Runner in Chicago - CC/Kyle Cassidy
CAIRO – 14 December 2017: The fact that exercise is good for our health is common knowledge, but is faster always better? Both running and walking have significant health benefits, but there are some caveats for each, and the decision of which one you choose comes down to your priorities – fast benefits or low-risk exercise.
Generally, you reap the main health benefits of moderate and vigorous cardio exercise – walking and running – after a threshold of 150 minutes of exercise per week. Your risk of getting chronic health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are significantly reduced. Even light exercise is better than no exercise, if you can’t exercise at a high intensity – it reduces the risk of early death. Jogging regularly increases the lifespan of men by 3.8 years and of women by 4.7 years according to “Longevity in Male and Female Joggers: The Copenhagen City Heart Study.”
SA. Soft forest trail - CC/Virginia State Parks
Walking is safer than running because it has lower-risk of injury, due to its low intensity. That also means that most people are more likely to stick to a walking routine in the long term. For your walk to count as moderate intensity exercise, you need to be walking at a pace that quickens your breath and generates a light sweat. On average two and a half hours of walking at 3.5mph is a good measure to use for a walking regimen.
Running man - CC/Pixabay
Running burns more calories in less time, roughly double the amount of moderate exercise. It also increases your fitness levels more because it improves endurance and stamina. However, it also has higher risk of injury, since it is high intensity. Half of all runners will suffer at least one injury from exercise, whereas only one percent of walkers will be injured.
Effectively, both walking and running give the same benefits, but running produces those benefits faster. Walking a mile will give you the same health benefits as running a mile; it’ll just happen over a longer period of time. Therefore, it comes down to a question of lifestyle and efficiency. If you want to mitigate your risk of injury, walk. If you want to gain the health benefits faster, run. But know that both options will benefit you in the long term.
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