When it comes to getting a good workout, runningand walking are two of the best options. But is a brisk walk really as good an exercise as a sweaty, heart-pounding run?
While most people assume that running offers the better workout, recent research reported by the American Heart Association finds that walking is just as good as running when it comes to lowering your risk for heart disease. During this study, researchers analyzed the health of some 48,000 runners and walkers mainly in their 40s and 50s. Surprisingly, they found that, mile for mile, brisk walkinglowers the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure as much as running does.
So, what’s the difference?
You'll have to spend more time walking than you do running to get the same health benefits simply because it takes longer to walk than to run the same distance. For instance, a 15-minute jog burns about the same number of calories as a half-hour brisk walk.
Keep in mind, though, that the chance of being injuredis greater in runners because running puts more stress on the body—on the joints in particular.
What’s the best option for you?
There is no doubt that walking and running are both great workouts that offer numerous health benefits. However, it can be difficult to know what the best fit is for you and your unique health needs. Here are 3 easy ways to spot the most effective workout for you:
You should reach your target heart rate. Your target heart rateis based on your age and health. This is the optimum heart rate for you to sustain while working out to gain the most benefit with the least risk.
Here's a simple way to determine your maximum and target heart rates: Subtract your age from 220 to figure out your maximum heart rate. For example, if you are 35, your maximum heart rate is 185 beats per minute. Your target heart rate is 50% to 85% of that number, or 93 beats to 157 beats per minute.
You should get sweaty. While more sweat doesn’t necessarily mean that you are burning more calories, it can be a good indication of workout intensity. When you exercise, your body naturally heats up and to maintain its core internal temperature, your body will begin cooling itself down. Sweating is one of the key ways your body does this.
You should feel your workout a few days later. After a workout, it can be a good sign if you have a little bit of muscle soreness. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the result of breaking down your muscles in order to build them back stronger than before. As you continue to get more and more in shape, you’ll need to gradually increase your workout plan so that it grows with your skill level.
We specialize in athletes of all shapes & sizes.
Whether you’re pushing for a personal best, starting a new exercise plan or recovering from a sports injury, GMC’s sports medicine specialists can help. At the Fitness & Performance Center, you will have access to a wide range of services including comprehensive fitness assessments and customized personal training all provided by an experienced team of experts.