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Walking or Running: which is better for you?
Posted 5 October 2018
If you currently class yourself as a runner or a walker, you’re likely to be pretty happy in your camp. But if you’re thinking about picking up the pace or even slowing it down or you’re new to the habitual exercise scene, read on to discover the good, bad and the downright ugly from Dr Nathan Harten, Exercise Physiologist at iNform Health & Fitness.
|The Good||As a lower impact form of exercise, most people are capable of walking. Plus, a daily walk delivers many cardiovascular health benefits.||As a higher intensity form of exercise, running has been proven to offer greater fitness, weight loss and overall health benefits. This, of course, also means you don’t need to exercise for as long to stay fit.|
|The Bad||If your exercise goal is weight loss, you’ll need to do a lot of walking. Walking is a slow way to burn calories and won’t challenge your cardiovascular fitness levels as much as running will.||Running puts more pressure on your body, and you’ll need to have a certain level of strength and function to run well. To avoid the consequences of the repetitive impact, regular runners need to develop management techniques like stretching, massage, functional strength exercises and other cross training activities.|
|The Ugly||Each year, thousands of Australians are hobbled due to a walking-induced pain or an old exercise injury that has been aggravated by walking.||Chafing. Need we say more?|
Just starting out?
If you’re new to the world of regular exercise, walking is definitely the best way to start. Most people don’t realise they need to get their body fit to run—not the other way around. Dr Harten recommends beginning by determining the level of exercise you can comfortably do, “even if this is just a 20-minute walk around the shops. Then gradually build up to your workout goal by walking at least 5% further or faster each week.”
Pre-existing injuries or concerns?
If you have specific issues with any part of your body, Dr Harten says obtaining expert advice before hitting the walking or running track is important: “a suitably qualified professional like an exercise physiologist can help to identify your body’s weak or excessively tight areas and recommend the best form of exercise to suit your capabilities.”
Wanting to pick up the pace?
Dr Harten’s top tip is to listen to your body. Quite often less is more, so don’t push yourself through unusual pain or discomfort. However, he says it’s important to challenge yourself to the point where you feel some level of breathlessness or muscular fatigue—without this, your body can’t grow fitter and stronger.