Running and walking are very beneficial to the health of every cell of your body. Both of these activities are considered to be very beneficial for the process of weight loss, boosting energy, mood improvement, they regulate high blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels, and they significantly reduce the risk of cancer, heart diseases and diabetes.
Walking should not be only considered as a way to get somewhere, it is also a way to heal your body, improve your physical appearance and most important – improves your health by reducing the risk of many diseases. You cardiovascular health will improve, your muscles will be toned and their power to burn fat will increase.
Walking and running
To reduce the risk of heart disease you should choose brisk walking instead of running. This was concluded by a six year study. The scientists observed 33,060 runners and 15,045 walkers aged between 18 and 80 and in the end they compared the results.
Even though both groups spent same amount of energy, the health of the walkers improved much more than the health of the runners. To compare the benefits between running and walking take a look at the results that were given by the study:
-Walking reduced the risk of heart disease by 9.3% and running by 4.5%
– Walking reduced the risk of first-time hypertension by 7.2% and running by 4.2%
-Walking reduced the risk of first-time high cholesterol by 7% and running by 4.3%
-Both walking and running reduced the risk of first-time diabetes by 12%
Moderate intensity walking and running have great health benefits since they both involve the same group of muscles according to Dr. Paul Williams who was the leader of this study.
The difference in these activities is the level of intensity. In this study both runners and walkers spent about the same amount of energy to get the same benefits, so to achieve the same result you should walk longer than you need to run.
Unlike other exercises which include special equipment, running and walking are free, can be done anywhere and they are also excellent social activities.
Compared to walking, running is more rigorous you have to make sure that you are following the right program in order to improve your condition and to enjoy the health benefits of running without harming your body.
Pushing too hard is harmful
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a report which explained that people who force themselves to do hard physical activities will not gain the health benefits of doing them.
The report also included that if you run at fast pace for more than 4 hours a week, or more than three times a week, you will have the same risk of death as the people who aren’t doing any physical activity.
This conclusion was a result of a 12-year study done by researchers from Denmark. Even taking into consideration factors such as age, sex, history of heart disease, diabetes and smoking didn’t change the results.
The individuals who ran less than three times a week for 2.4 hours at a slow to moderate pace had the lowest risk of death.
The ones who ran longer, less than three times a week for 2.5-to4 hours had a larger risk of dying, up to 66% which was quite a surprise.
So, you should consider putting a medium effort into any physical activity to protect your heart, burn calories and also regulate blood sugar.
Walking is beneficial for almost everyone
Even fitness beginners or people diagnosed with a health condition can give running a chance. Walking provides a lot less stress to obese people than running.
Also, when running, the risk of injuries increases much more than when walking. Running is a high impact exercise and while doing it you can hurt your knee, hip or ankle joint which compared to walking is much more dangerous.
Walking around 10 000 steps daily makes men feel 4.1 year younger, and women 4.6 years. You can also easily include walking in your daily schedule, and if you don’t want to leave your home you can always consider getting a treadmill.
Do you still prefer running over walking?
However, if you really enjoy running, try to reduce the risk of injury to a minimum by running on grass, earth or man-made tracks. Always buy high-quality shoes and choose a proper fitness program according to your body and running condition.