To Walk or to Run, That is the Question

Running or walking — that age old debate. Many studies show that running a mile and walking a mile, actually burn the same amount of calories, so which is better?

Well, like most health related questions, the answer is not so cut and dry, because it depends on a number of factors, mainly: your goals, and your body. Studies are beginning to show that running might actually be better for weight loss, while walking is better for overall health, especially bone, joint, and heart health down the line.

New research has found that one of the ways running may increase weight loss is by boosting a hormone called peptide YY, which is an appetite suppressant. This means that not only are you burning calories from the exertion, but you are less likely to have a big appetite to gain back those calories post-run. Walkers may burn the same amount of calories, however they are more likely to consume those calories post-exercise. This means if your short term goal is to shed some pounds, try ramping up the treadmill, or pushing yourself to jog those extra minutes.

However, if long-term health is your goal, especially for people over the age of 50, you may want to shift gears into a fast-paced walk, or slow jog to go easier on your body. Cardio exercise is one of the best way to stay healthy and avoid heart disease, but studies have shown that too much cardio can actually put unwanted stress on your heart. Not to mention, excessive running puts a lot of stress on your bones and joints. This is why many doctors recommend walking to help keep your heart healthy down the line. Combining this with other forms of exercise, especially anything that helps with strength and stability, like yoga or low-weight worksouts are a perfect way to stay active and fit into old age.

So, to run or to walk? As with most things, variation is key! For younger folks looking to stay fit and active, you don’t need to run a marathon to be healthy. The American Heart Association suggestions about 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity, which is about 6–8 miles depending on your speed. If you’re looking for long term health, try a walking or light jogging for about 2.5 hours a week — that’s about 8–10 miles depending on your pace.

Written by Olivia Murphy

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