Walking and running are the most popular physical activities. Both are excellent aerobic exercises. Both help promote weight loss, improve your sleep, elevate your mood, boost your energy levels, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Walking and running are low-cost, easy-to-do anywhere, year-round activities. Both are social activities — you can walk or run or with a friend.But whether one is preferable to the other in terms of improving health has long been debated. Ultimately, when it comes to the physical aspects, every activity has to be according to one’s body type and its adaptability.
This debate also has its outcome inclined to what you want to accomplish. If your mission relates to control or reduce your weight, running wins the discussion. But if it is just about having proper health, walking wouldn’t lose either.
What does research say?
In a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, and unambiguously titled “Greater Weight Loss From Running than Walking,” researchers combed survey data from 15,237 walkers and 32,215 runners enrolled in the National Runners and Walkers Health Study — a large survey being conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Participants were asked about their weight, waist circumference, diet and typical weekly walking or running mileage both when they joined the study, and then again up to six years later. The runners almost uniformly were thinner than the walkers when each joined the study. And they stayed that way throughout. Over the years, the runners maintained their body mass and waistlines far better than the walkers.
Making the choice
Those who do not wish to run can obtain the same health and fitness benefits by walking. Walking is good exercise for those who are just starting to workout or for those with health problems. For the significantly overweight, walking can be less stressful on the body. Those who desire, can slowly build up to running.