Physical activity and fitness are important parts of our life. They contribute towards many bodily functions and provide a number health benefits as well. Exercising regulates your body and helps in maintaining good skin health. When paired up with a healthy diet, working out can play a vital role in determining your lifestyle and health. One has to quit on the unhealthy munching and get out of the house in order to stay fit. There are many physical activities that can help you out, such as walking, swimming and running. There has always been a comparison between walking, jogging and running, as to which one is the best for your goals. Well, walking and running are both great forms of exercise, especially for weight loss and good heart health. The benefits and disadvantages may vary from person to person on the basis of their goals, health and level of fitness.
Both physical activities allow a person to burn calories, lose weight, and reduce the risk of heart disease. However, the debatable question is, 'Which one is better?'. The health benefits of walking and running are almost the same. However, it is obvious that running burns a larger number of calories than walking, as it requires more effort and movement. You need to burn around 3500 calories to lose one pound. At times, walking and running can be chosen completely as per your choice, without weighing the pros and cons. Both are accessible for mostly all fitness levels. They can improve heart health, boost energy and even enhance your mood. Read on to know which one is better between running and walking.
Benefits and risks
The main benefits of both running and walking are:
1. Boosts energy
Both walking and running have the ability to enhance your muscle strength, energy and stamina. By boosting the stamina and energy, it makes you more active through out the day. Specifically running provides oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your heart work more efficiently than normal. When your heart and lung function improves, it adds more energy in your body that is important for performing day to day tasks. Boosting your energy is important to complete daily chores and to stay active during daytime.
2. Helps in losing weight
Another benefit of walking and running is that it can help in losing weight and in avoiding excess weight gain too. Physical activity plays a major role in maintaining an optimum weight and your weight loss regime. When you walk, or specifically run, you can burn calories. The more intense the exercises are, the more calories you will burn. You should be consistent with your running schedule in order to lose significant amount of weight. And, any amount of exercise is better than doing nothing at all.
3. Enhances mood
Walking and running can enhance your mood quickly. Whenever you are feeling low, it is good to go out for a run. This helps in freshening up your brain and relaxing your mood. In fact, it also stimulates many chemicals in our brain that can make you feel happier, relaxed and a little less anxious. Whenever we engage in physical activities, our brain produces endorphins which suppresses our perception of pain. Some people even feel better about themselves and their look, if they walk or run everyday, which thus boosts confidence and self-esteem.
4. Good for skin
Our skin can get majorly affected due to the buildup of oxidative stress in our body. This usually happens when the body’s antioxidant defenses cannot completely repair the damage that free radicals cause to cells. We have many free radicals in our body because of the food we eat or due to medications. Free radicals damage our internal structures and deteriorate our skin. Even though intense and exhaustive physical activity can contribute to oxidative damage, running and walking can also increase our naturally produced antioxidants, which helps us in protecting our cells and improving the skin.
5. Improves heart health
Cardiovascular health is one of the major benefits of running as well as walking. Running reduces the risk of high cholesterol and diabetes, thus helping in maintaining good heart health. Physical activities can lower the risk of heart disease significantly. With each and every step, walking benefits your heart health. Strengthening of your heart is important for the overall functioning of the body. Running and walking help in managing blood pressure, cholesterol and energy levels.
Walking offers many of the health benefits as running but without the same risks of fractures or any injury. It is a much less intense activity that does not leave a huge impact on your body. However, running is a high impact exercise and is not exactly that easy like normal walking. Over time, running can lead to some injuries such as:
If you run everyday, you do that to maintain health, weight and stay injury free. Do not increase your speed too quickly and try to walk in between atleast twice or thrice a week, to maintain a less risky exercising pattern. Stress fractures in the foot or leg is a common problem with runners. These can be caused due to too much force and pressure on the bone. Taking up any sport might seem easy but you have to take care of your mileage before your body gives up. Therefore, it is suggested to take proper breaks and don't just crank up your body if it is not able to handle running immediately.
2. Shin splints
Shin splints can occur because of excess physical activity or a sudden increase in training. In most cases, the activity is high impact and repetitive exercise of your lower legs, like running. Due to this reason, runners, dancers, and gymnasts usually get shin splints. Continuing to run with shin splints is not at all a wise choice. Continuing the exercise that caused the painful shin splints will only lead to more pain and damage, that can also result in stress fractures. You should either not run for a while or atleast reduce the training intensity than usual.
3. ITB friction syndrome
Long distance running is one of the common causes of ITBS. The inflammation of iliotibial band can happen due to running on slightly banked ground, as the subtle drop of the outside of the foot stretches the ITB, putting you at a huge risk of injury. Sudden increase in training levels can also lead to ITBS. Continuing to run with iliotibial band syndrome is not advised as it can lead to tissue damage and can make your symptoms severe in the short-term by irritation on the already inflamed fat pad.
Walking Vs Running: Which one is better?
Walking and running can be compared on the basis of your goal. If you want to lose weight, then running might be the best for you. Running can help in burning more calories with a lot of movement and effort, when compared to walking. On the other hand, walking can be done by everyone, including middle aged and elderly people. But, many people cannot run due to several medical conditions or even ageing. Also, if you are a beginner in exercising, then also it is a wise choice to start with brisk walking or jogging. Do not jump to running straight away. Both running and walking provide a lot of benefits and are excellent forms of physical exercise. No matter which form of exercise a person chooses, they will get positive results if done with consistency.
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