Walking Reduces Risk of Heart Disease Compared to Running

November 8, 2013

Many people ask which type of exercise is better – walking or running? The answer depends on what you’re trying to accomplish in your workout, but walking has surprising long-term health benefits.

A recent study found that brisk walking lessens the risk of heart disease more than running, when both physical activities were compared and the same amount of energy was used. That means, you really can walk your way to better heart health!

The researchers studied 33,060 runners and 15,045 walkers aged 18 to 80 over a period of six years. The results showed several benefits of walking. A point to pay attention to is that the benefits of walking outweighed the benefits of running when the same amount of energy was used.

For every calorie burned, the walking participants experienced a stronger impact on heart disease risk factors, and walking ultimately reduced the total risk of heart disease by 9.3 percent. Running reduced the risk of heart disease by only 4.5 percent.

The benefits of walking found in the study seemed to be endless! The risk of high blood pressure was reduced by 7.2 percent in the walking participants, while the runners experienced only a 4.2 percent reduced risk of high blood pressure.

Additionally, the risk of high cholesterol was reduced by 7 percent in the walking participants, while runners experienced a 4.3 percent reduction.

The study also found that the risk of diabetes was lowered by 12 percent for both walkers and runners.

At its most basic level, the study shows that it’s important to stay active to lower your risk of harmful diseases. Remaining sedentary isn’t doing your body any favors, so stand up, start walking, or hit the gym!

“People are always looking for an excuse not to exercise but now they have a straightforward choice to run or to walk and invest in their future health,” study leader Dr. Paul Williams, from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said.

We’ve relayed our love of adjustable height desks, and showed the benefits of standing countless times, but if you want to greatly improve your health, and shed pounds along the way, you may want to think about a treadmill desk.

You can experience the same benefits as the walking participants by using a treadmill to accompany your adjustable height desk. Think about it: reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol – all symptoms the body is exposed to the longer it remains sedentary.

Whether you choose to add a treadmill to your standing desk and walk to better health, or decide to hit the gym after work, just make sure to stay active on a daily basis!

The study was reported in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. See the story from The Guardian.

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