Walking is as good as running, at least that what some people say. However, a group of researchers has something to say about this as they think that it depends entirely on the calories burned and does not have something to do with the time spent. Several studies have been conducted about the question for years – seems like there is no end on the debate the benefits of running and walking.
Paul Williams of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California and Paul Thompson of Hartford Hospital in Connecticut believe that they have put an end to the debate. This is the first study, wherein researchers compared tens of thousands of runners to tens of thousands of walkers. What they got is just as any common sense would say.
Williams noted how it takes longer to walk than to run a mile. But, if they are compared in terms of the energy used they can be compared. Simply put, using the same number of calories means getting the same benefit.
For the study, researchers studied 33,060 runners that take part in the National Runners’ Health Study, and 15,045 walkers in the National Walkers’ Health Study. All of the participants got their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar measured before the race starts. Then after six, researchers got back at them to see whether some of the participants was diagnosed with high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol or diabetes.
In the journal, American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Williams and Thompson reported that those who exercised in terms of energy output got the same benefit despite performing different activities – running and walking.
Williams claimed that the finding made sense because both runners and walkers have a habit of monitoring the distance and time spent. Other people have a hard time estimating the time and effort that they put on exercising.
Runners and walkers both use the same method called MET. MET stands for Metabolic Equivalent of Task, which means a physiological measure on how to express the energy cost of physical activities. Williams said that if you are going to walk at a brisk pace, you can burn 3.8 METS, or 3.8 times as much energy spent sitting for the same time.
One MET of walking equals a kilometer, or more than half a mile. However, running is far more effectual than walking, so runners do burn more calories for the same amount of time.