By Jana Taylor
If you have some weight to lose, you might presume that running will help you shed pounds faster than walking. That has been the conventional wisdom and has also been documented in previous studies. On the other hand, there are other recent studies that show walking is just as good as, if not better than, running or jogging for lowering your body mass index (BMI), especially for women.
So how do you sift through the conflicting evidence? My advice would be instead of trying to figure out which study is correct, find out what’s best for you personally.
For instance, if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, all those extra pounds are putting a lot of additional pressure on your joints. And, you may already be experiencing some joint pain. The good news is losing weight is the best long-lasting way to help your joint health. But, running in this case will cause more stress to your joints than walking, so you may want to focus on walking. 10,000 steps per day is a good walking goal to shoot for, but if you don’t make that right away don’t get discouraged. Any activity is always better than none. If you have never been a walker before, start with an initial goal of 5,000 steps, and work up from there.
What if your particular hurdle is that you have limited time for exercise? Busy professionals don’t always have the time to put in walking. If this sounds like you, then maybe running is the right fit. You can get the same calorie burn in much less time, and be able to easily fit it into your hectic schedule. If you’ve never run before, there are many great ways to start. A popular way is to alternate running and walking – gradually building up stamina to transition to all running.
There are lots of factors that determine which activity, walking or running, is best for you. You shouldn’t worry that you are “missing out” on some health benefit touted by conflicting studies and focus more on the idea that you have made a unique decision tailored for you that will benefit your health.
But whether you decide to walk or run, you will need to make sure you have all the right supplies to succeed. I would never advise walking or running without a good pair of supporting shoes, and breathable clothing appropriate to your activity and climate can make things more enjoyable. Make sure to have Muscle Ice® and Muscle Rescue® on hand, as you transition into a more active lifestyle. We also would recommend Chafe Rescue®, because it’s important to be comfortable as you exercise. It helps keep your motivation going when you don’t have to worry about that kind of discomfort!
Jana Taylor is a staff writer for Peaceful Mountain.