A brisk walk is healthier than running

A study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California has suggested that as long as you’re expending energy, the speed doesn’t matter.

At least, that’s the findings from an astonishing six-year-long study on over 48,000 runners and walkers. It showed:

Risk of developing Running Walking
Heart disease down 4.5% down 9.3%
High blood pressure down 4.2% down 7.2%
High cholesterol down 4.3% down 7%
Type 2 diabetes down 12% down 12%

The catch? The amount of energy expended needs to be equal – so to achieve the same results a walker will have to walk much further and for longer than a runner would need to run.

“Walking and running provide an ideal test of the health benefits of moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running because they involve the same muscle groups and the same activities performed at different intensities,” said study leader Dr Paul Williams, from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

“The more the runners ran, and the walkers walked, the better off they were in health benefits. If the amount of energy expended was the same between the two groups, then the health benefits were comparable.

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Should we label food by exercise needed, not calories?

An interesting study led by Sunaina Dowray, a student at the School of Medicine of the University of North Carolina, looked into the impact on people’s habits if they were shown one of four different menus, giving them the food’s calorie count, the time it would take to walk those calories off, the distance it would take to burn them, or none of this extra information.

People who viewed the menu without nutritional information ordered a meal with up to 200 kcals more than those with the exercise information.

This wasn’t in the real world- it was a hypothetical test online. But the results are promising; saving just 100 kcal twice a week could add up to over a kilo of weight loss over one year.