Walking vs Running: Which Is Better for Your Fitness Routine?

When it comes to your fitness routine and your workouts, walking vs running is always a question in the air.

You want to enjoy the health benefits of being able to enjoy cardio exercise without being in the gym, so it naturally should come to you that walking vs running is the answer. 

However, which one do you choose? Which one is the better workout?

It’s a good way to get fit to exercise at a moderate intensity, but you don’t have to do a boot camp or be a part of a triathlon to make sure that your heart rate is ramped up and you are getting the benefits.

Both walking and running are great cardio options, you just have to know the nitty gritty. 

The beauty of walking and running is that you can enjoy exercise outdoors. You can do it by yourself, you can do it in a small group, you can learn the calories burned running versus walking, and you can even learn whether there is a difference between jogging versus walking if you’re not into being a runner.

It’s important that you compare and contrast the benefits and effects of running and walking, and in this article, that’s exactly what we’re going to do for you.

Benefits of Walking VS Running

We know that walking is a popular form of exercise compared to running because people regularly head out for a brisk walk before or after work.

But if you’re wondering whether walking or running is the better choice, then it’s important to understand it’s not a case of it being either or.

Your health is going to benefit from it either way, but running vs walking is always a question that somebody who wants to be outside getting their cardio is going to ask.

If you’re looking to improve your fitness and your health, then walking and running are both great choices. Walking regularly for 30 to 60 minutes every day can help you to enjoy the exact same health benefits as running without the additional pressure on your body.

The only drawback is that the pace of walking is slower, so it does take a little bit longer to get those same benefits. Whether you’re looking at power walking vs running is a completely different matter, because you can still push your body in a way that doesn’t see you running and puffing down the street.

Walking is something that everybody can do because it’s easy, cost free and flexible. As long as you have the ability to walk, you can pick yourself up and head out anytime of the day or the night.

You can choose to go as a dedicated exercise session or meet with a friend, or you can ditch the car on your commute and walk to work.

Walking is easy to do because you know you have to walk to get everywhere anyway compared with running, where you might need special clothing to wear and you might work up a sweat, and if you don’t have a shower at the other end of your destination, then it could be difficult.

Some of the benefits of walking include:

  • It’s lower impact, so your joints and bones are not put under as much stress as with running. This makes the risk of injury much lower when you walk compared to running.
  • If you’re new to exercising or you’re coming back to exercise after you’ve had a break, walking is going to help you to get back on track.
  • You would improve your strength and your heart function while ensuring that you improve your lung function and energy levels.

In comparison, if you want to improve your fitness and live longer, running is a great choice. The best part about being able to run regularly is that you can change your intensity from jogging to sprinting, or you can mix it up and do short bursts of both.

Some of the benefits of running include:

  • Raising your heart rate and circulation quickly.
  • You increase your metabolic rate, so you’ll keep burning those calories even after your run is finished.
  • A joke is going to help you just as much as a run. So when you’re looking at calories burned walking vs running, you’ll see the number go up.
  • The hit of endorphins that you get after going for a run is also going to keep your mood up and make you feel good, which can get you hooked on running in the first place.

Effects of Running VS Walking

Running is a great way to get in shape and help you to lose excess weight, but it’s going to be a high impact exercise which puts a lot more stress on your joints.

Stress fractures, shin splints, and ITB friction syndrome are all issues that runners have. Not everybody deals with these injuries as a runner, but you’re more likely to cop these injuries compared to if you decide to go for a brisk walk after work. 

Walkers only have an approximate 1 to 5% injury risk, but runners can actually increase their injury risk up to 70%. You can take steps to stay injury free, but walking can offer many of the same health benefits without the risk of injury.

Which is Better for Weight Loss: Walking or Running?

When it comes to discussing walking vs running for weight loss, you might consider the fact that speed walking and power walking are very different to regularly ambling down the road.

Power walking vs running, for example, allows you to raise your heart rate where you can still burn your calories without the risk of injury.

Power walking is usually something you do from three to five mph, but there are some power walkers that can reach speeds of up to 10 mph.

Power walking can also burn a similar number of calories as running, so if you consider your weight loss goals, you’re still going to hit them, albeit it may be a little bit slower.

To lose weight effectively, you could try pace training or walking with a weighted vest. Incline walking and hill walking or even hiking in your local area can also help you to elevate your walking experience without having to break into a run.

Either way, you have to remember that the result will be the same, one will just take longer than the other.

Calories Burned: Running VS Walking

Runners will expend almost the same number of calories per mile, but when they are maintaining speeds of between 5 and 9 mph.

Walkers also see very little difference in calories per mile at walking speeds between 2.5 and 4 mph.

They burn fewer calories per mile at slower speeds, but they do burn the same calories per mile as runners if they can go 5 mph.

This means that while you will burn higher numbers of calories while you’re running, it doesn’t mean you can’t burn just as many when you are walking.

Power Walking VS Running: Which is More Effective?

The biggest difference that you’ll find, depending on whether you choose to run or to power walk, is the intensity level.

We know that running is considered to be a very high intensity workout, especially as you go faster, but power walking is considered to be a much more moderate workout.

However, because the intensity allows you to have a greater risk of injury, running puts a lot more strain on your joints.

If you can get the same results with power walking, then it makes more sense to power walk.

Running can also be the more beneficial of the two when it comes to building your bones and your muscles, so choosing between these two kinds of workouts will really depend on what you’re hoping to achieve.

If you’re looking for a good warm up exercise, power walking is a great option because it makes it a good way to ease into running.It’s also a good thing to slip into when you are having a break between sets. 

Power walking will keep your heart rate going while you are having a break from a run and vice versa if you’re just looking to get some steps in however you really can’t go wrong with either workout.

Jogging VS Walking: The Pros and Cons

Whether you are choosing jogging or walking, you’ll be able to strengthen your heart and lungs and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Both jogging and walking can help you to also reduce your stress and decrease your blood pressure, and this is something that you would want to have in the background, especially if you’re looking to boost your mood and support a healthier weight. 

The benefits of jogging vs walking overlap. However, because jogging is typically more challenging as a workout, it’s often considered the better option.

Because it’s a higher impact form of exercise compared to walking, and it’s more demanding on the muscles when it comes to jogging versus walking.

Jogging is often the choice that people make when they want to get results faster.

Comparing the Calorie Burn: Running VS Walking

Mentioned earlier, it does make sense that runners will burn more calories than walkers do. All the sweating and the puffing and half the count for something, especially if you’re not a big fan of running in the first place.

When we look at the science of calorie burn, however, there is a difference in the calories burned per mile or kilometer for walking compared with running.

It’s not a particularly large difference though, and there is not much of a difference at higher walking speed.

So if you’re not a fan of running, you could always switch to power walking and still get the same benefits.

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