Walking lowers heart disease risk more than jogging

Good news for buggy-pushing mums as walking is shown to be best form of exercise

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If even the thought of pounding the treadmill has you breaking out in hot sweats, or you’re not sure how to keep up your exercise regime during pregnancy, then relish this latest news – walking reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure better than jogging.

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Of course, we’re not talking about walking to and from the fridge here, you have to expend the same amount of energy as you would while running. But if the output is comparable (you’re likely to have to walk further and longer than you would run) the health benefits are higher for those who walk rather than jog, a report in The Times details. 

Lead author Paul T. Williams, whose team carried out the study in the US, explains, “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.”

Therefore, travelling a kilometer cut the risk of high blood pressure by 4.2 per cent for running, compared with 9.3 per cent for walking. The risk of high cholesterol fell by 4.3 per cent for running each kilometer and by 7 per cent for walking.

So, take a brisk walk for an hour and the health benefits will match those of a half hour run, plus for many it may be a more sustainable exercise. Although, remember that if you do run, you’re likely to do more exercise than those choosing to walk, as you can condense it into smaller amounts of time.

Official recommendations from Chief Medical Officer in the UK advise everyone to do two and a half hours of moderate activity each week, or an hour and a quarter of vigorous exercise, which you can choose to do in ten-minute intervals, too.

This weekend, bundle the kids up and go for a nice brisk walk or if you do fancy donning the running shoes, follow our week-by-week running guide.

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