Benefits Of Running vs. Walking

Many people run to reduce stress, boost energy levels, improve heart health, boost mood, and lose weight. But depending on what your personal goals are, running and walking both have their benefits.

Running

Research suggests that running may be best for weight loss1. People that run expend 2.5 times more energy than those that walk, whether that's at the beach or on a treadmill2. For example, a 160-pound person running 8 mph would burn over 800 calories per hour, compared to about 300 calories walking at 3.5 mph. A study found that runners lost more weight than walkers even when they expended equal amounts of energy (meaning walkers spent more time exercising)1.

Another benefit to running is that it can help regulate appetite hormones. One study suggests that people who walk eat more food than runners after working out3. Participants in the study were invited to an all-you-can-eat buffet. People who walked consumed about 50 calories more than they had burned and runners ate almost 200 calories fewer than they'd burned after exercising. Researchers think this may have to do with runners' increased levels of the hormone peptide YY, which may suppress appetite.

Walking

Aside from losing weight, walking has a ton of benefits. Regardless of whether you run or walk, the National Runners Health Study found that people who burned the same amount of calories saw many of the same health benefits4. Both saw a reduced risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and improved cardiovascular health. Running also puts more stress on your body and increases the risk for injuries like runner's knee, hamstring strains, and shin splints.

If you are not able to run, you can increase the intensity of your walking exercise by carrying weights or walking up an incline. According to one study, walking at a slow speed (1.7 mph) on a treadmill at a six-degree incline can help obese individuals manage their weight and help reduce the risk of injury to lower extremity joints6. Another interesting study found speed walkers had a decreased risk of mortality over their slower counterparts7.

Whether you choose to run or walk, each can have a great impact on your health. Listen to your body and do whatever you feel is best. Also, make sure to take a multivitamin daily to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to perform at its best.

References:
1. Greater weight loss from running than walking during a 6.2-yr prospective follow-up, 2013 Apr;45(4):706-13. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31827b0d0a
3. Influence of running and walking on hormonal regulators of appetite in women, 2012;2012:730409. doi: 10.1155/2012/730409. Epub 2012 Apr 29
4. Walking versus running for hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction, 2013 May;33(5):1085-91. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.300878. Epub 2013 Apr 4
6. Energetics and biomechanics of inclined treadmill walking in obese adults, 2011 Jul;43(7):1251-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182098a6c