First thing I need to say is that I am definitely in the brisk walking camp. I’ve tried running and I don’t think it is for me – also tricky with a double push chair and a dog in tow – with having to blow noses, picking up balls etc. But – not everyone is like me so I thought it would be good to look at the difference between the two. I’ve heard that walking is better for your knees – but is it really true? So I’ve scoured the internet for more information – and here it is.
Firstly I need to be clear about the difference between the two. Lots of people assume that walking is simply slow jogging. It’s not. You can walk briskly and still keep up with a jogger but the difference is in your feet – when jogging or running, both feet can leave the ground, with walking, one foot is touching the ground at all times. So as the heel of one foot begins to leave the ground, the toe of the other foot is touching it. This is important because it’s this aspect of walking that makes it low-impact compared to jogging or running, even when it’s done at high speed. Because your bodyweight is supported on whichever foot is touching the ground, there is no point where all your body weight is pushed down onto one leg with force (as is the case with jogging or running). Instead, your weight is more gently moved from one foot to the other, without a large impact.
Both are good for weight loss but research shows that joggers will shift weight more quickly than walkers, but if you’re trying to lose weight the speed of weight loss shouldn’t be your only consideration. Of course with jogging you are burning calories quicker so don’t need to go for as long (or lose the weight quicker if you put in the same amount of time as a walking counerpart). But studies have also shown that regular walkers turned out to be healthier than their running counterparts. Risk for hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease all dropped more significantly among walkers, compared with runners. There is also less wear and tear on your joints and less risk of injury.
Researchers collated data from more than 33,000 runners and 15,000 walkers and found that walkers enjoyed more health benefits. They found that heart disease was reduced by 9.3% in participants, but only by 4.5% in those who ran.
Whether you walk or jog, it’s important that you keep moving. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise—such as brisk walking—most days of the week, combined with a couple of days of strength training is the recommended dose. I wonder if lifting children counts as strength training…