Physical activity is extremely important to positive health and well-being for several reasons.
Medical professionals consider it to be both a secondary and a primary method of disease prevention(1).
Engaging in physical activity at least a couple of times each week can prevent individuals from developing cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and even cancer.
Implementing an exercise regimen can assist in correcting and/or preventing hypertension and hyperlipidemia as well as generalized anxiety.
It can increase energy levels and improve mood not to mention help patients maintain a healthy weight.
Furthermore, implementing a physical activity routine into childhood can be extremely beneficial as most chronic disorders start then and only escalate with age, if ignored.
1. Excessive Pushing Reduces Gain
A study was conducted in Denmark to discover whether jogging reduced mortality rates (2).
The study found that “light and moderate joggers have lower mortality than sedentary non-joggers, whereas strenuous joggers have a mortality rate not statistically different from that of the sedentary group.”
Bottom line: If you lead a sedentary lifestyle walking or light jogging is a lot better for you than high intensity running.
2. It’s Not How Hard You Move But For How Long
Another interesting fact is studies show that while participating in physical activity does reduce risks of cardiovascular issues, this is effective only, if the amount of sedentary time is reduced as well (3).
So no matter how much you run or how intense you do it, if you keep spending the same amount sitting every day, you won’t fully benefit from it.
Another study found that “equivalent energy expenditures by moderate (walking) and vigorous (running) exercise produced similar risk reductions for hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus, and possibly CHD.” (4).
For instance, let’s say it takes you 10 minutes of vigorous running to burn 100 calories and 30 minutes of moderate walking to burn the same amount. As long as the energy expenditure is the same, you will see similar health benefits.
Bottom line: While walking will take more time to burn off the same amount you would during a run, both offer the same health benefits for the same amount of energy used.
The biggest difference between the two is that moderate walking is something you can easily do every day while vigorous running requires resting days in between and is mentally more demanding.
3. Better For Your Eyes
The Life Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA completed a study that revealed when walkers and runners expend the same amount of energy both decrease the risks of developing cataracts equally (6).
Bottom line: Walking is just as good as running when it comes to reducing your risks of developing cataracts.
4. Too Much Is Bad For Your Heart
Excessive and intense exercise can actually do more harm than good. This is one of the most common reasons that medical professionals recommend walking as opposed to running.
Excessive endurance training can cause adverse cardiac remodeling and arterial fibrosis, or thickening (7).
It can also induce ventricular arrhythmias all of which dramatically increases risks to cardiovascular health. There are currently numerous studies being conducted to determine the correct dosage of exercise for various individuals.
Bottom line: If you live a sedentary lifestyle and are just beginning to exercise then you’ll get safer and better results walking than running. Read more about how high intensity cardio can damage your heart here.
Walking Is Safer And Just As Effective As Running
Walking offers great exercise, stress reduction, disease prevention, and improved cardiovascular health without the added risks that may accompany running.
The Department of General Practice at Queen’s University published a study finding that individuals age 50 to 65 who took brisk walks 5 days a week benefitted from a reduced risk of heart related issues as well as from simply becoming more fit. These walks were completed through a program which was home-based and sessions were 30 minutes long (8).
Professionals recommend raising your walking levels gradually and should set a minimum goal of around 150 minutes weekly (9).
Beginner Walking Program