One life: healthier, happier

Should I Run or Should I Walk

This seems to be an age-old debate – is walking or running better for you? Let’s start off by saying that any type of exercise is good exercise. If we are moving our bodies and getting our heart rate up, then we are burning calories and doing a great thing.

Walking and running are great ways to exercise. They don’t cost anything, they are easily accessible to all and you can choose to do them alone, in company and even competitively. 

So, what are the pros and cons of each?

Many people find walking more enjoyable. It’s a great way to relax and a calming way to exercise. It’s also a great option for people new to exercise, who aren’t quite up to a jog yet. It’s also less strenuous on our joints than running which makes it a great choice for people who are carrying a bit of extra weight and the older age group.

You may have heard the saying that walking burns more fat than jogging. Well, it is true that when exercising at a low intensity, our bodies choose to use fat as the main source of energy. So does this make it better for weight loss than running? Not really. 

Running burns energy much faster. So you can burn more calories in a shorter period of time. The difference is that running happens at higher intensity, and therefore burns carbohydrates and sugars in our body FIRST. But since the total volume of exercise is higher when running, even by burning fat at a slower rate, you end up burning more fat than jogging.

Running does have some cons which include a greater risk of injury. Blisters, sprains and shin splints are quite common. Due to the extra strain running places on our bodies, it is important to be fitted with a proper pair of running shoes, which can be expensive and will need to be replaced much faster than a pair of walkers shoes. Runners also find they need proper clothing, whereas walking can normally be performed in anything comfortable. 

Running will challenge your cardio fitness more so than walking, so if you are looking to push yourself in this department, running is the better option.

The Consensus

You need to enjoy exercise in order to keep doing it. So if you really dislike running and can’t bring yourself to commit to it, then walking is a great alternative. Just make sure you are really challenging yourself with your walk, incorporate some hills and make the walk longer so that you are reaping the benefits. 

If you love running, but still can’t do it, no problem. Start by adding a few periods of jogging when you are doing your walk. Keep track and try to slowly increase those periods, until you get more comfortable to jog for longer.

Keep yourself challenged, but also make sure you don’t burn out. Try and incorporate rest days, or even add some walking days into your exercise schedule to avoid injury and fatigue.