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When it comes to cardio, we’ve all done the searches for the best exercises for our goals and bodies. It seems that most fitness professionals recommend walking or running at least 1.6 kilometres per day. But what are the differences between walking and running for the same distance?
The positives and negatives of walking vs running for the same distance can be narrowed down to a few categories. These include the calories burned, toll on joint health, effect on heart health, and overall personal preference. However, there are still clears times where one is better than the other.
Calories burned while walking vs running for the same distance
Running burns more calories than walking, even if you are travelling the same distance. This is because you increase your heart rate more when you run, forcing your body to exert more energy, and ultimately burning more calories. For example, walking the recommended 1.6 kilometres a day will burn roughly 60 calories. But running 1.6 kilometres will burn around 100-120 calories.
If your goal is to lose weight, taking up running will be very beneficial to you since you will burn calories quicker. But you need to be more conscious of your exercising routine when you run. You should run often enough to burn the desired number of calories, but not so often that you risk damaging your heart or joints. This is because over-exercising can be very damaging to your health and wellbeing.
Is walking or running better for your heart?
Studies show that walking and running both play an equal role in your heart health. Both forms of cardio reduce blood pressure, strengthen the heart wall, and reduce cholesterol. So, doing either of these forms of cardio will lead to improved heart health.
That being said, several studies have also shown that walking is the more sustainable option for heart health because people would rather walk than run! It isn’t necessarily better or worse than running. But walking is often the more accessible and stable form of cardio. This ultimately leads to better heart health over time as people stick with it for longer periods of time. This can be because it’s easier to plan how many days a week you should walk. You can walk to different places such as work. Running to work a lot of the time isn’t as appealing to people.
As we mentioned before, over-exercising is bad for your health, especially your heart, and running can often lead to over-exercising. Those who do find the motivation to take up running can sometimes get carried away. It’s important to track your exercise and not push yourself too far to preserve your heart health. There is much less risk of this if you decide to take up walking instead.
What is the effect on joint health when running vs walking?
Running has a bigger impact on your joint health compared to walking because it is a much more intense form of cardio. The physical impact of your feet hitting the ground play a vital role in the health of your lower joints. Your hips, knees and ankles are often subjected to compression when you run. This can lead to aches and pains that may worsen over time. But if you’re careful not to push yourself too hard, exercises such as a 2km run can be worth it!
Walking, on the other hand, does not lead to these effects on the body unless you walk extreme lengths without enough breaks. Walking is much less forceful on your joints and most people who walk healthy amounts don’t experience joint damage.
When is walking better than running?
Health professionals often recommend starting a healthy lifestyle journey by walking instead of running. Walking is better for people looking to improve their overall health and increase their cardiovascular stamina slowly. It isn’t as intense as running which makes it a more comfortable and appealing exercise.
Walking is also often better for people who have significant health concerns or who are prone to joint problems. For example, someone with a heart condition that needs to keep their heart rate down would benefit more from walking daily than running. Someone with a genetic predisposition to arthritis would also benefit from walking instead of running as their joints are more susceptible to pain and damage.
When is running better than walking?
Running is better than walking if your goal is to lose weight and quickly build your cardiovascular stamina. Maybe your goal is to lose a considerable amount of weight over the course of 6 months. You would benefit greatly from incorporating running into your exercise routine a few days per week. Running can also drastically decrease the risk of heart disease, provided that you are taking care of your body and not overexerting yourself.
It is also important to note that running is not the driving factor in your weight loss. You need to maintain a regular exercise routine and a well-balanced diet. But if weight loss is your ultimate goal, running will most likely be more beneficial to you than walking.
Does speed matter when running vs walking the same distance?
Speed does matter when you are walking and running the same distance. It can change depending on your goal for the outcome of the exercise. If you are running at a speed of 8kmph and you run 8 kilometres, you’ll burn around 600 calories. Now if you run those same 8 kilometres, at 12kmph, you’d burn closer to 900 or so calories. The same concept applies to how fast you are walking as there are varying speeds for that as well.
Speed will also play a factor in how quickly you see a change in your overall cardiovascular health. Running at a faster speed will lead to you getting tired faster, but you will likely build up your cardiovascular strength quicker as well. There also are other reasons why you feel tired during your exercise, including nutrition.
If you start walking the same distance as running, you will eventually reach the same cardiovascular strength, but it will take longer.
How far do I have to walk to equal running?
The general rule of thumb is that 1.6 kilometres of walking = 0.8 kilometres running pending speed. This means that running produces faster results of some kind than walking. For example, 1.6 kilometres of walking burns roughly 60 calories, while running often burns 100 or more. The same concept applies to cardiovascular stamina and joint health. To achieve the same health benefits of running, you would need to walk twice the distance in most cases!
When deciding whether you should walk or run a certain distance, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Remember that running will always burn more calories than walking when applied to the same distance. But the impact on your joints is also increased when you run vs when you walk. There are pros and cons to both forms of cardio, but the decision is ultimately yours! The ‘better’ choice depends on your personal ability and fitness goals.
If you’re looking for fun ways to exercise, have you considered how video games could help you lose weight? Is ghee a healthier option for your balanced diet? Vidar Australia offers even more health and lifestyle tips and advice through our informative blogs. We also stock P2 and KN95 masks and hand sanitiser to keep yourself safe and extra healthy!