Running has become a worldwide trend, and everybody has their own motivation to run. Perhaps you are training for a big race, or maybe you just want to get in shape. There is also the undeniable health benefits associated with running. Running helps keep your heart healthy, it gives you a nice boost of energy, and it can bolster your immune system. However, research has shown that you don’t necessarily have to go full speed to enjoy these benefits.
Walking in place of running is another route to go. Walking shares many of the same benefits that running provides, yet not to the same extent. Research has shown that it is easier to lose weight and keep it off while running as opposed to walking. People spend roughly 2 ½ times more energy running than walking, be it on a street or treadmill. That means that if a 160 pound person burns off 800 calories during their run they would only burn off 300 calories if they spent that time walking.
Interestingly enough another study has found that even if you expend the same amount of energy running as you do walking, you will still lose more weight during your run. That means even if your walk covered more time and distance, you will still lose more weight and keep it off by running.
Trying to explain this can be a tad difficult. Another study thinks that running regulates your appetite hormones better than walking. This study had participant run or walk, and then invited them to a buffet after. On average the walkers ate 50 more calories than they burned off, while the runners ate 200 less calories then they burned.
If losing weight isn’t your main goal, than there are still plenty of benefits to walking. Research that studied data from the National Runners’ Health Study and the National Walkers’ Health study proved that, if the same extent of energy is exhausted, that walking and running share the same health benefits.
There are some benefits that might convince you to take a leisurely walk now and then. The big one is that your body does not receive the same amount of stress as it would during a run. Many runners exhibit signs of injury relating to the stress of constant runs. If you don’t have the desire to put your body through that risk constantly, than perhaps you should consider walking from time to time.
If you still want to walk but you want the extra benefits of running, there are some solutions. Adding weights has shown to aid in your walk. If you add hand and ankle weights while walking at roughly 4 mph, then you are essentially getting the same workout as someone running 5 mph.
Of course, the choice between walking and running is entirely up to you. In the end all that matters is what workout fits your personal needs, and what makes you happy. There is no sense in running if you don’t want to, or walking if you think it’s too slow.