Running Vs Walking: What Is Better For A Healthy Life

If you are having a hard time choosing between whether to include running or walking in your fitness regime, I can assure you that you are not alone! 

Walking and running are both incredible cardiovascular exercises that can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle. 

However, just when you think you can finally be consistent by choosing any one of these exercises, you get another new piece of information and go back to square one. Even if you are well informed and consistent with your workout regime, you can still fail to pick out which is best for your everyday workout.

Although opting for any of the two activities allows you to burn calories, lose weight, and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, there is considerable debate about which is better. 

The fact is, to lead an active lifestyle by choosing any of these exercises depends entirely on your goals, health, and current fitness levels.

Cardiovascular Exercise? Come Again?! 

Cardiovascular exercises target the major muscle groups of the body; these activities increase your heart rate, increasing your breathing and blood flow. 

Imagine being on a treadmill for 10 minutes or doing fifty jumping jacks in 30 seconds, that is, cardiovascular exercises or you can simply refer to it as “cardio.”

Including cardio exercises in your daily routine can even help you live longer! And this is not an exaggeration; various scientific research has gone into this. 

Both Walking And Running Are Types Of Cardio

There are various physical health benefits of including cardio in your fitness training. Some research and sources include the following: 

  • Help in burning calories and fat 
  • Decreasing cholesterol
  • Improving the immune system
  • Helps in preventing or managing health conditions including hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease
  • Increases bone density
  • Strengthening heart muscles for better contractions.
  • Improving sleep habits by enhancing REM cycles.  
  • It helps in losing weight 
  • Maintains a healthy weight
  • Increases muscle strength for more stamina.
  • It helps prevent or manage chronic health conditions
  • Increases your life expectancy.

Apart from the physical health benefits, it also improves your mental health by:

  • Reducing stress by balancing cortisol levels.
  • Reduce anxiety and panic attacks
  • Act as an antidepressant
  • Boosts your mood
  • Help you relax mentally 
  • Boost your self-esteem 

Supporting these facts, scientific research reveals that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise thrice a week certainly reduces anxiety and depression. Moreover, it even proves that these exercises uplift your mood and boost your self-esteem.

The study’s researchers also claim that it is not necessary to exercise for 30 minutes straight to reap these benefits. Walking for barely 10 minutes three times a day provides the same mental health boost.

Which Burns More Calories – Running Vs Walking? 

Regardless of your fitness goals or whether you are a professional, student, or businessperson. I can bet calories count has hindered your fitness goals at least once. But don’t worry, I can help you figure out how to burn those calories. 

The number of calories burned while walking and running depends on several factors such as: 

  • Weight
  • Workout span
  • Activity level (low, moderate, or high) 

According to the American Council on exercise, a person who weighs 160 pounds burns approximately 15.1 calories per minute while running. In contrast, someone with the same weight burns around 8.7 calories each minute by walking. 

Therefore, running burns more calories per minute than walking. However, walking can still burn the same number of calories by doing so for a longer duration.

To lose one pound, you need to burn approximately 3,500 calories, and if your goal is to lose weight, running is a better choice than walking.

And let’s be honest, we all have gained a few extra pounds during this pandemic, and with offices/schools re-opening, a fitness lifestyle that shows quick and effective results is a definite yes for me. And running can exactly do that!

However, If you are new to exercise or are not able to run, walking can still help you get in shape. You should stick to walking if you are just a beginner or have health conditions like heart disease. 

But the real question is, how does running/walking help you burn the calories? 

With all said and done, let’s get right into it! 

How does running help you lose weight? 

According to the 2021 Fitness Trends Report, almost 59.1 percent of active adults say that exercising outdoors, such as running, is one of the best ways for a healthier lifestyle.

Incorporating exercise in your daily life is becoming essential as you can get an overall idea of the rapid trend of running to maintain good health and even lose weight.  

  1. Running Burns Way More Calories

Look, it is simple, when you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. And running is a great way to do so. Why? Well, you see, when you run, a variety of different sets of muscles work together; you keep a proper posture and engage your core muscles. 

I would recommend you include running in your high-intensity interval training as this helps you increase the calories you are burning per minute. 

  1. The Afterburn Effect

You can do any exercise to burn your calories but go for a high-intensity running such as an interval run that burns calories for up to 48 hours. 

Although these exercises are more tiring than walking and even require more energy to recover from, this helps you burn more calories, referred to as the ‘Afterburn Effect’.

  1. Watch What You Eat 

Yes, you might have heard this several times before, and have tried to eat less or change what you eat and ended up having more appetite than usual, making your weight loss and life way more complicated. 

But what if I told you that you simply outrun this pattern? Studies have found that by doing high-intensity training, your appetite level decreases which helps you eat a certain amount. Although the whole process behind this is unclear, the results speak for themselves. 

Now that you know how running for just a few minutes can have so much effect on how you look and feel, get your water bottles and a pair of comfortable shoes ready for your run. 

Can Walking Help You Lose Weight? 

If you are just a beginner and can’t run, or you may even have a health condition restraining you from doing so. You don’t need to worry, you can just walk your way through this! 

Yes, indeed, this will take more time as well as effort, but the results sure would be worth it. It is the most cost-effective way to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. If you want to speed things up a little bit, I would suggest you follow some of these tips:  

  1. Power walking 

While many people go for a walk religiously, they forget to keep up a target speed while they walk. 

Walking doesn’t just mean going around your block with your buddies. Power walks can burn the same amount of calories as running when done right. Usually, power walks are considered walking from 3mph to 5mph, but you can always increase it to 7 to 10 mph. 

  1. Weighted Vest 

Adding weights to your fitness regime is always a good idea and adding extra weight while you walk helps you burn a lot more calories than a normal walk. Why? Well, the reason is quite simple, your now heavier body requires more energy to do even the easiest tasks. 

However, you must take precautions when you opt for a weighted vest. Avoid wearing ankle or wrist vests as they can lead to muscle imbalance and injury. I would recommend you speak to your doctor before rolling out and adding new practices to your daily workouts. 

  1. Incline Walk

Imagine walking up a hill, the terrain makes it harder to walk, taking up more of your energy, and burning more calories. This is referred to as incline walking.

Although it is great if you can find a hill to do this exercise, or you can even just walk on an inclined treadmill. If you are just a starter, I would suggest you start slow and pave your way up to a 10 to 15 percent incline. 

  1. Break Those Walks 

No matter if you are going for a power walk or inclined, breaking your walking times can help make your exercise more effective. 

If you are going for a 15-minute power walk, do a “warm-up” walk, then increase your pace from there and continue this pattern. Additionally, go for shorter walks rather than long walks, as it can keep you active throughout the day. 

Overall, you can see how you can easily reach your goal of a healthy lifestyle using a few tips. However, I would suggest you consult a doctor before adding these to your regime. With a little motivation and regularity, you can wave goodbye to those unwanted calories. 

Which Burns Belly Fats — Running Vs Walking? 

It is not easy to get rid of that annoying belly fat. Being on endless diets and doing abs exercise can disappoint you when it comes to seeing the results. But worry not, running and walking is one of the most practical ways you can cut off that harmful belly fat

The fat in the abdominal portion of your body can expose you to several health problems, some of which include a high risk of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and more. 

To achieve a healthy lifestyle, you need to be consistent with your workout regime and have a healthy diet. Having said that, we can now get into how running/walking can help reduce your belly fat. 

Choosing either walking or running can help you reduce your belly fat. However, the speed at which you lose it will depend on the intensity of your workout, weight, age, body type, etc.

Moreover, several studies have shown a high-intensity workout is more likely to reduce overall body fat than just targeting belly fat. When you are just looking to reduce the fat from your belly, go for a moderate to high-intensity workout. 

Although you might want to take professional advice before taking up new exercises or diets, planning your workouts and meals is crucial in achieving your fitness goals.

Better Heart Health – Running vs Walking? 

When it comes to heart conditions, you should take the necessary precautions. Running and walking both can strengthen your heart. However, most people prefer brisk walking to improve their heart health as it helps them stimulate themselves and reap almost similar benefits as they would from running. On the other hand, extremely vigorous running can increase your blood pressure and heart rate, leading to a heart attack. 

It is safer to go for a brisk walk around your neighborhood rather than running in the park. If you have any health conditions, you must take medical care and advice before adding this to your routine. 

Which is riskier – Running vs Walking?  

The health benefits that running and walking give you are not limited to physical looks or health. It also provides several mental health benefits.

But you know how it is, with all good things comes some bad, if you have concerns about exercise-related injuries you should choose walking instead of running as it can cause more injuries than walking. Walkers have a 1 to 5% chance of getting injured, whereas runners have a 20 to 70% chance.

And the reason behind this is that running is a high-impact exercise, which has a higher stressful impact on your body than walking. 

Some of the most common running-related injuries are as follows:

If you are a runner, it is essential to take precautions to avoid injuries by not intensifying your mileage too much, including cross-training in your workout. You can even go for a walk instead of running as a part of your exercise. 

Wrapping Up 

When it is all said and done, picking a cardio exercise of your choice depends on your fitness goals. Both cardio exercise, running, and walking can help improve your health and lifestyle. 

You must remember, including any of the two in your workout regime needs consistent efforts and discipline. However, with hard work and motivation, you can see changes in your lifestyle in no time. 

If you are just a beginner, I would recommend you start with walking as cardio, but running is a more convenient option if you want to lose weight instead. 

I hope you had a great time reading this blog and found this insightful.


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