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The Benefits and Risks of Walking Versus Running

Images for walking benefits article Your coworker swears by her morning runs. Your neighbor says she gets all the exercise she needs from walking. This may leave you wondering whether one is better than the other. The answer depends on which one you prefer. Both provide many health benefits, such as:

The key is finding out which activity is best for you.

Calorie Burning

Many people choose activities based on the number of calories that they burn. The number of calories you burn while running or walking will depend on your weight, how long you exercise, and your intensity. You will burn more calories the faster you are moving. This gives running the edge of walking when it comes to calorie burning.

Risk of Injury

There is a lower risk of injury with walking than with running. The risk of injury increases with intensity and duration.

You can lower your risk of running-related injury by:

Fitting It Into Your Day

Most people can fit a walk in during the day. You also won't need any special clothing other than good shoes. Running requires proper footwear, a complete change of clothes, and a post-workout shower. It may make sense to schedule a run over one block of free time during the day.

When Walking is the Better Choice

People who are new to exercise may want to start walking before they move onto running. Walking is also better for people with certain health problems or those who have joint replacements.

Getting a Complete Workout

Try adding strengthening and stretching exercises to get the most out of the workout you choose. Strength training the upper body and torso is important since they do not get much of a workout during regular running or walking. Strength training your lower body is also important because it will boost your walks and runs. Regular stretching will also help loosen up your muscles.

The Choice That’s Best for You

Choose the activity that you think you would enjoy the most. Mixing them up is also a great way to add variety to your workout. Next, talk to your doctor before you hit the road.

RESOURCES:

American College of Sports Medicine
http://www.acsm.org

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://www.orthoinfo.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
www.csep.ca

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

REFERENCES:

Energy expenditure in different modes of exercise. University of Massachusetts website. Available at: https://blogs.umass.edu/bodyshop/files/2009/07/energyexpendindifferentexmodes.pdf. Accessed October 12, 2021.

Tips for a safe running program. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/staying-healthy/tips-for-a-safe-running-program. Accessed October 12, 2021.

Last reviewed October 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board  Last Updated: 10/12/2021