So what is the real difference between running vs walking? I know that many of my articles and posts deal with running. And that’s largely due to my background and experiences. But what is the difference between walking a mile and running a mile? There are pros and cons to each activity and you might be surprised at the similarities and differences.
Depending on your weight, you’ll burn approximately 100 calories for every mile that you walk or run. And while running might burn a bit more calories than walking, mile-for-mile the two activities are very close in the calorie-burning comparison.
Walking is also an activity that can be done with little disruption or gear. You can walk at lunch without having to get a shower before heading back to the office. There is far less pounding of the joints with walking, as compared to running. And walking can be mixed into the day for local errands and other short trips.
Running, on the other hand, can burn calories quicker for those with less time. For example, running 5 hours a week at 7 mph will result in 35 miles of running or 3,500 calories burned. Walking 5 hours per week at 3 mph results in 15 miles of walking or approximately 1,500 calories burned.
So what’s the right answer? The one that works for you! If you find a healthy activity that works with your routine, than stick with it. My wife recently took up daily walking which has turned into a steady part of her routine (and our dog’s ;-). In a little less than a month, she has walked nearly 90 miles! She’s found something that she enjoys. And the best part is that she’s made it part of her daily routine and found a good long-term habit.
If goals and competition motivate you, try running. Running is a great and healthy hobby where you can burn calories, strengthen your heart, and enjoy races throughout your community, country and even the world…not to mention the collection of cool T-shirts and finisher medals that you’re likely to accumulate. If you’re pressed for time, a 3-mile run is much easier to squeeze in your schedule than a 3-mile walk. One downside of running is that you have to pay special attention to your body to prevent injuries, as running injuries can be quite common. Replacing shoes can get expensive, but it’s worth the fresh cushioning.
Walking can be relaxing and a way to escape the daily grime. You can do it almost anywhere and at anytime. It also takes you out of the house and away from the kitchen cabinets. And while it takes more time to cover the same mileage as running, the pounding on your joints is much less.
There’s no saying that you have to choose…do both if you want to! Walking can be a terrific addition to a running routine and vice versa. If you don’t have time to run and shower at the office, why not get out and go for a stroll? And if you’ve been walking for years, why not add a few sections of jogging in the middle? You might find yourself with a new hobby for years to come. When it comes down to it, the outcome of the debate of running vs walking need not be an either / or decision...it could be BOTH!
You can find this article and other motivational fitness information in the September 2008 article of The Bullhorn. You can sign up for this free monthly e-zine below.