Endurance | Walking vs. running | PICTURE | Women's Health & Fitness

GOAL: Endurance

According to PT and owner of Beachside Personal Fitness Tina Rutzou, “If you have always been a runner and are not sure if walking can be enough to maintain your general fitness, it can, but not with just a stroll around your neighbourhood. Map out your route before you leave home and aim to walk around five to six kilometres per hour the whole time.” If you only have time for a stroll in your lunch break, don’t use this as an excuse to discount walking altogether. “As a personal trainer of 15 years, my motto is ‘any movement is good movement’,” Rutzou says.

According to accredited exercise physiologist Anna-Louise Moule from Beyond Exercise Studio, “If you have always been a runner, walking will be enough to help maintain the health benefits of aerobic exercise and some baseline fitness, but not to maintain your fitness at the same level it is when running.” To increase fitness levels, Moule outlines there needs to be a structured side to your exercise by tracking things like the time taken to go a certain distance and how intense that exercise felt in order to keep improving your endurance levels. “If each week you set yourself a goal of covering more distance in a set time or increasing your time walking, then you will increase your fitness levels,” Moule says. For improving endurance by walking alone, the time required is longer than running to account for the reduced intensity. “Assuming you are injury free, I would recommend you get out for a good walk, one to two hours each walk, at least three to four times a week, more if you can, if you want to achieve your general fitness goal,” Rutzou says.

When training to improve endurance by running alone, be mindful of the higher risk of injury. “On the whole, walking is less stressful to the body and you are less likely to walk with bad posture. Bad posture and running are a really bad combination and cause injuries like shin splints, hamstring pain, lover back and shoulder problems,” Rutzou says. “Whether you walk or run, make sure you do it past a shop window from time to time and check out your posture. Chest up, shoulders back and relaxed, head up and have your body over your feet (not in front or behind your feet).”

Taking walking breaks while running will help for feeling less fatigued, so you can cover more distance in the near future. In a study conducted by Ohio State University, it was found that a combination of walking and running makes exercisers less tired overall, as our bodies are naturally wired to preserve energy, which a mix of running and walking allows.

WINNER: RUNNING

NEXT: Your essential running guide