Physicians routinely recommend regular exercise for health and fitness reasons. The CDC as well as the American Heart Association recommend an average of 20-30 minutes of moderate intensity sessions per day. A recent New York Times article discusses running vs. walking, two of the most common forms of exercise. Both activities have multiple health benefits, including decreased risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, diabetes, and cataracts. In recent research, as the article reports, patients who ran were also found to be consistently thinner and maintained their body mass index more consistently compared to those who walked, particularly in adults over the age of 55. Furthermore, runners were found to consume fewer calories after exercise compared to walkers and non-exercisers. These findings were consistent even when the level of energy expenditure was the same.
Both walking and running are encouraged to be part of a healthy lifestyle. Higher intensity exercises like running or cycling appear to have the added benefit of maintaining or lowering body mass. For people who have never exercises regularly before or have difficulty running, starting a walking routine is recommended.