If you have not taken up walking because you think running burns more calories, think again. Briskly walking a mile actually burns more calories than running a mile … it just takes a little longer to walk. This may seem backwards, but when you walk quickly enough, your body reaches a point at which it would be easier to run. By walking, you are forced to tighten your abs and gluts, and really use both your legs and arms to control and maintain your movement. Do not mistake this for a leisurely stroll; we’re talking about walking at a brisk pace. What exactly is “brisk” walking? Aim for 12-minute miles (or approximately 5mph) for at least 30 minutes. And do not expect it to be easy; walking at this pace should leave you sweating!
The benefits of walking over running do not stop there. In a large study of consistent runners and walkers, the walkers were less likely to sustain injuries. Walking carries far fewer painful health risks, such as shin splints, back pain, and knee injuries. Remember, though, that it’s still very important to warm up before, and thoughly stretch after, walking.
Aside from the improved muscle tone, increased energy, reduced stress, and improved heart health that walking deliveries, it has one other very enticing benefit – it’s easy to fit into your schedule. Briskly walking for ten minutes, three or four times each day can be fit into even the busiest of schedules. Plus, it does not even require a change of clothes; simply throw on a good pair of shoes and go. So, at your next workout try walking, and see for yourself that you can reap the physical and emotional benefits of running without the stiff, achy joints and tight tendons.