Heel Toe Express: Walking Vs Running
The difference between walking and running is not based on pace. At any speed, a walker has one foot on the ground at all times, but a runner is airborne during some part of every stride. Some competitive runners have “hang time” of 45%. Walking is not slow running; a competitive racewalker (speed walker) can zip past a recreational jogger.
Running is a high-impact activity. What goes up must come down. Each stride a runner takes subjects their body to a stress 3 times their body weight. During a 5km run, runners legs will have to absorb more than 100 tons of impact force. Running can be safe and enjoyable. At the same time walkers (1% to 5%) have a much lower risk of exercise-related injuries than runners (20% to 70%).
Walking is a low-impact activity. Low-impact means it is easier on your joints and body. While walking, you always have one foot on the ground. Keeping one foot on the ground helps a walker with keeping their balance. Also you can wear anything while you’re walking, but it is best to wear bright colours so you’re highly visible.
Since walking is less intense than running, you will have to walk longer periods of time and/or get out more often. You might want to try to get out for 30 minutes about 5 times a week. A runner might go out for 20 minutes about 3 times a week. Although a runner has shorter exercise periods, they still have to spend time on warm-ups, cool-downs and changing their shoes and clothing. If a runner develops injuries then they would have to spend time in rehab. You could factor in the extra time for running and then walking looks like a pretty good exercise choice.
A nice thing about walking is that you don’t need any special skills and you don’t need any lessons. The best thing is to walk comfortably and naturally. But if you want some tips on how to walk better than try this. Try to keep your chin up and your posture erect, your shoulders square and your eyes forward. Keep your back straight, butt tucked in and your stomach flat. Keep your arms close to your body and bent at the elbows. Take a natural stride, land on your heels and then roll forward to push off with your toes. Swing your arms as you walk and keep up a steady pace.
“Walk to be healthy, walk to be happy.”
– Charles Dickens
Walking is a safe choice for an exercise. But if you choose to walk or run, just get out and start living a healthier life.