Walking Vs. running

Which exercise is right for you?

Running and walking are both great ways to keep fit and stay in shape. But does one suits your needs better than the other? And if so, which is right for you?


Many women love to run as it can bring such a great feeling of achievement and the endorphin rush can be quite addictive. According to running trainer, Karen Muller, “Running is one of the most effective ways of burning fat and losing excess weight. It improves cardiovascular fitness, reduces bone and muscle loss as we age and makes us feel great as a result of the endorphin boost.
Start off with a mixture of running and walking for 20-30mins (run 5mins/walk 5mins) then gradually reduce the walking time until you can run continuously for 20-30mins.” Karen recommends people who have been leading a sedentary lifestyle get checked out by a medical professional before embarking on a running programme to determine any risk factors. She also suggests a running technique assessment for those who are new to running, those who find running uncomfortable or those prone to injury when running. “A few changes to the way you run can greatly reduce the chance of becoming injured and make running a lot more enjoyable.”


If, like many, the idea of pounding the pavements or sprinting up grassy hills fills you with dread, fear not. There is a gentler way! Health bodies around the world advise that if we walk 10,000 steps a day (that's around 8km) we reap the benefits in terms of a healthy cardiovascular system and reduced body fat.  Walking is a great option for absolutely everybody. It’s one of the simplest, cheapest and gentlest ways to exercises and done regularly, can increase cardiovascular fitness, thus improving the condition of the heart and lungs as well as working the muscles of the lower body. And, because it's a weight-bearing activity, it can improve bone density. Plus, it’s low impact, meaning that the joints and bones are put under minimal stress. "There's going to be much less injury associated with a low impact exercise such as walking, and that's why we can advocate walking for a lot of people, especially if they're overweight or have a cardiovascular condition, they're still going to get a lot of benefits from a brisk walk," says Dr Gordon Lynch, Professor at the University of Melbourne's department of physiology.

Which is right for you?

"It is often said that you need to learn to walk before you run,” says Dean Rhodes of Bodyzone Physiotherapy. “When deciding on an appropriate exercise regime most people could benefit from following this advice. Walking stresses your joints considerably less than running and many people find it easier to incorporate a regular walking regime into their lives, than other forms of exercise. If you have a history of lower limb joint injuries then you may benefit more from a brisk walking programme than from running.” If weight loss is your goal, research shows that a brisk walk gives similar results to a gentle jog over the same distant.
Running at a fast pace however, burns more calories. Dean also suggests that your build could help determine your best choice. “As individuals we each have different builds. Some of us have the genetic structure to perform well as a front row forward, while others are better suited to ballet. Running is a great choice of exercise for a person with finer bone structure and a lighter build. Conversely, if you have a heavier build then you would probably be better to follow a walking or interval training programme.” The impact of running on your joints can be more than three times your body weight, with every step being triple the impact of walking, so it’s important to train your body to get used to the jarring. And a decent pair of walking or running shoes is a must.
If you love your daily walk, why not try bushwalking? Learn how to exercise for your decade, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more exercise hints and tips.

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