Why walking is the new running

Why walking is the new running

There’s a bunch of reasons as to why walking is the new running. Image by Adobe Stock.

I have always been an active person, but I wouldn’t say that I am fitness mad. My fitness regime has flip-flopped throughout my life, depending on my commitment, free time and mental health, but one thing I have always enjoyed is running. I’ve never been into gyms and aside from the odd class here and there, I have never really committed to anything permanently, so when I do feel like exercising – it’ll usually go for a run.

Up until recently, if you told me that walking has the same benefits as running I probably would have scoffed at you, but after taking up going for daily walks during lockdown my mind has completely changed and I am pleased to say that I am a walking convert, so much so that I don’t run at all anymore. Obviously when it comes to exercise it’s all about personal preference, but for the sake of this article, I am here to explain why (in my opinion) walking is the new running.

Walking is easier on your joints
Walking produces far fewer injuries than running. Running for long periods of time, such as marathons can contribute to changes in the body and bring on conditions such as osteoarthritis, especially in the knees. Walking is a much lower impact to running – runners hit the ground with three times their body weight in each step while walking only products an impact 1.5 times your body weight per step. Overall, with walking you will feel less fatigue and less wear and tear on your body.

Walking relieves anxiety and lowers cortisol levels
Brisk walking for just 20 minutes can bring down your cortisol levels, which is your body stress chemical, whereas running temporarily increases your bodies cortisol levels. In addition to lower stress levels, walking will also boost endorphins, which are responsible for reducing pain and triggering positive mood and feeling in the body.

Walking reduces the risk of heart disease
Both running and walking are beneficial for reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes and just generally improving overall health, however, a brisk walk will provide these benefits slightly more, without expending as much energy as running.

Walking allows you to enjoy your surroundings more
Since taking up walking I have noticed more in my neighbourhood and been able to enjoy my surroundings more. Walking at a brisk pace brings the heart rate up and gets your breathing going but also allows you to observe and appreciate more due to the slower pace. When I was running, I would either be looking down at my feet or concentrating on my breathing for endurance, I wasn’t really paying much attention to my surroundings.

Walking is less disruptive to your day
My final reason for why I think walking is the new running is that walking is less disruptive to my day. For example – walking won’t make you sweat as much as running, therefore, you can go for a walk and not have to plan for a shower straight after if you have a busy day ahead. Walking also allows you to be more social – you can walk and talk with friends and even walk to social occasions, without getting too hot and sweaty. The convenience and benefits of walking are just undeniable.

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