Is walking better than running – seriously?

When you read the title to this article, did you think, ‘that’s a stupid question’?

Yes, so did I. But you were still curious enough to click the link to find out. I’m glad you did because if you like surprises, I’m just about to dish one up.

Studies categorically show that both walking and running are good for cardiovascular circuitry and helps to reduce the risk of heart disease – the leading cause of death in the UK

They also both reduce the risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and improve mood and energy levels.

According to the Guardian newspaper, researchers compared data from the National Runners’ Health Study and the National Walkers’ Health Study. The results were quite surprising. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, runners lost more weight than walkers. It is also thought that running improves the metabolic rate more than walking which helps runners keep excess weight off easier. 

However, the health benefits of running end there. Walking was actually found to deliver superior results. 

Running v Walking: Step by Step

The two studies mentioned above involved observing more than 3000 participants aged between 18 and 80 over a period of six years. Tests were measured in four key areas: 

Heart Disease

Walking reduces the risk of heart disease by 9.3%. Running only by 4.5%. Running puts a greater strain on the heart.

High Blood Pressure 

Walking reduces the risk of high blood pressure by 7.2%. Running by only 4.2%.

High Cholesterol

Walking reduces the risk of high cholesterol by 7%. Running by 4.3%.


Both walking and running was found to reduce the risk of diabetes by 12%.

Health Risks of Running

The statistics above reveal that walking has significantly better health benefits. Unless your exercise goal is to lose weight, walking is a healthier option. 

One other thing I want to mention that was not covered in the report is the health risks of running. Whilst moving at a faster, harder pace fights the fat, it can also cause more damage to your joints. 

When running, you impact the ground harder. This puts more pressure on your leg joints and increases the risk of injury or damage to ankles, shins and knee joints. 

Over time, this will have ling-lasting effects that impair your every day quality of life. 

The story of Sarah Kliff, a health reporter who partakes in half-marathons and triathlons is a prime example of how running can help improve your fitness – but comes with greater risks. 

Sarah is super-fit but due to his training regime developed plantar fasciitis and a stress fracture. Somedays she can barely walk. 

If you do want to lose weight, mix up your exercise routine. Run on soft surfaces like grass or sand, and walk briskly on concrete. This gives you the best of both world; you lose weight and get fit without putting yourself at risk of any long-term benefits.

To sum up, walking has more health benefits other than running. The only advantage the latter gives you is weight loss. And even that can be painful. That sheds a whole new light on the saying ‘no pain, no gain’ doesn’t it!  

# # #