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Runner Tips

Walking vs. running: When to choose one or the other

Two runners on a sidewalk.
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The benefits of walking vs. running are not so different. One might think running is "better" or more advanced than walking, but that isn't always the case. Choosing walking vs. running is dependent on your individual health and fitness goals and where you are in your fitness journey.

Walking vs. running as a beginner

If you're completely new to fitness and not quite ready to run, walking is a smart and safe place to start. You can start at a casual pace that doesn't raise your heart rate to build muscle stamina. Over time, you can move to a brisk pace that raises your heart rate and serves as more of a cardiovascular workout.

The beauty is, when you're ready, you can mix a bit of running into your walking routine. Simply start out walking, then run for two minutes at a time, and continue to switch back and forth between the two. Some of the world's most elite runners start their training routine by walking and slowly building into a run. Walking can also be a great way to cool down after a run.

There simply isn't a "right" way to run or walk. Remember to focus on this key simple takeaway — getting out and moving, no matter how fast or slow, how far or near, is better than sitting on the couch. Every step forward moves the needle in the right direction toward your goals.

The health benefits of both

Both walking and running offer great health benefits. They can help you:

  • Increase your endurance
  • Build muscle tone
  • Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress
  • Improve your mood
  • Strengthen your heart, bones, and muscles

When it comes to walking vs. running, you can't go wrong. Everyone's bodies and goals are different, and what matters most is just getting out and moving in whatever way you enjoy most.

Our writer's advice is intended for informational or general educational purposes only. We always encourage you to speak with your physician or healthcare provider before making any adjustments to your running, nutrition, or fitness routines.

Written By
Tim Kelly

Marathon Runner & Coach

Tim Running

Ohio native that loves travel, gardening, and helping people do more with their running than they thought possible. 8+ years as a running coach. 12 years as a runner and cyclist.