Now that running is fashionable, we must not forget that walking also has many benefits. But, if we are to choose one of the two, what is best for us?
Without a doubt, it is the question that many of us ask ourselves: what is healthier, running or walking?
The answer, according to the few scientific studies that have analyzed this question, is that it depends on what aspect of health you want to take care of and depends on the physical state and preferences of each person. It is not the same an older person who is overweight looking to lose weight than a young woman who wants a good sports performance.
What has been found is that the cardiovascular and metabolic benefits in general (glycemic control, cholesterol, blood pressure,) of running and walking are similar if the distance traveled is the same, regardless of the time spent traveling it.
As an ideal exercise to achieve maximum cardiovascular benefit, it is recommended to walk at a good pace, for at least 45 minutes. Therefore, if walking is preferred than running, it should be done at a pace alive enough to exercise the cardiorespiratory system. In addition, walking eliminates the inconvenience of running, primarily the impact on the ankles and knees.
Walking has also been effective against insomnia. In the case of post-menopausal women, bone health improves. It helps to lose weight and, what is equally important, improves mood. But if the effects on mood are analyzed, running seems to be better than walking. Both exercises improve blood flow to the brain, favor intellectual performance, help preserve memory in older people and reduce the risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s.
However, intense and sustained physical activity, such as running, provides a feeling of psychological well-being (runner’s euphoria), due to the increase in endorphins, which cannot be achieved by walking.
In short, for those who prefer to walk, it is fine to walk. For those who prefer to run, it’s okay to run. Both are equally beneficial. And either is better than doing nothing.