Walking vs Running

OK so we all know that both running and walking are great ways to keep fit…in fact, just moving is a great start. But which one is better for you? Running is a much more effective way to burn calories and improve cardiovascular fitness, but walking has its own benefits too.  I want to share with you my own fitness journey.

So I have always enjoyed exercise and sport from a very young age…I still play hockey, more so now for the social benefits and time out from being a mum. I am very competitive, with others but mostly myself. I feel I have to push myself, to improve my time, to get stronger and faster and be at the top. What I began to realise once I hit 40 is that I no longer have the capacity or the need to smash my body so much. I have realised that I have to work twice as hard to achieve the same results as I did in my 20’s and 30’s but I also now have a better relationship and acceptance of my body. I now want to do exercise that doesn’t hurt my body so much but rather makes me feel better physically and mentally so that when I am 60 or 70 I can still be active.

Ok so back to running vs walking. I never understood people who walked for exercise…I thought that this is not exercise…if I wasn’t running and it wasn’t hurting then it wasn’t doing anything right? Well, that is not true. Whilst I still love running, I have slowly learnt to enjoy and look forward to walking a few times a week. I stick my headphones on and listen to amazing women such as Marie Forleo inspire me to be a better businesswoman and teach me as I tune out for 30 minutes of my day. I have learnt that whilst walking doesn’t hurt as much, I don’t sweat as much and I don’t burn as many calories in the same time frame as running, that the mental benefits far outweigh the physical ones. I feel clearer, less stressed and able to think through and process all the things running around in my head. Whether it be running around after my very active three kids, home duties, making time to see my friends, cooking dinner…which is a whole separate topic I will discuss another time…walking has given me a new form of both physical and mental release.

I have gone from the mindset of if I don’t smash my body in the gym at least 5 times a week then I am not doing enough to if I just do some type of movement most days that is still good enough. I now listen to my body and if I am feeling tired then I do 15 minutes of yoga and stretching instead of pushing through it. If I don’t get to do any exercise on the weekends then that is ok.

It is all about balance.

Sometimes you need to slow down in order to go further.

So the reason I wanted to write this post is that this morning I ran 5km in a good time and was proud of myself as it has taken me weeks to get back to that distance after having two months off exercise over the Christmas holidays. Yes I know 5km is not very far and many people run 3 times that distance every day but I am still proud as I am only running once a week now as I feel my body (mainly my knees and hips) can not cope with more than that long-term….hmm maybe it is called “maturity’?

So now my weekly exercise routine looks like this:

1 x run

3 x brisk walking for 30 minutes

4 x Pilates workouts

1 x 20 minutes yoga

If I can fit in something on the weekend I do but normally kids sport takes over.

So my point is I have come to realise that sometimes less is more. Sometimes doing less is better for your body. Sometimes the high intensity, smashing ourselves 6 days a week does more damage than good, but that for each stage in life you do what makes you feel good but also don’t be afraid to slow down and take time out and enjoy the mental benefits of exercise not just being concerned with the way you look.

As Joseph Pilates said all those many years ago: “Change happens through movement & movement heals”.

So get moving!

Briony x




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