What’s Better? Walking vs. Running

Deciding to be more physically active is always a step in the right direction, and we’re here to help you decide which is better for you: walking or running. There is much debate between walking vs. running, and it truly boils down to your personal preference.


People walking in a groupWalking can be for everyone. It allows people to hold a conversation while exercising, so it can be included as a social endeavor and not a dreaded form of exercise, which may encourage people to walk more! Walking is an easy way to begin an exercise regime for most people.

It’s also encouraged for post-surgery rehabilitation, as well as for cardiovascular health. People who suffer from hip and knee pains are also encouraged to walk, because it is a low impact exercise when compared to running.


Running is obviously more intense than walking and is associated with a higher degree of total calories burned. Running also allows higher levels of cardiovascular fitness to be reached. While walking can challenge the cardiovascular system, running can reach intensities that walking alone is unable to meet.

For those who are driven by competitions, races are readily available for motivation to remain active and to strive for a higher level of fitness. It is a high impact exercise, so people with joint problems may want to avoid this mode of exercise.

Know Your Target Intensity

People running and walking on treadmill

For people looking to lose weight, it’s vital to know the intensity that allows you to burn the most calories per minute and fatigue the least. This is known as your target intensity. To find your target intensity level, begin with a very light intensity exercise, such as walking on a treadmill.

Gradually increase the intensity until you are unable to speak efficiently. The point you begin to struggle talking, but can still speak, is roughly the best intensity for weight loss. The intensity should be difficult but doable. For some, this will result in a light jog and others a higher running intensity.

…and the Best is…

Bottom line, both walking and running are great forms of exercise. A combination of both can be used for weight loss and increasing cardiovascular fitness levels. Just remember to participate in moderate exercise at least five days a week for 30 minutes.

For More Information

The Center for Healthy Lifestyles at OSF St. Joseph is available to answer questions you may have about what’s best for your exercise routine – walking or running. You can contact them at (309) 661-5151 or visit the OSF St. Joseph Center for Healthy Lifestyles.

About Author: Jamie Peel

Working as a Marketing Specialist at OSF St. Joseph, two days are never the same for Jamie Peel. However, one constant in Jamie's position is writing. She acts as the hospital's writer, working closely with clinical and non-clinical staff to offer up-to-date and reliable information regarding health trends, hospital updates, and more.

Jamie received her BS in Mass Media from Illinois State University and has a background in broadcast journalism which helps her tell stories for OSF St. Joseph every day.

This author is no longer writing for this blog.

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Categories: Diet & Exercise