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Running is a high-intensity form of aerobic activity.
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Whether you are trying to get in shape or just stay active, both walking and running can help improve your health. Each aerobic activity can be done at the gym or without any exercise equipment, but the advantages of each differ based on your personal health and fitness. Therefore, it's important to consider your goals and limitations when deciding which form of exercise is best for you.
Running is a more intense exercise than walking, and there are many advantages to exercising at a higher intensity. Not only do you use over two times more energy while running compared to walking, you also burn more calories when exercising for the same amount of time. In fact, a 160-pound person can burn 800 calories in one hour by running compared to only 300 calories in that time walking. So running gives you more fat-burning benefits in less time.
Walking is a low-impact exercise, which makes it safer than running. When done using the proper form, walking can provide similar health benefits to running with less chance of injury. Running, on the other hand, is high impact due to the vigorous pounding of your feet on your running surface. This can be hard on your feet and joints and lead to sprains, strains, shin splints and blisters. The surface you run on can increase chances of incurring these injuries, so it's important to pick your running surface, and shoes, accordingly.
Cardio and Endurance
Although it takes more time to burn the same number of calories when walking compared to running, those who expend the same number of calories whether walking or running can gain the same cardiovascular benefits of lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol and better heart health. However, running improves your conditioning and endurance better than walking. Those who engage in running regularly will be able to do physical work for longer periods of time and have greater stamina than those who only walk.
Deciding which form of exercise is best for you ultimately depends on your body type, health and overall goals. Those who are heavier or beginning to exercise may find walking to be an easier way to start working out while building up to more intense exercise. Those with certain injuries or health conditions may also find the low-impact nature of walking more suited to their exercise needs. However, those who wish to lose weight more quickly, want a more efficient workout or want to improve their endurance may find running to be the most beneficial. Either way, always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.