not surprisingly, for many people, running is the exercise of choice for staying lean and keeping your heart in good shape.
But for many people, the idea of running is far less appealing, and for many people who may be just beginning their health journey, running any sort of distance may seem out of the question or downright painful. Particularly if you have joint problems, or are in poor cardiovascular shape, running can seem more like torture than doing something good for your body.
Walking, however, is something most people can do quite easily. In fact, it is an activity humans are actually very well equipped for. Walking is a very deceptive activity, because it seems so simple, yet the benefits of walking are profound. Recently, science has has shown us that walking might be one of the most beneficial activities for us to participate is regularly. Indeed, it shares many of the same benefits of running: it gently elevates heart rate; you can participate in it virtually anywhere, and all you really need is a comfortable pair of shoes. All of this while being quite a bit easier on your knees.
Then benefits of walking are well established; as little 150 minutes per week of brisk walking is all you need for a myriad of associate benefits. These include things like lower risk of cancer, better cardiovascular risk factors (like lowered blood pressure), and assistance with losing unwanted weight plus preventing gaining unwanted weight.
So, for those who are looking to move from being sedentary into being active, walking may be the best place to start.
This certainly does not render running useless; running––from distance jogging to running high intensity sprints––can really work to elevate your cardiovascular health, assist in losing weight, and strengthen leg muscles. If your goal is to reach your peak cardiovascular health, working up to running many miles a week or running sprints in intervals is a great way to get your heart in excellent shape. While walking is something most people can safely get into, if you have any health concerns, you might talk to a doctor before beginning a running regimen.
So, which is better, walking or running? The answer is that both are excellent options, and whichever one you choose to participate in will only work to elevate your health.