7 Ways Walking is Better Than Running
If you prefer walking to running, you may be wondering how the two exercises compare. Clearly, in most cases, you'll cover more distance, burn more calories, and work your muscles more in the same amount of time if you go faster. High-intensity exercise, like running, also makes you fitter.
But brisk walking is an excellent moderate-intensity exercise for reducing health risks, building fitness, and assisting in weight loss. Even slower-paced walking to get in your 30 minutes of cardio each day has many benefits.
The bottom line is that both walking and running are excellent ways to get fit. However, walking has distinct advantages that may make it more appealing or appropriate for some people. Learn the various ways walking can actually be better than running below.
Walking produces far fewer injuries than running—the least injuries of any aerobic exercise. It has long been suspected that running injuries, as well as stress from long runs such as marathons, may lead to changes that can result in osteoarthritis, especially in the knees. Researchers note that up to half of all runners are affected by running injuries each year, which could lead to lasting damage.
Runners impact the ground with three times their body weight with each step, while walking produces an impact only 1.5 times your body weight. This is especially important if you are overweight or already have developed joint problems.
As a lower-impact exercise, walking may cause you to feel less fatigue compared with running. Walking also produces less wear and tear on your body. Yet walking is still is a weight-bearing exercise that may prevent bone loss.
Accessible and Sustainable
There are many high-intensity activities—such as running, jumping rope, plyometrics, or bootcamp workouts—that are known to burn substantial calories in a short period of time. But not everyone can sustain these activities for long enough to make a meaningful impact.
Walking, on the other hand, is usually sustainable for longer durations. For example, someone who is not comfortable running for more than five or 10 minutes may be able to sustain a brisk walking pace for 30 to 45 minutes and burn more calories in the process.
Furthermore, if walking is more comfortable, you are more likely to maintain a regular practice. The bottom line is that you may be able to burn more calories with a consistent, sustainable practice of walking than you do with sporadic, brief episodes of higher-intensity exercise.
Enjoyable, Social, and Stress-Reducing
Walkers can slow down, enjoy a view, explore a trail, duck into a shop, or stop for a snack. Runners often just jog on by, intent on getting in their time. This advantage of walking has been shown by research to have health benefits. Walking in natural settings such as a park can help relieve stress and rumination. You can take a stress-relief walk anytime.
Additionally, walking doubles as a fun social activity that almost anyone can enjoy. It's not so strenuous that it interferes with your ability to talk, so walking is perfect for getting in some exercise while also having in-depth conversations with friends and family.
In many climates, you can walk during lunch without needing to shower afterward, while a running workout will require one. You will also be less likely to get heat sickness during hot weather if you walk rather than run, although you must still take precautions to prevent overheating.
No Prep or Special Clothes
Runners have to put on their running clothes, while walkers can often walk in whatever they happen to be wearing, perhaps with just a switch to comfy shoes. While you may want to wear athletic clothing for a walking workout on the treadmill, you can also take a healthy, brisk stroll without gearing up.
You can walk to work or do your daily errands on foot while wearing comfortable shoes or sandals. Doing so will help reduce long sitting times that can lead to increased health risks.
Walkers don't need special clothes or have to wait to get moving until they have time to hit the gym.
Walkers Never Hit the Wall
Long-distance runners face hitting the wall—burning out all available fuel and experiencing extreme fatigue. Walkers generally do not hit the wall on a long walk because they rely on aerobic energy sources. Walkers can refuel as they go, and their bodies have the time it takes to digest and use the fuel.