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Expert Says Walking Can Be Better For You Than Running

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She repor...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Given the option to run or walk, most people have always thought that running is the better workout.

According to local marathon runner and owner of Running Room, John Stanton, that’s not the case.

It can be intimidating to lace up your shoes, put on a track suit and head out for a run, especially if you don’t do it often.

“It can be daunting on people, because you’re worried about what the neighbors are going to say,” Stanton said.

But if you walk through the neighborhood, odds are no one thinks anything of it.

“It’s the most perfect exercise. For somebody who’s at home and carrying a little extra weight or smoking, if they are looking to change their lifestyle, walking is a brilliant choice because it allows them to do it in a gentle, non-intimidating way,” said Stanton.

Stanton addressed it all in his recent book, “Walking: A Complete Guide to Fitness, Health and Weight Loss.”

Stanton said there’s really only one major difference between running and walking.

“Walking takes a bigger investment of time,” Stanton said. “The beauty of it, though, is as a walker I’m going to sustain far fewer injuries.”

As a walker, you’re also getting fit.

“If you talk to an exercise physiologist, they’ll say that if you go and run five miles or walk five miles, most of the benefits are identical except for cardio and risk injury,” he said.

To get the cardio, you need to step it up.

“Walking is not, I call it the “Queen’s Walk.”  You’re not out walking and waving to your fans.  When you’re out walking, it’s “late for an appointment” walking,” Stanton said.

Another benefit: It’s social. Walking is something just about anyone in the family can do, from small children to the elderly.

“So you’re doing it with purpose, and personal community attachment. The more fun and social we make it, the better people are going to embrace this lifelong,” Stanton said.

A good program is to start with 20 minutes a day. Alternate a brisk walk with a stroll minute-by-minute, and stress followed by rest is best.

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