When it comes to exercise, walking and running are the most basic options. You don’t need fancy equipment, skills, or training. Just tie up your sneakers and get going! It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
But ever wondered if walking is as good as running? Although the two exercises are more or less similar, running might benefit your body more. Here are 3 major reasons why:
1. Burning Calories
Weight control is vital for healthy living. So if you want to shed the pounds, walking and running are both good options. However, you might get faster and more effective results if you run rather than walk. This is because running requires and uses up to two and a half times more energy than walking does. Regardless of where you run, on a track or a treadmill, you’ll lose more weight running in a shorter period.
For example, a person who walks a 17-minute mile will burn 149 calories. If that same person runs a 12-minute mile, he/she will burn 298 calories!1 Simply put, running burns more calories, helping you burn double the calories in lesser time.2 Walking every day is also more suitable for managing age-related weight gain.
2. Reducing Waist Circumference
Both running and walking can reduce your waist circumference. However, this change is significantly greater when you run. Reducing waist size isn’t just about fitting into old jeans. It is also linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The more weight you have around your waist, the higher your risk. A healthy waist circumference is considered to be 40 inches or less for men and 35 inches or less for women, and you can reach this goal sooner if you run.3
Running is also great for your body mass index (BMI). You can improve it with walking, but running has more of an impact.4 It’ll help you get to that healthy normal BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9 at a faster rate.5
3. Controlling Appetite
No matter how much you exercise, caloric intake and healthy eating matters. Surprisingly, running can lend a hand by controlling your appetite. A study in the Journal of Obesity tested runners and walkers. While the walkers ate roughly 50 more calories than they burned, the runners ate 200 calories fewer than they had burned. The runners also lost more calories, to begin with, increasing the chances of weight loss.
This benefit is likely caused by the appetite-regulating hormone anorexigenic peptides: peptide YY or PYY. Compared to the walkers, runners tend to have higher levels of PYY, which last longer.6
Despite all these advantages of running, it might be so that walking is more suitable for you:
- Walking is a low-key workout, and therefore, a great practical exercise for beginners.
- It also lets you be physically active without any risk of injury. This is perfect if you have physical limitations or want to give your body a break. After all, running places a lot of stress on the body.
In general, walking and running both decrease your risk for type 2 diabetes, cancers, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. They also strengthen your bones, relieve stress, and promote sleep. Ultimately, physical activity of any form has amazing benefits. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day.7 Remember, running might be better than walking… but walking is better than nothing!
|↑1||Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights. Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School.|
|↑2||Hall, Cameron, Arturo Figueroa, B. O. Fernhall, and Jill A. Kanaley. “Energy expenditure of walking and running: comparison with prediction equations.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 36 (2004): 2128-2134.|
|↑3, ↑5||Assessing Your Weight and Health Risk. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.|
|↑4||Williams, Paul T. “Greater weight loss from running than walking during 6.2-yr prospective follow-up.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 45, no. 4 (2013): 706.|
|↑6||Larson-Meyer, D. Enette, Sonnie Palm, Aasthaa Bansal, Kathleen J. Austin, Ann Marie Hart, and Brenda M. Alexander. “Influence of running and walking on hormonal regulators of appetite in women.” Journal of obesity 2012 (2012).|
|↑7||Physical activity – it’s important. BetterHealth Channel.|