Walking is as heart-healthy as running

8 April 2013

New health research conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA) reveals brisk walks provide the same health benefits as running.

Running has been linked with reduced risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease and high cholesterol. It was originally believed intense exercise provided greater benefit than walking. The new AHA study now suggests they are of equal value. So long as the energy used is equivalent to that exerted during a run, the health benefits are the same.

However, walkers do need to travel the same distance in order to attain similar benefits, meaning it will take them a longer amount of time to get the same health boost runners do.

Spanning six years, the AHA study analysed 15,045 walkers and 33,060 runners. Over time, the runners’ risk of high blood pressure dropped 4.2 per cent, compared to walkers’ seven per cent decrease. Risk of high cholesterol fell 4.3 per cent for runners and seven per cent for walkers. Runners’ risk of diabetes and heart disease dropped 12.1 per cent and 4.5 per cent, compared to walkers’ 12.3 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

Researchers say the results are equivalent, considering the different make-up of the two groups.

The British Heart Foundation’s Doireann Maddock commented on the findings: “Whether it’s walking, jogging or running, staying active will help control your weight, reduce blood presure and cholesterol, and improve your mental health”.

Posted by Philip Briggs

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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