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Aug 11, 2012

Walking versus running — what's better?

These days, there are so many workouts to choose from that it's easy to stray from simple and effective exercises such as walking and running.

But which one is better for you?

Fitness magazine Executive Editor Liz Vaccariello tells it depends on your goals, and your fitness level.

Both offer health benefits from half-hour workouts.
Improved your blood pressure, cholesterol, endurance, bone strength and muscle mass can result.

But if your goal is weight loss, running is the more efficient way to burn calories, Vaccariello says. Because of its impact, running also edges out walking when it comes to sculpting your legs and butt.
You'll burn about 270 calories walking for 40 minutes at 4 mph, which is 4.0 on the treadmill. You'll also burn 270 calories running, at 6 mph, but it will only take you 20 minutes. Those numbers apply to 135 pound women.

The treadmill normally tells you how much you're burning after you put in your weight requirements. So does a pedometer.
Vaccariello cautions that runners should be aware of their limits, because running can be much harder on your body than walking.
She also points out that can burn more calories by making their workouts more challenging. Fun and easy ways to do that include taking advantage of the incline option on a treadmill, and using sudden, brief, regular speed bursts.