Walking or running: which is better?
The desire to be healthy, energetic, and look great motivates many people to physical activity, especially cyclic aerobic exercise, which most effectively strengthens the cardiovascular system and helps to lose weight. Running and walking have become very popular as the easiest and most affordable ways to make up for the lack of movement. Experienced supporters of a healthy lifestyle, of course, made their choice a long time ago and tested its effectiveness in practice.
Experts give recommendations to those who have never exercised, but firmly decided to implement the slogan "If you want to be healthy - be it!" and ask a simple question: which is better - running or walking? It is preferable to start regular physical activities with walking as the most natural way for a person to move.
“The doctor said to walk - so I walk”
Walking allows the body to enter the mode of constant training gradually and smoothly, and to adapt to increasing physical activity. Due to its natural way, there are practically no contraindications for walking. When walking, there are no shock loads on the spine and joints, which is typical for running, and this is especially important to keep in mind for overweight people. It is easy to vary the intensity of walking on the heart and lungs by controlling the heart rate (pulse). An easy way to avoid overloading is to walk at a pace where you breathe through your nose only, without being out of breath.
Any physical activity, including walking, helps relieve stress. A walk in the park gives you the opportunity to enjoy nature, escape from troubles, calm down, looking at possible problems from the outside. Blood circulation is activated, the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain increases, which contributes to the improvement of mental activity, finding optimal solutions to certain problems.
You don’t need special equipment for walking, the main thing is that the shoes are comfortable, you like them, and you feel comfortable in them. You can pick up sticks for Scandinavian (Nordic) walking, which has become popular with healthy lifestyle supporters. Thus, you will engage up to 90% of the muscles of the body, reduce the risk of falls and injuries, and receive additional health benefits. Nordic walking is especially beneficial for people over 60 years old.
Experts note a number of positive changes that occur in the body with regular walking. Walking with sticks is considered to be more effective.
- It improves balance, posture, and balance, which are necessary in everyday life.
- It increases muscle mass and strength.
- It increases aerobic endurance of the body - the ability to perform exercises and withstand physical activity for a long time.
- Studies and tests show an improvement in the lipid composition of the blood and of the general condition of the cardiovascular system.
When walking, the body consumes energy, therefore, those who want to lose weight can literally walk to the goal, following simple recommendations:
- During exercise, carbohydrates are consumed first (which are stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen), and then fats are burned. This means that the walk should be long enough - on average, at least an hour, and intense.
- Do not eat within one and a half hours before training and after training, so that the body burns its own fats, and does not use the newly received food.
The next step after walking to increase the intensity can be jogging - the technique and basic principles of which were developed by physiology professor Hiroaki Tanaka from Fukuoka University (Japan), who advised the emperor of Japan and his wife, causing a boom in a new type of physical activity in his country, and soon in the world.
The key to jogging is not to go too fast! Only small steps are acceptable, but many must be taken. According to Dr. Tanaka, controlling the intensity is simple: “Never lose your breath. If you can't talk easily, then you're moving too fast."
Jogging differs from ordinary running not only in a slower pace, but also in technique: the foot does not touch the ground with the heel – it lands on the middle part of the foot, which creates a much lower shock load on the knees, hips, and spine. Professor Tanaka advises: “Keep your back straight, shoulders relaxed; let the hands move naturally. Enjoy your run with a smile!” The optimal pace is about 180 short steps per minute, which can be counted using a fitness tracker or pedometer.
Slow jogging develops overall endurance, tones muscles, helps normalize weight. According to Hiroaki Tanaka, jogging burns twice as many calories for the same time as walking. The body is brought into the desired shape without tension and stress: it is enough to run for at least 30 minutes two or three times a week, while enjoying nature, talking with friends, and smiling at the world.
“If you don't run while you're healthy, you'll have to run when you're sick”
Horace spoke about the benefits of running. Continuing his thought, we suggest the following:
- If you feel that you have achieved good physical shape, strengthened muscles and ligaments through walking or jogging, and want to increase the intensity of your activities, move on to running.
- The main thing when you decide to run is to think over the strategy and tactics; Remember the motto “First of all, do no harm!” ("Primum non nocere").
- Running puts a much greater strain on the cardiovascular system and on the body as a whole, so be sure to consult your doctor before starting exercise.
A positive result can be expected if you are confident in the joy and pleasure that you will receive from training. Mode, proper nutrition, regular exercise, positive emotions every day - all this will definitely lead to actual changes (your body, muscles, sensations, discipline, focus, success).
We can learn certain rules from the experience of people who have run for many years with great joy, in any weather, under any circumstances, and, as a rule, early in the morning:
- Comfortable, environmentally friendly place to practice - it should be pleasing to the eye, aesthetic pleasure is important.
- Comfortable shoes (all standards must be met: wear resistance, good cushioning, ankle support…).
- Clothing that is pleasing to the eye and meets the standards of sports hygiene – breathable, without restricting movement.
- Removal of psychological stress. The experience of the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami will come in handy, which he generously shares in the book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: “I absolutely need this hour and a half of my daily run: I can be silent and be alone with myself - that is, observe one of the most important rules of mental hygiene.”
- You should not force but praise yourself: I am succeeding, I am able, I am enjoying it!
The topic of walking, jogging, and running is comprehensively studied by scientists, doctors, and people with experience. Many aspects are considered: health condition, genetics, chronic diseases, weight, mood, general level of physical fitness, etc. But the main thing is your choice, your conscious desire to be healthy, slim, fit, successful – and to believe that it will be so!