Physical activity is a key component of your healthplan and is the single most often prescribed therapy in my practice. We know that exercise decreases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis and cancer. It can lighten depression, improve self esteem and decrease joint pain. Best of all, you can derive all of these benefits for the cost of a good pair of sneakers – no gym pass needed. I totally love that!
So what is the best type of exercise – walking or running? And, to be clear, I am not talking about a walk admiring the flowers – I am talking about an “I’m missing the bus!!” kind of a walk…a walk where you can talk but not sing. The answer is both – walking and running can give you great health benefits. The difference is in two key points:
- Walking has less injuries and is easier on the joints
- Running burns more calories
The best exercise is one that you will stick with and that you enjoy. You should target 30 minutes on most days of the week. Super busy and don’t have time for a 30 minute block? No worries – a 10 minute walk or run counts!
If you are beginning anew or have joint or other conditions that would limit a run, perhaps walking is best. If you have been walking successfully and want pick up the pace, perhaps running will be best. Or, you can mix it up based on how you feel each day.
- -For the walkers among you that want to try to run, consider a free training app for your smartphone, for example, the “couch potato to 5K runner app”
- - If you are exercising outside be safe with these tips
- -If you are using a treadmill as part of your routine, consider listening to music. There is a science behind the beats, and the type of music you listen to helps you maintain your pace. You can readily find these online. Some examples are below:
- Beginner pace walk – 116 beats/minute: “Smooth” by Santana
- Brisk pace walk – 120 beats/minute: “I Feel The Earth Move” by Carole KingFast pace walk – 129 beats/minute: “Faithfully” by Journey
- Power pace walk – 139 beats/minute: “Roxanne” by The Police
- Running – 160 beats/minute: “I Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles
The more you move, the more you will want to move.
Lace Up – Move On – Live Well
Speak to your healthcare provider about the right exercise for you.