walking for exerciseIf you’ve been thinking about starting an exercise program, congratulations! Recognizing that physical fitness is an important part of maintaining good health is definitely a step in the right direction.  Although there are many forms of exercise, people often zero in on walking or running because neither requires practice before becoming “good at it” like tennis, golf, and many other forms of exercise. Walking and running are both convenient forms of exercise as well.  Many people simply open up their front door and start exercising. Of course, everyone has different goals when it comes to physical fitness. Hampton Roads Orthopaedics Spine & Sports Medicine want you to learn more about each form of exercise before deciding which one is right for you.

The Pros and Cons of Walking

Walking as a form of exercise has many benefits for your health and well-being.  Walking is great for:

  • beginners who are new to exercise
  • people with joint issue such as arthritis
  • the highly stressed — the slower pace promotes relaxation
  • those who want to begin more vigorous exercise later

There really aren’t too many negatives when it comes to walking as a form of exercise. Still, there are some reasons why some people might want to choose running over walking.  For those who have a very tight schedule, they might feel they want to get a lot of “bang for their buck” when they only have 20 or 30 minutes to squeeze in for regular exercise.  A 20 minute run will burn more calories and provide a more intensive cardiovascular workout than the same amount of walking. Over time, some people might find themselves getting bored with walking or they want a workout that will offer more challenge.

Up Your Game with Running

There’s no doubt that given the same amount of time, a runner will burn more calories and receive more cardiovascular benefits than someone who goes for a walk.  Running offers those with a competitive spirit the chance to continually challenge themselves by increasing their pace or increasing the length of their run.

On the flip side, there are also some cons when it comes to running.  Some of the cons include:

  • increased risk of injury
  • often too strenuous for beginners
  • high impact movements are tough on joints
  • competitive nature of running can increase stress levels for some

Summary

There really is no “one size fits all” form of exercise.  Each individual needs to evaluate their personal level of fitness, their personality type and what they want to accomplish through their fitness plan.  If you would like to know more about becoming physically fit, please contact us. Hampton Roads Orthopaedics Spine & Sports Medicine’s team of physical therapists, physician’s assistants and medical doctors will work with you to create a fitness plan that works with your physical needs and lifestyle.