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Why Walking is Better Than Running When it Comes to Your Health

For some medical experts, the slow gentle approach to health is better than the vigorous strain of a hardcore workout session. This is why they recommend walking over running for overall general health and increasing longevity.

This opinion is based on evidence found in scientific research. For example one study suggests that people who run faster than 7 miles per hour on most days of the week are at the same level of risk from death as couch potatoes that don’t exercise at all. Yet another study showed how people who run more than 25 miles per week have no benefits in terms of evading mortality in comparison to non- runners.

What these findings seem to imply is that movements at a gentler pace, such as those performed while waking or slowly jogging, for about 1 to 2.5 hours each week lowers risk of death by 25 percent.

From a medical perspective, humans aren’t meant to put their bodies under intense level of strain for long periods of time. After an hour of high impact physical activity, like running, the heart’s chambers start to stretch and distort, making the muscle’s that move the heart less able to adapt to the changes. This sort of exercise also encourages higher levels of free radicals, adrenaline, and inflammation in the coronary arteries. Vigorous training that goes on for years can make permanent changes in the structure of the heart that can develop into serious problems later in life. 

This is because of the increased blood flow during intense workouts, which can make micro tears in the heart’s tissues. These tiny tears aren’t anything to be concerned about if they occur only once in awhile. But if it becomes a daily occurrence over many years, stiffness and scarring can take place within the heart and this leads to accelerated aging, heart failure, and arterial fibrillation. 

Beyond the problems with the heart, running is also hard on the immune system. When running is prolonged for long periods of time certain proteins associated with inflammation are developed in the body and they can make it easier for viruses to enter the system and make the body sick. With more frequent illnesses the body is strained even more than it needs to be.

One of the biggest motivations for heavy workouts like running is to loose weight. However, research shows that significant weight loss is rarely achieved by exercising. Diet is the main factor when shedding pounds.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of torbakhopper

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