Brisk walking as good as running
They say milk does the body good, but so does a brisk walk. According to recent research, brisk walking is just as good as running for reducing cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes risk — three major players in the development of heart disease.
In fact, in a statement, one expert at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California says, “Both activities reduce risk factors, and if you expend the same amount of energy for each, you get the same benefits.”
Researchers agree that time and mileage do matter, which may give running a slight advantage, because runners tend to cover twice as much distance in the same amount time as brisk walkers.
As part of the study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, researchers reviewed data from 49,000 runners and walkers in the National Runners’ Health Study and the National Walkers’ Health Study.
Over a period of six years, they found that both groups saw similar reductions in risks for high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even heart disease.
A closer look at the results
- Running reduced the risk for high cholesterol by 4.3 percent. Walking lowered it by 7 percent.
- Running reduced the risk of high blood pressure by 4.2 percent. Walking reduced the risk by 7.2 percent.
- Running decreased the risk of heart disease by 4.5 percent. Walking reduced it by 9.3 percent.
“I try to get every one of our patients into an exercise program, regardless of their age,” he says. “I almost always begin with a walking program because I know it modifies all the cardiac risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure and sugar. But the best part is that it helps people just feel better.”
Bufalino says in addition to running and walking there are other things you can do to help you stay heart healthy:
- Eat a Heart Healthy diet, which includes three balanced meals without snacking.
- Maintain a healthy weight or begin a program to start weight loss.
He says when it comes to weight management the key is to set reasonable goals like losing 10 pounds in six months. “That’s less than 2 pounds per month and definitely doable for most people.”
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