8 Ways Walking is Better Than Running

Walkers Right - Runners Left on Half Marathon
Wendy Bumgardner ©

If you prefer walking to running, you may feel defensive when surrounded by runners. Stand up with pride. You aren't "only a walker." Brisk walking is an excellent moderate-intensity exercise for reducing health risks, building fitness, and assisting in weight loss. Even slower-paced walking to get in your 10,000 steps each day has many benefits. Learn the ways walking is better than running.

Walkers Get Fewer Injuries Than Runners

Walking produces far fewer injuries, the least injuries of any aerobic exercise.

Researchers note that up to half of all runners are affected by running injuries each year, most commonly of the knees.

It has long been suspected that running injuries, as well as stress from long runs such as marathons, leads to changes that can result in osteoarthritis, especially in the knee.

Walking Is Lower-Impact than Running

Runners impact the ground with three times their body weight with each step while walking only produces an impact of 1.5 times your body weight. This is especially important if you are overweight or already have developed joint problems. As a lower-impact exercise, you feel less fatigue and there is less wear-and-tear on your body with walking. Yet walking is still is a weight-bearing exercise that may prevent bone loss.

Walking Burns Fat

It is easier to set a fat-burning pace and work out for the necessary amount of time to burn fat when you are walking as opposed to running. A fat-burning pace is one where you are breathing noticeably but able to carry on a conversation. Walking at a brisk pace for 45 minutes or longer will result in burning stored body fat, including the harmful internal belly fat that accumulates around your heart and liver.

While many people can't run for longer than 45 minutes, it is easier to walk for long periods.

Walkers Can Stop and Smell the Roses

Walkers can slow down, enjoy a view, explore a trail, duck into a shop, or stop for a snack. Runners often just jog on by, intent on getting in their time. This advantage has been shown by research to have health benefits. Walking in natural settings such as a park can help relieve stress and rumination. You can take a stress-relief walk anytime.

Walkers Sweat Less

In many climates, you can walk during lunch without needing to shower afterward, while a running workout will require one. You will also be less likely to get heat sickness during hot weather if you walk rather than run, although you must still take precautions.

Walkers Can Wear Normal Clothes

Runners have to put on their running clothes, while walkers can often walk in whatever they happen to be wearing, perhaps with just a switch to comfy shoes. While you may want to wear technical athletic clothing for a walking workout on the treadmill, you can also take a healthy brisk stroll without gearing up. You can walk to work or do your daily errands on foot while wearing comfortable shoes or sandals. Doing so will help reduce long sitting time that can lead to increased health risks. Don't wait to get moving until you have time to hit the gym.

Walkers Can Be Champions

If you learn to racewalk you will have a great chance at winning trophies at races, whereas a recreational runner has no chance at all. As a master, you can often win your age group even as a beginner. Also, keep in mind that at most races such as a half-marathon or marathon you will get the same medal at the finish as those who reached the finish line in half of the time. You just got to enjoy the course for longer.

Walkers Never Hit the Wall

Marathon runners face hitting the wall—burning out all available fuel and experiencing extreme fatigue. Walkers generally do not hit the wall on a marathon because they use fully aerobic, fat-burning energy sources. Walkers can refuel as they go and their bodies have the time it takes to digest and use the fuel.

A Word From Verywell

All kidding aside, running is an excellent exercise. Walkers have benefited from research into the right athletic shoes and training methods for long-distance events such as the marathon and half-marathon. Above all, you need to get moving.

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