Should You Walk or Run for Your Health?
An article in The New York Times reported the results of a study that compared the effects of running versus walking. Not surprisingly, both have their benefits. Running seems to outweigh the walking benefits in some areas, like weight maintenance, while walking’s possibly more beneficial in others, like a reduced risk of heart disease.
In the study, the walkers had heftier appetites than the runners and tended to eat more than the runners did, probably because of a hormone linked to appetite suppression, of which the runners had higher levels.
The decreased risk of heart disease was higher for the walkers, possibly because those who start out walking typically aren’t in the physical condition necessary for running (yet).
Obviously, either one’s good for your health, and better than lying around doing nothing in your free time. I think each has a place in anyone’s routine, even if the “running” is just a few minutes of jogging here and there. Either one will feel good, boost your health, and make you feel less stressed.
Alternating HIIT interval workouts, if you’re able, with days of light jogging or steady state running or walking also has fat-burning benefits if you’re trying to drop the pounds.
Ultimately, whether you walk or run for your health doesn’t seem to matter that much. As long as you’re moving and maintaining a healthy diet and incorporating stress-fighting techniques into your life (yoga, weekly meet-ups with friends for dinner, etc.), you’re being good to yourself and your body. Do the one that makes you happy and you’ll reap health benefits either way.
Photo credit: Ed Yourdon