Friday, May 12, 2017

Walking vs. Running – Which is Better?

Running and walking are both popular ways to get a great cardio workout. But is a brisk walk really as good an exercise as a sweaty, heart-pounding run?

Research reported by the American Heart Association finds that walking is just as good as running when it comes to lowering your risk for heart disease.

Researchers analyzed the health of some 48,000 runners and walkers mainly in [their] 40s and 50s. They found that, mile for mile brisk walking lowers the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure as much as running does.

The difference? You’ll have to spend more time walking than you do running to get the same health benefits simply because it takes longer to walk than to run the same distance. For instance, a 15-minute jog burns about the same number of calories as a half-hour brisk walk.

Keep in mind that the chance of being injured is greater in runners because running puts more stress on the body – on the joints in particular.

But if you’re still thinking of stepping up the pace to running, first check with your doctor, especially if you have arthritis or other health conditions, like heart disease.

And keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to either walking or running. You can stay motivated by mixing it up. What’s more, adding short sprints to your walking routine will give you a bigger calorie-burning boost for your efforts.

My Take:
I don’t really enjoy running, I like the benefits. No other activity provides the same cardiovascular benefit in the same time frame. I suppose the day will come when I walk rather than run. It’s good to know I can achieve the same benefit, it just takes twice as long.

As I have mentioned in several previous blogs, the beach is my preferred run. It offers several benefits. First, it is easy on my joints - I run on the packed sand near the water’s edge, as close to low tide as possible. Second, the scenery is spectacular, even on a rainy day. The waves, the sand, the wildlife (including the people) are always entertaining. Third, I wear body glove shoes. As the name implies, they are more like gloves than shoes – very light weight, thin, and they let the water in and out. I used to run barefoot (my favorite) but had too many encounters with foreign objects that cut or bruised my feet.

So beach running avoids most of the potential injuries associated with running. Even if you can’t run the beach you can reduce your injury risk by addressing the “3 S’s” – speed, shoe and surface.

The faster you run, the greater the risk of injury. Unless you are competing, take it easy. Look for a shoe with a lot of cushioning. For those over 200 pounds, pick a “Clydesdale”. Running shoes are all rated by cushioning, stability, and durability. Finally, pick a forgiving surface. Short cut grass like a golf course fairway or sports fields are the best, well packed earth (trails) are a close second. Asphalt is actually much preferred over concrete.

The Bottom Line:
Walking or running - it’s your choice. Do it safely and make it as enjoyable as possible, but do it.

Source: May 4, 2017 National Institutes of Health

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