Running vs. Walking Which is best?

Running vs. Walking Which is best?

I have always been of the opinion that power walking is better than running due to the lower risk of injury. When we run the amount of force placed on the foot is 3 to 4 times our body weight. Whereas, when we walk we place 1 to 1 ½ times our body weight on our foot. By placing less force on our extremities the risk of damage to the feet, knees, hips and back is dramatically reduced. L.H. Colbert, led a study published in the October 2000 Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, that found the risk of injury from walking was significantly less than running.

The question always is which burns more calories? The answer is dependent on time and distance. You can burn the same amount of calories walking as you do running but it will take you longer and you will have to go a further distance.

So which is better for you? A study was recently published online in the journal of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, by Dr. Paul Williams and Dr. Paul Thompson found that over a six year period both running and walking led to similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, and perhaps even heart disease. The study collected data from the National Runners’ Health Study and the National Walkers’ Health Study. More than 33,000 runners and nearly 16,000 walkers were involved.

Williams and Thompson found that

  • Running reduced the risk of high blood pressure 4.2 percent and walking reduced the risk 7.2 percent.
  • Running reduced the risk for high cholesterol 4.3 percent and walking lowered the risk 7 percent.
  • Running lowered the risk for diabetes 12.1 percent and walking reduced the risk 12.3 percent.
  • Running decreased the risk of heart disease 4.5 percent and walking reduced the risk 9.3 percent.

In my experience I have found that runners have a greater risk of sustaining injuries due to the high impact involved with the activity. Due to the low pack involved with walking there is less strain placed on the lower extremity. In either case proper warm up and cool down is essential to prevent injury. The type of terrain you exercise on is also critical. Most walking injuries that I see are a result of walking on a treadmill on the highest incline for extended periods of time. Proper shoe gear is also important when exercising. Remember that the average sneakers life expectance is 6 month or 500 miles.

For more information on prevention of injuries when exercising see my video on:

How to prevent toe cramps from running –

How to avoid injuries from running –

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