Walking vs. Running: Which One Is Best

There are many reasons why people start running: to stay slim, boost energy, or snag that treadmill next to our longtime gym crush. Running can help keep the heart healthy, improve mood, and stave off sickness; plus recent studies have found running is a great way to lose and maintain weight.

But research suggests going full speed isn’t the only route to good health.

While walking can provide many of the same health benefits associated with running, recent research suggests running may be the better bet for those looking to shed some pounds.

Unsurprisingly, people expend two-and-a-half times more energy running than walking, whether that’s on the track or on the treadmill.

So for a 160-lb person, running burns about 800 calories an hour compared to about 300 calories walking.

And that equates to a pretty sizeable slice of pizza (who doesn’t love cheat day rewards?).

Running vs. Walking

Calories-Infographic
Burning Calories Infographic

More interesting, a recent study found that even when runners and walkers expended equal amounts of energy (meaning walkers spent more time exercising and covered greater distances), runners still lost more weight. Not only did the runners begin the study slimmer than the walkers; they also had a better chance of maintaining their BMI and waist circumference.

Another recent study supports the idea that running or brisk walking might be the better bet. Researchers found speedier folks tend to be healthier than the slowpokes, even if those going slowly spend more time exercising. (Of course, it’s possible that less healthy people are more inclined to walk slowly in the first place.)

That difference could possibly be explained by another recent study, which suggests that running regulates our appetite hormones better than walking. After running or walking, participants were invited to a buffet, where walkers consumed about 50 calories more than they had burned and runners ate almost 200 calories fewer than they’d burned.

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