Can walking really be as good a workout as running?
Of course, it all depends on your goals. If you're training to run a marathon, or want to get faster at running, then you do need to run. That stands to reason. If you're doing a particular sport, training needs to be sport-specific.
But if you exercise for weight loss, fat loss, cardiovascular health, weight maintenance, or for a feel-good mood boost, then your choice of exercise is far more open. And we think walking ticks a lot of boxes.
Don't be fooled into thinking that walking doesn't burn calories just because it feels relatively easy. It certainly does! Sure, it doesn't burn as many calories as running (minute-for-minute) but think about it this way. You can probably walk further, and for longer, than you could running. And you're able to do it every day, more than once a day if you want. Whereas you'd be pretty sore and stiff if you ran every single day. So, in the long-term, walking is a better calorie burner.
Experts think that walking actually burns more calories from fat than more intense exercise. The idea of "fat burning zones" has more or less been rejected, but latest thinking does support the idea that lower-intensity exercise uses more fat for fuel (higher intensity exercise uses more glycogen).
Whether you live by the beach, near hills, in flat countryside, or in a city, heading out for a walk never fails to be a pleasure. There's always something amazing to see, and you can witness your local area changing day by day with the seasons. You miss most of that when you're running!
Walking is a fantastic way to gently work the heart, lungs and cardiovascular system, keeping your entire body fit, strong and healthy at any age.
Walking isn't just good for the body and heart, it's great for the mind and soul too. Studies have shown walking to be great for low mood and depression, and of course it gets you outside into the fresh air and sunlight, boosting the body's stores of vitamin D.
People are more likely to stick with a walking routine than something more demanding - like running. It's possible to walk every single day of your life (and many people do), at any age, and even with injuries or illnesses. Walking is the ultimate can-do exercise.
Wherever you are, whoever you're with, you can get out for a walk. You can walk alone, with friends, with your kids, with your partner or with your dog. You can walk in cities and towns, or in wide open countryside. You can walk in the early morning, last thing at night, or during the day. All you need is a decent pair of shoes and weather-proof clothing.
So, is there any need to pound the pavements as a runner? We don't think so. Walking is free, enjoyable and accessible. Give it a try, you might just fall in love with the most basic exercise of all.