Fitness Basics – Walking Versus Running

The Myths Of Running

Let’s face it, not everyone is a track and field star in the making. Running isn’t for everyone, and many people mistakenly believe that running is the only path to fitness that is acceptable. This is not entirely true, however, since studies repeatedly demonstrate that walking is every bit as helpful as running, and an hour of brisk walking each day can do much to improve health and even prolong your days on this earth.

The key to walking is simple…..it’s how much a person exercises in terms of energy spent, as opposed to how long they spend exercising. It may take longer to walk a mile than run one, but in terms of energy expended, they are more than comparable.  Same exercise, expends same number of calories, equals the same benefit.

Walking may actually provide the same benefits as a good run, especially for older adults.

People who exercise equally in terms of energy output are going to receive the same benefits, and this does not matter whether they ran or walked.  Walking at a brisk pace burns the same amount of calories as a run. In some cases, running was actually demonstrated to be less effective than walking.

The Institute of Medicine says that Americans should make an attempt to get at least an hour of moderate exercise such as a brisk walk every day to remain healthy, and the Heart Association concurs.

There are some differences in the approach of walking and running, with walkers having to cover a greater distance to achieve the same results. Walking 4.3 miles at a brisk pace would expend the same amount of energy as running 3 miles, and would take almost twice as long, about an hour and fifteen minutes by walking as opposed to 38 minutes by running.

The Benefits Of Walking

Runners also tend to be younger and fitter than walkers, with most runners being 48 years of age on average and walkers 62. Female runners were 41 on average versus 53 for walkers.  Running may burn more calories in a shorter period of time, which can be good for those who have busy schedules, but walking is easier than running; it just becomes a matter of committing ones self to doing it on a regular basis.

In short, don’t fall into the myth that you have to run so many miles each week to reach your fitness goals. Set aside time each morning or afternoon and take a nice brisk walk in a park, a mall, a local running track, pretty much anywhere that lends itself to exercise.  You may be pleasantly surprised at the results you start seeing after only a short time.

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