Hibernating Panda

Is It Better To Walk or To Run?

Better To Walk Or To Run?…

That question may sound inconsequential to you, but ask any serious runner or walker, and you may just end up in a long debate. In my view, the question to ask is 'Can your body and health be sustained without either walking or running.' Of course there are other forms of useful exercises such as swimming and yoga. It is fair to say that walking and running are the most popular physical activities for adults around the world on the basis of simplicity alone. All you need is discipline to set a schedule, a pair of good walking/running shoes and any decent surface to walk/run on.  

Whether walking or running is the preferred choice in terms of improving health has long been argued. In my early years, when my knees were stronger, and the thinking more elitist (more macho maybe), running was the only preferred choice. Perhaps it was the legacy of school days, when we did cross-country runs over a nearby hilly cemetery. The distance of some 2.8 miles (4.6 km) was to be covered within 28 minutes. Like most of my friends, we worked, lived a more sedentary lifestyle, and exercised little. In between, we did take up some form of exercise but rather intermittently. It was only two years ago, that I started more earnestly to train for my Salkantay Trek. I had committed to the trip and a fitness programme with my friend Werner.  Running was not an option for after a week, my knees did some complaining, and so I did long brisk walks instead, of up to 15km  each time – 4 days per week. 

An Unhealthy Direction…

'Lifestyle, weight gain and even the inactivity of many of our global citizens (especially our young) have caused diseases and even laziness hardly known to mankind just decades ago. I know that at my age, what I am doing can be an inspiration to people of every generation and perhaps, by example, I can be a beacon of consciousness for what is possible when action and passion combine forces to change an unhealthy direction.' said Werner Berger, in sharing his goal of summiting Mount Everest in the spring of 2015, as the finishing point for his quest to be the oldest person in achieving the Seven Summits.

Choices Depend…

Results of new studies pitting walking vs running are providing some answers. There is no straight forward conclusion! Your choice of walking or running depends on what you are hoping to accomplish. **1. If you want to control your weight, then running wins – see this study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Greater weight loss from running than walking during a 6.2-yr prospective follow-up. **2. If you want to lower the risks of high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol profiles, diabetes and heart disease, both running and walking win over the sedentary ones – see this study published in April in the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology and is titled 'Walking versus running for hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction.' And in terms of heart disease, walking reduces coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors by 9.3% vs the lower 4.5% in running. **3. And if you want to reduce the risks of developing age-related cataracts, you can choose either one, a happy choice. Walking or running gives equal benefits versus the sedentary lot. The report last month stating this result is 'Walking and Running are Associated with Similar Reductions in Cataract Risk.'

Must Walk Or Run…

I have said these words before, and I think I have to say them again – that 'There are occasions when being repetitious is excusable. One such occasion is when spreading valuable knowledge  and tips on critical health issues.' Whether you walk, run, swim or engage in othe exercises, there is no substitute to ensure that your mind and body are in a healthy state. Leading a sedentary life, like the hibernating panda in my featured image, is NOT an option. Stay healthy.

Related articles : 

1. How to Address the Top Ten Risk Factors for your Heart

2. Heart of the Matter


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