What Is Better: Walking or Running?

I walk briskly for an hour a day to help keep my weight down and my cardio fitness up. Why not run instead of walk, you ask? Well, with my back is still not up to 100{629041bc9a6ff041fc0b7c543548a1c0f13f59ea1b47b2bc21e5d68d30575962}, even though the surgery was six years ago; coupled with very bad knees, walking was the logical choice!

However I have always wondered: is walking or is running better for cardio fitness? The answer lies in how frequently, intensely and how long you walk or run. Obviously, if we’re comparing a casual stroll to a jog, there’s not as much cardio benefit gained from the stroll.

A brisk walk, on the other hand, could yield very good cardio benefits. When you challenge your heart, lungs and blood vessels, you slowly make them stronger. To gain any cardiovascular benefit you must push yourself beyond the minimum.

Your target heart rate for any cardio exercise to be effective is for men 226 subtract your age or for women 220 subtract your age x 50-75{629041bc9a6ff041fc0b7c543548a1c0f13f59ea1b47b2bc21e5d68d30575962}. If you’re just beginning to get in shape shoot for 50{629041bc9a6ff041fc0b7c543548a1c0f13f59ea1b47b2bc21e5d68d30575962} of your target heart rate and only 75{629041bc9a6ff041fc0b7c543548a1c0f13f59ea1b47b2bc21e5d68d30575962} if you’re in great shape.

Casual walking is a baseline activity and doesn’t provide the body with any of the benefits gained from vigorous exercise. Brisk walking is characterized by the feeling of some strain in your leg muscles, faster breathing and light perspiration. Test your pace by seeing if you can talk or sing while walking. If you can sing, you’re not walking fast enough.

To improve your health an exercise needs to strengthen your body. Strength or improved endurance can only be gained by pushing your body. When walking briskly, check your heart rate and increase it to reach your target heart rate giving you a good cardio workout.

Brisk walking vs. running is competitive in cardio benefits. Calories burned may be another way to determine if an exercise offers cardio benefits. A person weighing 160 pounds has to walk 1 mile to burn 100 calories. The faster he walks the more calories burned.

If he runs, he’ll burn more calories traveling the same distance. The same person could run 1 mile and burn 136 calories. Clearly, running offers a greater cardio benefit, but only if you are able to run. If brisk walking suits you best, walk briskly.

The cardio benefit is proven by how you feel when you exert yourself. The more fit you feel when you exercise is a tell-tell sign that the cardio work you’ve been doing is starting to pay off. Check your resting heart rate as well.

If it is lower than it was when you first began your fitness routines, once again you’re receiving proof that your exercise is resulting in better cardio fitness. Whether it is brisk walking or running, your benefits are better cardio fitness and hopefully a longer healthier life.

So, be like me and walk for an hour a day! Your overall health, and back, will thank you for years to come.