Several studies addressing the benefits of both forms of exercise and the comparison between them, were recently noted in a list serv I subscribe to. The name of the list serv is Obesity and Energetic Offerings. It provides a weekly list of current research on specific obesity related topics. If you would like to subscribe, click here http://www.soph.uab.edu/energetics/subscribe.
Many people ask me which is better, walking or running. So I wanted to share the upshot of the recent findings. Which is, it depends on your goal. Is it to maintain your health, your weight, or to lose weight? Running has been found to be better for weight loss, but there are more things to consider.
Which can you do several times a week? Which can you do several times a week for ... well .. ever(ish)?
Either activity will improve your health. Certainly this is so if you are engaging in little to no activity right now. If your primary goal is weight loss, minute for minute, running burns more calories than walking. It is very important that you consider consistency and frequency. Whether it is walking or running, the benefit only occurs as long as you keep doing it. More of either one is better than less.
You might read this and think you should become a runner. Not necessarily so. If you cannot sustain that vigorous level of activity (for what ever reason (even mental)), than it isn't right for you.
In the end, it is physical activity that matters most for your health. Yes, I am saying it. I know is anathema and blaspheme... but it is better to be a little overweight and active than normal weight or low weight and inactive.