Motivation Monday: walking vs running

What would you say is better for your health: walking a mile or running a mile? The popular belief is that running a mile would be more beneficial, however, this may just be a popular fable.

Scientific and biological evidence shows that walking can be an equivalent alternative to running and may even be more advantageous to your overall health. When you compare the pros and cons of both activities, then you will discover which exercise is the most advantageous for your lifestyle.


According to, a 150lb person will burn 261 calories while walking at a 3 mph (a brisk walk) pace for an hour. This means completing one mile every 20 minutes. The same 150lb person will burn 586 calories while jogging at a 5 mph (12 minute mile) pace for an hour.

It is important to remember that if you are heavier than 150 lbs then you burn more calories and if you are lighter than 150 lbs, you will burn fewer calories. So if you are simply concerned about the amount of’ calories burnt, then running would be the best option.

With a difference of 325 calories, running winsthis category.


Running is notoriously strenuous on the knee joints and tendons of the legs. This is because during a run, your body is temporarily suspended in the air, only to land all your body weight on one foot. Jogging puts one at higher risk for joint pain, shin splints and fallen arches in your foot.

Walking is gentler on the body. During a walk, one foot is constantly making contact with the ground. Therefore the hip, knee and ankle joints are not suffering much of a repeated impact.

Your body’s joints agree that walking wins this category.


Strengthening one’s muscles to the highest potential of use is conditioning. When performing any aerobic activity, muscles such as the heart and lungs are heavily used and over time will become stronger and more efficient. Therefore, any exercise that gets your heart racing and lungs pumping is great for conditioning.

For some people, a simple stroll around the block will leave them breathless and dripping with sweat. But for most, it requires more than a gentle walk to raise their heart rate. A jog is more likely to be a cardiovascular challenge for the average athlete.

According to your heart and lungs, this category goes to running. 

Weight Loss

This is a tough category, but seems to be the main question that most people want to know. Should I walk or run to lose the most weight? The answer is both. While running burns more calories per hour than walking, it is a high impact and high intensity exercise. This means the typical amateur athlete may not physically be able to run for an extended period of time. Walking, however, is considered a low impact exercise. Therefore, it is easier to consistently walk for a long period time.

For example, looking back at, the 150 lb person can only jog at 5 mph for 20 minutes at a time. This means he or she will burn 176 calories during exercise. Now, the same 150 lb person can walk briskly at a steady 3 mph pace for 45 minutes and burn 173 calories.

Here is where things get tricky. Because running requires great extortion on the body and its joints, this person only runs three days a week to avoid possible injury and soreness. Yet, this person can incorporate five days of walking into his or her week. So the runner is burning 528 calories a week, while the walker is burning 865.

Ignoring all other exercise and diet, and considering that one must expend 3500 calories to burn a pound of fat, the runner will be lose weight quicker. The walker will have maximum productivity with minimum body damage losing weight.

This is a category that both walking and running win.

There you have it. With a 3-to-2 victory, running has won this debate. Yet, did you imagine the score would be this close? Walking for exercise isn’t just for the elderly or obese. At a challenging pace, several times a week, walking will burn a significant amount of calories, strengthen your heart, lungs and muscles and help you lose weight, all while being easy on your joints.

Remember with any exercise routine, rather it be walking or running, consistency and good form are the keys to a healthy and active lifestyle.

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