Is it better to walk or run? Study reveals one has more efficient benefits but it's not for everyone

Denise Dador Image
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
Is it better to walk or run? Answer may not be as simple as you think
Is walking or running better for your health? A new study reveals one has more efficient benefits, but it's not for everyone.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Whether you're counting your daily steps or racing around the track, exercise is essential to your overall well-being. But research suggests that one way of exercising can provide more efficient health benefits.

When it comes to running or walking for exercise, which do you prefer?

Daniella Tirado of Burbank and Anthony Segovia of North Hollywood both prefer walking.

"I think a long power walk like an hour power walk would probably be better. It's easier on your knees. It's easier on your back as opposed to running," said Joe Burke of Los Angeles.

Any exercise is better than none, but a new study finds running can get you the benefits faster. Researchers in Taiwan found a daily five-minute run can lower your risk of dying by 30%, reduce your risk of heart disease by 45% and increase your lifespan by three years.

"That's actually shocking," said Segovia.

You would have to walk 15 minutes per day to get the same benefits. Running also burns more calories per minute than walking.

"Instead of just walking around, I can just run for a little bit," said Burke.

So how can you get started running? First, ease into it by adding more steps to your daily walk. Then add in a 10 minute brisk walk three to four times each walk and gradually increase the duration. Once your body gets used to that, pick up the pace and add in run-walk intervals with one minute of running followed by three minutes of walking, increasing the running interval and decreasing your walking each week. But make sure not to overdo it.

"You can't just go run 20 miles and expect your body to actually say 'Hey, that was great, let's just do it again tomorrow,'" said Gina Pongetti Angeletti, MPT, MA, CSCS of Achieve Physical Therapy.

The day after a long run, try going for a brisk walk instead to give your muscles time to recover. The important thing is to be consistent with whatever you choose.

"You want to do something that's going to keep your body moving so you don't have a chance to get stiff," said Liz Yerly, PT of Impact Physical Therapy.

Experts remind us that running is not for everyone. If you have health conditions like arthritis or knee problems, walking offers great health benefits such as lowering your risk for anxiety, depression, diabetes and some cancers.