WALKING vs. RUNNING

If you have walker’s insecurity or runner’s remorse, kick it to the curb by deciding which is better for you. by Stacey Colino

WALKING POINTS

No gear  All you need is a sturdy pair of sneakers or comfortable shoes to sneak in short bouts all day long.

Healthy Heart  Walking is associated with a reduced risk of hypertension, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes, according to a study of 49,000 participants at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA.

Happy Days  a walking workout can boost your mood.  A study from the University of Innsbruck in Austria found that 20 minutes of brisk walking had positive effects on mood and psychological wee-being.  The study subjects had type 2 diabetes, but researchers believe the results would translate to those without diabetes as well.

Best For wxercise newbies or those who are considerably overweight, says Fabio comana, MS director of continuing education for the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  Start by walking for 10 minutes four times a week, adding five minutes every week. (Check with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.)_

RUNNING REWARDS

Extra Time  No secret here:  You can burn the same amount of calories in half the time as walking.

Less Hunger  Running may suppress your appetite, says preliminary research from the University of Wyoming.  After completing 60 minutes of walking or running, participants were invited to a buffet.  The runners ate less due to an increase in an appetite-regulating hormone, while the walkers had a bigger appetite, though more research is needed to confirm  these early findings.

More Smiles  A “runner’s high” has been chocked up to an endorphin release; a 2008 German study found that running has an opioid-like effect in the brain.

Best For those with no heart or orthopedic issues.  However, easing into a running routine is always advisable.  Start by alternating four-minute bouts of walking and jogging.  Each week, add an additional minute of jogging and decrease walking by one minute until you’re running from start to finish.

BOTTOM LINE

When deciding whether to walk or run, let common sense (not ego) dictate.  “You should choose the one you like and are capable of doing,” says Tim Church, MD, of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA.  Ultimately, the key is to walk or run regularly-for the sake of your health, your mind and your waistline.

References:  Weightwatchers Magazine  Jan/Feb 2014