The Great Debate: Which is better running or walking?

Cardiovascular exercise is an essential part of any fitness program, and it’s important to find a type of cardio that works for you. Whether it’s running or walking, these two most popular forms of cardiovascular training each have their own benefits. Some people prefer running for its ability to burn more calories per minute, while others choose walking for its low impact. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between running and walking as cardio exercises and highlight the benefits of each.

Calories Burned

One of the main differences between running and walking is the number of calories burned per minute. Running burns more calories per minute than walking, making it a more efficient way to burn calories. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the average person can burn up to 10 calories per minute running at a moderate pace (6 mph), while walking at a moderate pace (3.5 mph) burns about 5 calories per minute. This means that running burns twice as many calories per minute as walking. For example, a 150-pound person running at a moderate pace for 30 minutes can burn about 300 to 400 calories, while walking at a moderate pace for the same amount of time burns about 150 to 200 calories.


Impact on joints

Another important factor to consider when comparing running to walking is the impact on the joints. Running is a high-impact exercise that puts more strain on the joints than walking. This can lead to a higher risk of joint injuries, especially in the knees and ankles. Walking, on the other hand, is a low-impact exercise that is gentle on the joints. This makes walking a good option for people recovering from injury or suffering from joint pain.

Cardiovascular benefits
Both running and walking offer excellent cardiovascular benefits that can improve heart health and endurance. According to the American Heart Association, regular exercise such as running or walking can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and improve overall cardiovascular health. In addition, both exercises can increase the body’s ability to use oxygen, which can improve endurance and stamina.

Ease of access

Another benefit of running and walking is their ease of access. Both exercises can be done virtually anywhere and require little to no equipment, whether outdoors, on a treadmill, or even on-site. This makes both forms of exercise convenient and accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels.

So what is the best cardio exercise?


Ultimately, the choice between running and walking as a cardio exercise depends on individual goals, preferences, and physical abilities. Here are the pros and cons of each exercise:

Advantages of running:

Burns more calories per minute than walking
Can be an effective way to burn calories and improve cardiovascular fitness
Can be a good way to improve speed, endurance and stamina.
Can be a social activity by joining a running group or participating in races.
Disadvantages of running:

Increased risk of joint injuries, especially to knees and ankles.
Can be more difficult for beginners or people with physical limitations.
Can be more physically demanding and require more recovery time.
Benefits of walking:

Low-impact exercise is easier on the joints.
Can be a good option for people with joint pain or recovering from injury.
Can be an effective way to burn calories and improve cardiovascular fitness.
Can be done anywhere and requires little or no equipment.

Disadvantages of walking:

  • Burns fewer calories per minute than running
  • May require more time to achieve the same health benefits as running
  • May not offer the same training intensity as running.

In conclusion, the pros and cons of running and walking should be considered when choosing which type of cardio to incorporate into your fitness program. While each type of cardio has its own advantages and disadvantages, the most important factor is to find a form of cardio that you enjoy and can follow for the long term. By finding the right type of cardio for you, you can improve your cardiovascular health, increase your endurance and achieve your fitness goals.

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