Read on the benefits and risks of walking vs. running to help you choose the best one for you.

You have laced up your sneakers and going out to hit the pavement. But you are unsure whether to run or walk to get the most out of your miles. Either way, your activity tracker can end up showing the same step count. So you cannot figure out which option would be best for your health and wellness goals because each of these two different cardiovascular activities has its own unique benefits.

Benefits Of Cardiovascular Exerciser

Cardiovascular activities make your heart rate faster and get you breathing harder. Therefore, they are essential to living a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

However, like any fitness lifestyle, there are different levels of exertion. For example, some people consider running a “vigorous” cardiovascular activity, while many consider walking a “moderate” one.

The thumb rule is that “two minutes moderate activity equals one minute of vigorous-intensity activity.” So, does that mean that running is twice as beneficial for you as walking? Not quite.

[Related: Exercises For Lifetime Cardio Fitness]

Walking Is A Great Way To Begin

First and foremost, walking is the apparent preference for the people who are just starting their fitness journey. The old saying “You need to walk before you can run” is undoubtedly correct! Beginning with regular walks of short, attainable distances is ideal; from there, progressing to longer distances and a faster pace will be much more achievable than struggling to run from day one.

Moreover, walking offers a lot of the same benefits as running – such as improved lung, heart, brain, and joint health, among many others.

[Related: Turn Your Walking Into 3 Times Better]

Running Burns More Calories, But Involves More Risk Of Injury

If you aim to lose weight, it’s worth noting that running torches roughly twice as many calories as walking. According to Healthline, “For someone who’s 160 pounds, running at five mph [for one hour] torches 606 calories. On the other hand, walking briskly for the same time at 3.5 mph burns just 314 calories.

On the flip side, running has more health risks than walking does. As per Healthline, runners get exposed to a much higher risk for exercise-related injury than walkers. While walkers have about one to five percent injury risk, runners face a twenty to seventy percent chance.

See, because running is a high-impact exercise, it tends to take more toll on your body than a low-impact exercise like walking. So over time, running regularly is likely to cause injuries such as stress fractures, shin splints, and many more.

[Related: Jogging vs. Running]

So, Which One Is Better For You, Running Or Walking?

The wisdom is – the cardio workout best for you is whichever one you do consistently.

The Mayo Clinic suggests doing at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. That comes to about a minimum of three 25-minute runs a week, or at least three 50-minute walks a week.

If your goal is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the right option would be to opt for whichever activity you feel more motivated to complete regularly. For example, if you fear going for a run, but a walk feels doable, go for a walk! Any exercise is better than no exercise.

However! The Mayo Clinic further clarifies that “to provide an even higher health benefit and to help with weight loss or maintain weight, at least 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week is recommended. That comes to six 25-minute runs per week or six 50-minute walks per week with a rest day to recover.

Whether you choose a twenty-five-minute run or a fifty-minute walk, you will burn the same number of calories. So, if your goal is to lose weight, remember that the activity you choose is less important than the frequency with which you complete that activity.

A Word Of Caution: If you very often feel pain after exercise, consult your doctor.

About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Fitness Buffhq - Renu bakshiPersonal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”

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