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How to Choose Between Walking and Running

By Sandy Schroeder

Strong bones, less weight and a healthier heart are all more likely if we walk or run daily, but which should we choose?

The Washington Post explored this question to help us choose the one that’s right for us. For starters, if you run you should try for 75 to 150 minutes per week. If you walk, the suggested minimum is 150 to 300 minutes.

Here are some more contrasts to consider along with your current fitness and targets. As always, when you start a new exercise regimen get your doctor’s approval.

Running Burns More Calories

Thirty minutes of walking burns 156 calories and running burns 356 calories for a 160-pound man. Either way, researchers say a lower calorie diet has to be linked to exercise to successfully drop pounds.

Walking Wins Heart Health

The cardiovascular risk for heart trouble was 9 percent lower for walkers than those who were inactive, according to the National Runners’ and National Walkers’ Health Studies. The runners’ risk for heart disease was 4.5 percent lower.

Walking with Running Reduces Belly Fat

To actually reduce visceral fat that encircles vital organs such as the pancreas and liver, health experts say we should mix short high intensity sprints with walking or jogging. As you target the dangerous abdominal fat that increases triglycerides and insulin resistance, short running sprints may be an excellent way to make the transition from walking to running.

Running Helps Joints More

People who ran slightly more than a mile a day had a 15 percent lower risk of arthritis and a 35 percent lower risk of hip replacement than walkers, according to a 2013 National Runners’ Health Study. Researchers believe there are fewer joint issues in runners because most of them weigh less than walkers, which means there is less stress on the joints, even though running delivers a greater impact. Other research indicates runners and non-runners had about the same rate of osteoarthritis in the knees.

So Which Should You Do?

That call depends on you and your doctor’s suggestions. One important note: Running is often blamed for more injuries, but many of those incidents may happen when we plunge in and try to do too much too quickly.

Whichever you choose, the one exercise that will probably serve you best is the one that you are most likely to stick with. Think about your past exercise routines and compare walking or running to that. Were you happy powering along at top speed, or were you more pleased with a long leisurely stroll?

Whatever you choose, stick with it to reap all of the benefits.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Irvine, Calif. 

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