There have been a few articles published recently based on the research of Paul T Williams which has used the same dataset to publish two opposing findings. One research article showed that people who ran regularly were less likely to gain weight than habitual walkers when the same amount of energy was expended during their exercise routines.  

Another article published by the same author using the same dataset suggested that running is no better than walking when it comes to the prevention of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Confused? This new research shows that it doesn’t matter so much whether you run or walk so long as you have the same energy expenditure.  The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention equalizes different workouts with varying intensities according to a standard exchange rate of 2 to 1. That is, for every minute you spend running you could be walking for 2 minutes and have the same energy expenditure and the same preventative effect on your cardiovascular health.

So the good news is that whether you enjoy walking or running you can enjoy good health & in particular improve your cardiovascular health. The question is whether you want to exercise for 30 minutes or 60 minutes.

There are other considerations for the type of exercise you perform including your weight, pre-existing conditions and biomechanics, which may influence your choice of working up a sweat! Don’t forget to check with your GP or osteopath before starting a new exercise program and discuss which form of exercise might be best for you.

Article written by Dr Melanie Woollam (Osteopath)