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Walking Is As Good For Your Health As Running

Walking IS as good for your health as running. Researchers found walking is just as good as running in reducing risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California found total energy used was more important than intensity

A brisk long walk is as good as a run for cutting the risk of heart disease, researchers say.

This is because the most important factor is not intensity but the total energy used.

In the first study of its kind, researchers found that walking briskly can lower the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes – all problems that can lead to heart disease – as much as running does.

It had been thought that running was superior because runners travel further.

But the benefits of both types of regular exercise were compared among 48,000 adults and found to be almost the same.

So long as the energy used is similar, the health boost is similar, says a report in the American Heart Association journal Arte­ri­os­cle­rosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Paul T Williams, of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said the findings were surprising but showed the key factor was the number of calories worked off in each form of activity. ‘Walking and running provide an ideal test of the health benefits... because they involve the same muscle groups and the same activities performed at different intensities,’ he said.

He estimates a person would need to walk 4.3 miles at a brisk pace to have the same amount of exercise as running 3 miles. It would take twice as long – around an hour and 15 minutes instead of 38 minutes, he said.

The six-year study analysed 33,060 runners and 15,045 walkers.

When the same total energy was used for moderate-intensity walking as for vigorous-intensity running, it resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and, possibly, coronary heart disease.

We know the best type of activity for your heart is moderate-intensity aerobic activity and that includes walking – as long as you feel warmer, breathe harder and your heart beats faster than usual.

‘Whether it’s walking, jogging or running, staying active will help control your weight, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, and improve your mental health.’

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