Running and walking are two of the most popular forms of physical activity, each offering a range of benefits. Whether you’re lacing up your trainers for a brisk walk or a vigorous run, both activities can significantly contribute to your overall health and well-being.

However, when it comes to deciding which is more beneficial, running tends to have the upper hand in several key areas.


Lifespan and Longevity

One of the most compelling advantages of running is its potential to increase lifespan. Studies have shown that running can add years to your life by reducing the risk of many chronic diseases and enhancing cardiovascular health. Regular runners often enjoy better heart health, which translates into a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death worldwide.


Cardiovascular Fitness

Running is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular fitness. It elevates your heart rate more significantly than walking, which helps to strengthen the heart muscle and improve circulation. Enhanced cardiovascular health can lead to better endurance and overall physical performance. This was particularly true in my case. Diagnosed with heart disease in 2017, I knew I needed to make significant lifestyle changes to improve my heart health. Running became my choice of exercise, and since my first race in 2018, I have experienced a remarkable improvement in my cardiovascular fitness.


Regular running has helped me keep my blood pressure low and improve my cholesterol levels, which have been crucial in managing my heart disease. My running improves my physical fitness but also gives me a sense of achievement and confidence. I’m now aged 60 but still improving my race times, proving that it’s never too late to make positive changes.


Caloric Burn and Weight Management

When it comes to burning calories, running is far more effective than walking. While walking is a great low-impact exercise, running burns more calories in a shorter amount of time, which can be particularly beneficial for those looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy body composition. Incorporating a run/walk method, where you alternate between running and walking, can also maximise calorie burn and keep your workouts varied and interesting.


Sleep Quality

Running has been shown to improve sleep quality significantly. The physical exertion helps to regulate sleep patterns, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Better sleep contributes to improved overall health, including mental clarity, mood regulation, and immune function.


Disease Prevention

Running can reduce the risk of several diseases, including type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and osteoporosis. It helps to regulate blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity, which are key factors in preventing diabetes. The high-impact nature of running also stimulates bone density, helping to protect against osteoporosis and fractures. Additionally, running has been linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer, likely due to its role in reducing inflammation and boosting the immune system.


Mental Health Benefits

Running is not just beneficial for physical health; it also offers significant mental health advantages. Regular running can help combat anxiety, depression, and stress by releasing endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Many runners experience what is known as a “runner’s high,” a feeling of euphoria and reduced anxiety following a run. This can lead to an overall sense of calmness, happiness, and well-being.


Walking: The Accessible Alternative

While running offers numerous benefits, walking should not be overlooked. It is more accessible and suitable for a wider range of individuals, especially those who may be new to exercise or have certain health conditions that prevent them from running. Walking is a fantastic low-impact option that still provides substantial health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, better mood, and enhanced mobility. It is also easier on the joints, making it a safer choice for people with arthritis or other joint issues.



Ultimately, whether you choose to run or walk depends on your individual preferences, fitness goals, and physical capabilities. Running offers a more intense workout with a greater range of benefits, particularly for those looking to improve cardiovascular fitness, manage weight, and boost mental health. However, walking is a highly beneficial exercise that provides many of the same health advantages in a more accessible and low-impact format. Both activities contribute to a healthier, more active lifestyle and can help you achieve your fitness goals. So, put on your trainers and get moving – whether you walk or run, your body will thank you for it.


Copyright © 2024 Jonathan Pollinger | Run Racer Run

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