Are you taking your cardio exercises seriously?
You may be torn between running and walking as your regular go-to aerobic exercise. While both physical activities can work wonders for your body, one provides better benefits than the other.
Running could help improve your health, but it can also increase your risk of injury. For this reason, some would ask, "Is walking healthier than running?" The answer lies in what Science found out about this cardio activity.
Find out why walking is better than running by reading these facts below.
The Benefits of Walking
Is walking healthy? Everyone knows that walking is a good cardio exercise. But there are several other benefits that you may not be aware of yet.
1. Offsets the Impact of Weigh-Promoting Genes
A group of researchers from Harvard School of Public Health led by Qibin Qi discovered that walking briskly for at least one hour per day can lessen the weight-promoting effects of several genes by as much as 50%.
Meanwhile, another study from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, found that walking burns fat more efficiently when done at the walker's preferred pace.
2. Helps Curb Sweet Tooth
A study from the University of Exeter revealed that taking a 15-minute walk can reduce sweet cravings by half.
Based on the study, workers dealing with highly stressful situations may eat fewer chocolates to take their minds off their troubles. It can also help in reducing their cravings for other sugary treats.
3. Improves Immune Function
Another study discovered that regular walking could protect you from coughs and colds, especially during the flu season.
According to a study that observed 1,000 adult respondents during the flu season, those who walked for at least 30 to 45 minutes daily recorded 43% fewer sick days than those who chose not to walk. So take advantage of your lunch break to boost your immune system.
4. Helps Soothe Joint Pains
Aside from walking to burn fat, this physical activity is believed to help reduce arthritis-related aches and discomforts. In addition, experts on arthritis care mentioned that walking is a reliable low-impact activity to help ease arthritis pain, swelling, and stiffness.
The experts also explained that walking is good for arthritis patients because it helps keep the joints flexible, improves bone health, and decreases the risk of osteoporosis. So start walking at the pace and distance to enjoy the benefits of walking if you live with severe joint pain.
5. Decreases the Risk of Having Breast Cancer
Health professionals always advocate for any type of physical activity to lower the risk of breast cancer. But according to a study from the American Cancer Society, women who walk seven hours or more per week reduce their risk of having breast cancer by 14%.
The organization also learned that all levels of walking, even those that fall under the recommended guidelines, can reduce a person's mortality risk. So aside from the thought that walking burns belly fat, it can also help prolong your life.
6. Saves the Heart
The Heart Foundation explained how walking helps your heart. According to the organization, walking daily for at least 30 minutes or more can reduce the occurrence of heart disease. It can also protect you from stroke by 35% and Type-2 Diabetes by as much as 40%.
Aside from improving your blood pressure, cholesterol, and energy levels, walking can also improve your mood and relieve stress. So if you want to make your heart healthy, walking should be part of your routine.
What Makes Walking Better than Running
Several things make walking stand out as the better cardio activity, including:
1. Less Injuries
The research discovered that walking significantly reduced the risk of injuries compared to runners of all ages and genders.
This study is backed by another report, claiming that half of the constant runners experience injuries like shin splints, patellofemoral knee pain syndrome, and Achilles tendonitis, among others. These injuries are less common for those who walk for exercise.
2. Running Triggers Overeating
While the link between running and overeating still needs further research, current studies claim that the duration of physical activity may affect eating habits.
According to experts, short, low-intensity physical activities like walking can control the volume of the food you eat. On the other hand, running for hours may encourage you to overcompensate for the calories you burn by eating more food during a meal. However, more studies are necessary to prove this claim.
3. Running During Hot Weather Can Lead to Heat Stroke
While it may be fun to run outdoors during the summer, you must always keep in mind to take it easy if you do not want to end up in a hospital. If you do this exhausting physical activity during summer, you will risk multiple organ problems.
While walking under the extreme sun's heat can also lead to heat stroke, it will not put your organs at risk. So pick a time for outdoor activities like walking to keep you fit during summer.
4. Walking Benefits Mental Health
While all physical activities like running help clear the mind and reduce stress levels, walking can be a better option if you want an immediate mental health boost.
According to a study from Stanford University, walking may enhance a person's creative output by as much as 60%. According to the researchers, this kind of creativity can be called "divergent thinking." The study also mentioned that walking triggers the continuous flow of ideas.
5. Walking is More Lasting and Sustainable
Runners may enjoy immediate results for every time and distance progress they accomplish. No wonder it is the preferred cardio activity of younger people. However, the hassles of dealing with an injury or disruptions from sudden weather changes may stop you from running.
Meanwhile, walking is more attainable because you can walk at any time, anywhere, and at any pace. As previously mentioned, it also lessens your risk of having an injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Consider Walking as an Exercise?
Walking is an excellent aerobic exercise and a great activity to regulate high blood pressure and body mass index. This exercise can also reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
When is the Best Time for Walking?
Early morning hours and right before the sun sets are the ideal hours to walk outdoors. The temperature outside is more forgiving during these hours.
But if you want to lose weight, walking in the morning without having your breakfast will help your body burn stored fats. Thus, it can help you trim your body faster.
How Long Should You Walk?
Walking at least 30 minutes a day is ideal for improving your health. However, you may also determine that you already have enough walking when puffing your breath but can still talk without difficulty.
Walking vs. Running: What Should You Choose?
While running can improve your health faster than walking, the injuries you may get from this physical activity may not be worth your effort. High intensity isn't always the best. And as you get older, you must think about sustainable exercises for your body. So choose a safer and equally beneficial cardio activity like walking to find your way to better health.