Californian researchers made a comparison data from 33,060 runners in the National Runners’ Health Study and 15,045 walkers in the National Walkers’ Health Study.
The result showed that the same energy used for moderate intensity walking and vigorous intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and possibly coronary heart disease over the studies’ six years.
The study participants were 18 to 80 years old, with an average in range in their 40s and 50s. Men represented 21% of the walkers and 51.4% of the runners.
Unlike previous studies, the researchers assessed walking and running expenditure by distance, not by time. Participants provided activity data by responding to questionnaires.
Comparing energy expenditure to self-reported, physician-diagnosed incident hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes and coronary heart disease, researchers found:
- Running significantly reduced risk for first-time hypertension 4.2% and walking reduced risk 7.2%.
- Running reduced first-time high cholesterol 4.3% and walking 7%.
- Running reduced first-time diabetes 12.1% compared to 12.3% for walking.
- Running reduced coronary heart disease 4.5% compared to 9.3% for walking.
Thus, in nearly all measurements for health protection, the walkers beat the runners.