Tortoise and Hare Fitness: Is Walking as Good as Running?

Walking Slowly Towards More Manageable DiabetesIf you know anything about wellness, you’ll know that getting regular exercise is important. Physical exercise helps you to keep fit, control your weight and guard your wellbeing against health problems like high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes. However, does that mean you have to join a gym or start marathon training – or is it possible to get the same fitness benefits from walking?

Researchers wanted to answer this very question, and so investigated the questionnaire responses of 33,060 regular runners and 15,045 regular walkers who were all taking part in studies about the benefits of these activities on health. The respondents reported how far they ran or walked, and the investigators then used this information to calculate how many calories this enabled the runners and walkers to burn off. The researchers also worked out the runners and walkers chances of developing health problems that can cause heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

The results of the study showed that using the same amount of energy in walking and running reduces your chances of getting health problems that can cause heart disease, when compared with people who do no exercise, and there was little difference seen between the benefits of either activity. Though the extensive size of the study makes the results more reliable, the research is limited by its reliance on people accurately judging the distance they ran or walked. The researchers also lacked information on the respondents’ diet, which plays a huge role in health outcomes, as well as other lifestyle factors which health enthusiasts, who tend to be involved in studies such as this, may implement.

So what does this mean for you? As long as you use the same amount of energy or calories, the researchers assert that moderate exercise such as walking can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes as much as vigorous exercise can. The UK Department of Health recommends you get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week, which includes activities such as brisk walking, swimming, and cycling.

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