Both walking and running are aerobic physical exercises which use oxygen as a primary source of energy (as opposed to anaerobic high-intensity exercises which use high energy phosphates, adenosine triphosphate, and creatine phosphate or anaerobic glycolysis as primary sources of energy). This means that walking and running build stamina, increase endurance and improve cardiovascular function, while high-intensity exercises (e.g. sprinting) build muscle mass, explosive power, strength, and speed.
Is walking same as running?
Considering that walking and running use our metabolism in the same way (they are the same type of exercise), just at a different pace, we can understand the health benefits of walking vs. running more objectively if we think of walking as slow motion running. So, the question does walking give you the same health benefits as running becomes a question of time.
People who walk will stick with walking over a long period of time, while runners, because of a higher incidence of injury in the sport and because it is a more demanding form of exercise, are more likely to give up altogether. However, running is a more effective form of cardiovascular exercise and therefore more effective for weight loss and general fitness.
Health benefits of running:
• Prevents high blood pressure
• Weight loss
• Lessen the effect of asthma
• Prevents heart disease
• Increases overall mental health
• Increases bone density
• Increases confidence
• Strengthens joints and stability
• Reduces effects of diabetes
• Can successfully fight off mild depression
Health benefits of walking:
• Healthy heart
• Keeps your diabetes under control
• Weight control
• Prevents and delays osteoarthritis
• Excellent for overall mental health
In the end, it all gets down to personal goals. If your goal is to lose weight, tone up your muscles, have a strong heart and healthy lungs with increased capacity, then go for running. Running wins by burning your calories quicker. While walkers can burn the same amount of calories, it will take far longer and could not deliver the same results. Walking, however, reduces the risk of heart disease more than running thanks to a longer low-impact workout. So if your goal is overall health and longevity, then definitely go for walking, as it has greater long-term health benefits without the risk of injury.
Although miles on your sneakers may be good for your health, your waistline and your mood, they are not always good for your joints. Walking is safer because it has less impact on your joints. The best way to choose the one over the other is to be aware of your lifestyle, your time and your goals.