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4/08/2011

Running Vs. Walking? Which is Better? YOU decide!


Being an exercise junkie, I often have this debate with my friends: when it comes to an optimal exercise regime, is it better to walk or run?

It’s interesting because when you are first posed the question the logical answer seems to be running: it’s higher intensity; it makes you sweat more and builds strength and endurance within an impacted amount of time. Walking, however, has been proven to provide the same amount of benefits,  if a commitment is made over a longer period of time.

I remember when one of my girlfriends was living in New York City; she gave up her car, and walked everywhere. I was maintaining my high intensity circuit running workouts in Los Angeles, but of course I drove everywhere. In the end, my girlfriend in New York City seemed to reap the most benefits from walking everywhere. She dropped weight, subsequently gained a new and slimmer physique, and developed a great foundation for cardio workouts on the side.

So which is better? Basically it goes something like this. According to a CBS article and Fitness magazine’s Executive Editor Liz Vaccariello, “You'll burn about 270 calories walking for 40 minutes at 4 mph, which is 4.0 on the treadmill. You'll also burn 270 calories running, at 6 mph, but it will only take you 20 minutes”. These numbers are approximated for a 135 pound woman.

Essentially you can cut your time in half by running instead of walking. Deciding whether to incorporate a walking or running exercise plan really depends on your goals. If you are looking to gain greater lung capacity and endurance, you may want to start out with a light- running workout routine. Running just 2.0 miles a day at a 6mph will start to help you build endurance and will begin to strengthen your lungs. After establishing a base run for about two weeks, you will find it very easy to build on miles and speed. You may want to create an end goal , by registering for a community run or a ½ marathon. If you have never run before, you will notice results very quickly including, muscle contouring, weight loss, and mental improvement.

Walking is low impact, and one of the easiest forms of exercise to incorporate into your daily life. Although the results may not happen overnight, over time, by choosing to walk more places, you may notice the scale tipping backwards in your favor. According to the Mayo Clinic, ‘walking can ‘ease you into a higher level of fitness and health and Walking is a form of exercise accessible to just about everybody. It's safe, simple and doesn't require practice’.  

Whether you choose to run or walk, you are going to reel in the health benefits. Both plans will help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, improve your mood, and trim your waistline!  If you are looking for faster results, choose running, BUT, be prepared to for a higher intensity, sweat induced and challenging work out! And remember, to get drastic results from running, you have to commit to running at a moderate speed, around 2 miles per day, 5-6 times a week. The hard work will pay off, but sustaining the motivation will have to be a conscious choice you make on your own.

Walking will deliver results as well, but it will take awhile longer for the benefits to accrue. Walking however, also requires commitment and a conscious effort to change your lifestyle. Try parking far away from the entrance of your favorite grocery and retail stores. Walk to work if you can, or schedule in long 1-2 hour walks during the week. Grab a friend; it will make the time fly by!

To walk or to run? That is the question; hopefully you have a better sense of your answer after reading our advice! Happy workout!

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