¿Is it better to walk or run? Benefits and contraindications of these activities

Run and walk they are natural and very healthy activities that can be practiced at almost any age. But it is very important to consider the degree of intensity that is put to exercise, the greater the intensity, the energy consumption, the caloric expenditure, the oxygen expenditure will always be greater, which will translate into maintain an ideal weight, have better physical conditions and therefore good overall health.

One of the sports practices par excellence and also millenary is the running, a sport that has become fashionable especially for the amount of benefits it brings to the body, but not only physically but also mentally. Likewise, another of the terms that is also increasingly on the rise is that of Power Walking or Smart Walking , which is nothing more than the literal translation of walking at a good pace, accelerated; and it is proven that its benefits can be even greater than those of running if it is practiced correctly.

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But let’s go by parts, it is important to know first what are the benefits and contraindications of each of these sports practices to be able to reach the conclusion which of the two could be better than the other. Although really, at the end of this article you will be able to decide about it, because determining which is better, whether to run or walk, will depend on many factors in the process.

Benefits and contraindications of walking

With respect to power walking or walk fast, It is a perfect exercise for those people who do not like to run or who may not be able to do it due to some health condition. It provides many benefits to the people who practice it and among them clearly stand out:

Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels in blood

– Help to improve the immune system

– Help to control sugar levels, helping in the prevention of diabetes

Tones many muscles, especially those of the lower body such as the calves, thighs and buttocks

– By keeping the metabolism quite active, it helps to burn a lot of calories, as well as to de-stress, improving our mood.

A large study published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, showed that, using the same energy expenditure, running reduces the risk of hypertension by 4.2% while walking by 7.2%. Regarding the risk of high cholesterol, running reduces this risk by 4.3% and walking by 7%. As for heart disease, running reduces the risk by 4.5% and walking by 9.3%. That is, in all cases walking is much more beneficial than running. And, in addition, it produces less wear and tear and risk of injury.

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Although fast walking is not synonymous with running as some may think, it is true that walking has a lesser impact on the joints, even so, they are exercises that are not mutually exclusive, but rather complement each other. A person who does not suffer from any injury or limiting physical condition can perfectly combine both exercises for even better results.

It is very important to know that, although running can bring some risks, walking too, because if the exercise is poorly done, you can have some problems in the lumbar, cervical, feet and ankles, among others.

Benefits and contraindications of running

Research conducted over six years at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, showed that running helps you lose weight faster than walking, but that both activities are equally healthy because it does not depend on the intensity of the training but on how many calories are burned during the training. That is, the study was based primarily on distance and not time.

You must always keep in mind which are the health aspects that you want to take care of with these sports practices, as well as be aware of the physical state for the moment and of the capacities and limitations that each individual may have. Running implies making a greater effort than walking, in any way, it will depend on the possibilities, times and tastes.

What is better? Running or walking?

Ferran Abat, sports traumatologist and medical director of ReSport Clinic Barcelona He leaves us his opinion on the matter: “both running and walking are excellent forms of exercise, what must be taken into account is that each exercise will be better or worse depending on the degree of activity we want to do and what is the goal we want to achieve , and above all, what is our current physical state, that is, to conclude whether to choose to walk or run will depend on who you are and what you want to do ”.

“Certain studies show that a person should perform 200 to 300 minutes a week of moderate activity, or 70 to 80 minutes of vigorous activity. This means that people who practice some physical activity regularly tend to have healthier and stronger hearts, and therefore a lower body weight, which in the end will lead to fewer pathologies such as pain in the knees or hips, caused by lack of activity, sedentary lifestyle and therefore weight gain ” adds the specialist.

Once we have this clear we can say that walk or run They can provide the same benefits at the level of fitness, with the difference that running burns twice as many calories as walking in less time. Abat concludes in this sense “if you walk at a moderate to fast pace, you can burn half the calories that a person who runs at a moderate-high pace, so in these cases, if what a person is looking for is to burn calories more quickly and effectively, obviously running will be the most appropriate exercise. If, on the contrary, the objective is to do a low-impact activity, perhaps due to knee pain due to joint wear or even being overweight, it will always be better to walk ”.

The decision will be purely personal, because not only each person must evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of both sports practices, but it is important to determine which of them is the one that best suits the needs and objectives, as well as taking into account the limitations that each one has.

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