If you’re about to embark on a fitness plan designed to boost your overall level of health and take you one step further towards your fitness goals, you might be trying to decide whether you should use running or walking as a cardio method.

Which variation of exercise will offer best results? Is one really better than the other?

In order to fully determine which one is going to be best for you, you need to take into account all the pros and cons that each variation has to offer. Let’s take a closer peek into what you need to know.


The great thing about walking is that it’s ideal for any beginner to start. Almost anyone can walk and you can easily vary the speed in which you walk to match your fitness requirements.

In addition, walking is still weight baring, but is not nearly as high in impact as running, so it can be perfect for those who may experience joint pain.

Walking is also not going to be as stressful on your entire body, so if you are doing intense weight lifting workouts multiple days per week, walking can be a great way to help get some cardio, but still recover properly between those sessions.

Walking can also be done on an incline very easily (if you’re using a treadmill) so this can help to assist you with strengthening the lower body muscles incredibly well.
Walking is also something that you can easily make social – going for a brisk walk with a friend is a great way to get a workout in and still be able to catch up about everything going on in each other’s lives.

Running doesn’t typically offer this benefit as most people can’t talk while they run.

The drawback to walking is that it won’t burn quite the calorie level that running will. This means that you will need to do more total walking to burn the same amount of body weight/fat in comparison to running.

In addition, walking will always only take your fitness level so high. At some point you will need to increase the intensity higher to boost your heart rate further and see enhanced cardiovascular benefits. That’s where running will come into play.


So now what are the main benefits to running? As previously suggested, running helps you earn top marks in terms of getting into great cardiovascular shape. It’ll get your heart rate up more significantly than walking will, which then helps to improve your ability to deal with fatigue as you perform other activities.

Running also burns more calories, minute for minute, in comparison to walking, so can be more helpful as far as fat loss is concerned.

The only exception to this however would be incline walking as if you get on a steep enough incline, this can help to boost your calorie burn quite extensively.

Running is also going to be better for strengthening the bones as it is more bodyweight baring, but at the same time, you want to be sure your bones are in good health or the impact will do more harm than good.

Finally, running can help provide great stress relief as well. While that isn’t to say that walking cant’, most runners will reach intensity levels high enough that their body will release some positive endorphins, which then can cause a relaxation sensation to occur in the body. This can be great for stress management.

So there you have the primary benefits of both running and walking. One exercise is not necessarily the ‘better’ choice, but rather it’s a question of which is best for you.

Author's Bio: 

Shannon Clark holds a Degree in Exercise Science and Sports Performance and is a certified AFLCA personal trainer. She has been working in the health and fitness industry for the last 12 years and writes for FitRated.com, a leading fitness equipment review site providing treadmill, treadclimber and elliptical reviews. View the top rated elliptical of 2013.