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Long Walks or Short Runs?

By Rachel Carver

Regular exercise and a balanced diet are important to weight loss success. You also want to continue these healthy habits after you lose the weight to maintain it.

Exercise intensity determines your calorie burn. Different exercises can give you different results. For example, a person weighing 165 pounds can burn approximately 300 calories an hour by walking briskly. This person can burn the same amount of calories in just 24 minutes while running at a 10-minute per mile pace.

But choosing between a short run or a long walk is not always an easy decision. Many of us only have so much time, so a short, intense workout is the most efficient way to burn calories. If you have some time or have joint or musculoskeletal problems, a walk may be your best option.

If you can, consider how each exercise can impact you in addition to calories burned. Let's examine the benefits of walking and running.

Walking Benefits

A National Runners' and Walkers' Healthy Study evaluated the effects of running and walking on high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cholesterol levels in over 49,000 participants. The research found the risk of these conditions decreased significantly in walkers. Runners decreased their blood pressure levels by 4.2 percent, while walkers decreased their levels by 7.2 percent.

Regular walking can improve mood, increase energy, and combat a lifestyle of too much sitting. Walking can be a very effective low-intensity exercise.

Running Benefits

A recent study found that running may help people maintain a lower body weight. The research, which analyzed questionnaires completed by over 15,000 walkers and 32,000 runners, found that runners tended to be thinner. The runners also remained thinner over a six-year period. Running may also be more effective at preventing age-related weight gain.

Running can be a great way to exercise multiple parts of your body. It can also increase your endurance for other workouts.

The Benefits of Adding Strength Training

Add strength training to your workout routine to lose or maintain weight. A recent study of 1.7 million Americans found that those who combined aerobic exercise such as walking or running for 30 minutes per day with two weekly weight training sessions were less likely to develop obesity.

Plan to walk or run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Lift weights or create a circuit training workout for Tuesday and Thursday. Regular strength training can help maintain muscle mass and bone health.

The Bottom Line

Think about where you are in your fitness journey. If your goal is to run a 5K, you will need to prepare mentally and physically. You can always start by walking and work your way up to running. The key is to choose a workout routine you will enjoy and will stick with.

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

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