Images for walking benefits article Your coworker swears by her morning runs. Your neighbor claims to get all the exercise she needs by walking. So is one better than the other? The answer is a personal one. Both running and walking, when done on a regular basis, provide a full array of health benefits, including:

The key is determining which activity is best for you.

Calorie Expenditure

The first question many people ask when considering a new exercise is: How many calories does it burn? Mile for mile, running and walking burn approximately the same number of calories. But minute for minute, the faster your speed, the more calories you burn, giving running the calorie-burning edge.

Calories burned per 30 minutes of running and walking on flat surfaces
Weight (in pounds)
Walking30 min/mile7893108123135150
20 min/mile114132150171195213
15 min/mile147171198225252276
Running11.5 min/mile204240276315351387
9 min/mile291342393447498549
8 min/mile324375426480531582
7 min/mile366417468522573624

Risk of Injury

There is a lower risk of injury with walking than running. One study, published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, looked at 867 regular runners and walkers and found that walkers were less likely to get injured than runners. The risk of injury increases with increasing intensity and duration if you are not properly conditioned. A good rule of thumb is not to increase your mileage by more than 10% per week. Proper warm up and stretching will also reduce your risk of injury.

Fitting It Into Your Schedule

Walking can easily be spread out over the course of a day (ie, 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes during lunch, and 10 minutes in the evening) and generally does not require special clothing other than good shoes. Running, on the other hand, requires a complete change of clothes and a post-workout shower, so it makes more sense to do it over one block of time during the day.

Walking Is More Suitable for Some

People who have not exercised regularly in a long time may want to begin with walking and then progress to running. Unlike running, walking is also suitable—and beneficial—for people with certain medical conditions.

Getting a Complete Workout

To get the most out of your workout, try adding strengthening and stretching exercises. Strength training the upper body and torso is important since they do not get much of a workout during regular running or walking. Strength training your lower body is also important because it will enhance your walking and running performance. Regular stretching will help loosen up your muscles.

The Choice That’s Best for You

Remember, if you have a doctor’s clearance to run or walk, choosing one over the other ultimately comes down to which activity you prefer. Mixing them up can also be a great way to add variety and flexibility to your exercise schedule.