It’s long been a question people ask. Is running or walking better for your body? And where should you start? The truth is, both are fantastic forms of cardiovascular exercise. Either way, getting your body moving is vital — doing something is always better than doing nothing. It’s just a matter of figuring out what’s best for you.
Why Cardio Is Important
Getting your heart rate up by any means of exercise — from walking and running to HIIT workouts and dancing — trains your body to move oxygen and blood to your muscles more efficiently. The list of benefits to this is long. Cardio helps lower your blood pressure. It boosts your good cholesterol levels — and your energy. Add improved blood flow, weight management, prevention of bone density loss, and better sleeping habits, and you’re starting to see why it’s so important to your physical well being. Then when you factor in the impact cardio has on your mental health like reduced stress and tension, promoting a positive attitude and outlook, and improving your self image and self confidence? There’s no doubt it’s a must in your routine.
The Pros of Walking
Walking is a smart, safe way to get the benefits of cardio. There’s a reason it’s the most popular form of exercise. Due to its low-impact nature, walking is easier on your body. From your joints to your heart, you’re putting less stress on your system while still improving your physical and mental health. This also means you have a lower risk of injury when you choose walking over running. (Think plantar fasciitis and shin splints among other common issues.) But the best part? You can walk safely almost anywhere. So get outside and soak up that sunshine on beautiful days. What if it’s cold or rainy? Well, take some laps around a warehouse store or the mall. Just keep movin’!
The Pros of Running
Any time you increase the intensity of an exercise, you also increase the efficiency of it. So when you pick up the pace to a run, those calories are burning at a faster rate. Running is also more efficient in terms of how long it takes to cover the same amount of ground. And they don’t call it a runner’s high for nothing…people swear by those endorphins after finishing a solid jog.
So, like any form of exercise, the fact of the matter is, you should listen to your own body. What works for one person may cause serious problems for another. It’s not a competition — there’s absolutely no shame in choosing to walk when you see other people choosing to run. In fact, it may be better for your body in many cases. Either way, just clock that cardio — about 150 minutes per week is the recommended amount. Whether you walk, run or jog, just get moving and do whatever feels best!