Is it Better to Walk or to Run?

31st March 2019
Physical exercise has many variables, which adapt perfectly to the preferences and needs of those who practice them. Do you like running more than walking?

Many professional and amateur athletes wonder if it’s better to walk or to run? If you also have this concern, we recommend that you read the following article, where we’ll tell you more about it.

To walk or to run? That is the question

This running trend has caught on and it seems like it gains more followers all of the time. However, it isn’t an activity for people who aren’t in the best physical condition or for those who suffer from certain diseases.

As there are millions of people who want to improve their health status through exercise or, in many cases, by nutrition, it’s good to know what discipline or activity is best suited for each case.

Some say that running is better because it burns more calories or makes us perspire more. Others say that walking is more entertaining and anyone can do it. So, is it better to walk or to run?

Pros and cons of each sport

Running

When trying to compare both activities, we realize that they’re totally different. Each one certainly has its benefits and contraindications.

Let’s start with the advantages of running: it’s a particularly intense physical activity; it improves heart rate, strengthens the immune system, helps lose weight, and works out all the body’s muscles, not just the legs.

To be able to enjoy all of these benefits, it’s preferable to run outdoors and not on the gym’s treadmill. Therefore, it’ll be convenient to warm up well in winter and to protect ourselves from the heat and the sun during summer.

On the other hand, it’s important to note that running requires us to be in a certain physical condition. This means that we need to have experience in training or staying active. Additionally, compared to walking, running increases the possibility of injuries to our knees, feet, or heels.

People suffering from certain diseases, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, should carry out a lighter routine and always under medical supervision.

Running can strengthen our immune system.

Walking

Now, let’s talk about the second activity in question: walking. People usually think that this is intended for the elderly or for obese individuals. Moreover, it’s often said that it doesn’t provide as many benefits as running, which is erroneous.

Nonetheless, all this isn’t true. By taking a walk at least three times a week, we receive the following advantages and more:

  • Reduces cholesterol.
  • Controls diabetes.
  • Balances blood pressure.
  • Improves cardiac health.
  • Strengthens the immune system.

In the case of overweight people, walking is the first recommended activity when they consult a doctor. Once they lose a certain amount of weight, they can increase the intensity of the exercise.

Walking is the starting point to immersing ourselves in the wonderful world of sports, even for those who have always been sedentary. This way, they’ll be able to add more complexity to the routine one step at a time.

For example, they can progress to Nordic walking with poles, jogging on a mountain, etc. After reviewing the results they obtain, they won’t want to go back to the life they had before.

As for the disadvantages of walking, perhaps we could say that it’s a light activity and that not everyone likes it; mainly people who are used to a certain degree of intensity in their daily routines. Additionally, some people think it’s boring to see the landscape go by slowly or that it takes to long to go around the block.

Walking can help balance your blood pressure.

Conclusion: is it better to walk or to run?

Considering everything, we can’t say which is better because it all depends on several factors. For some, running will remain the best option in terms of exercise; for others, walking is something that changed their lives in a way they never imagined.

In reality, the answer to the initial question has more to do with the preference, age, expectations, and objectives that each person has. Neither discipline is better or worse than the other, they are simply different.

If you want to have more resistance, run; to deal with obesity, start walking. In case your goal is to have well-formed muscles, run; if you want to spend some time enjoying a park, then opt for a light walk.

In any case, the important thing is to do a physical activity that you enjoy, provides benefits, and isn’t a burden or an obligation. Enjoying exercise is possible if we find what we love!

  • Segers, V., Aerts, P., Lenoir, M., & De Clercq, D. (2006). Spatiotemporal characteristics of the walk-to-run and run-to-walk transition when gradually changing speed. Gait and Posture. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2005.09.006