Walking and running are amongst the most popular of physical activities, but which is best? Nope, no easy answers to this vexing question - it all depends on what your objectives are!
If you're looking to lose weight than running wins by, erm, a mile! A recent study published in the US has shown this to be the case: you can see the publication here: "Greater Weight Loss From Running than Walking". In fact, the survey showed in the long term if your main aim is to keep your body weight constant, then running is definitely the better of the two exercises. The scientists can't exactly pinpoint why this is the case, but it would seem that in being more strenuous, and burning more calories per hour, running simply has the edge in energy expenditure. However, even when they had participants in the survey burn the same number of calories in both exercises over a weekly period, they still found running kept the weight off better. Intriguingly, it might be the case that running suppresses the appetite more after exercise - so you're less likely to consume the calories again that you've just burnt off! Another survey, this time using 10 committed female walkers, appears to show this to be the case.
However, we shouldn't knock walking - it can offer a lower impact route for many to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Studies have also found that hiking has health benefits we might never have imagined - such as reducing the risk of aged-related cataracts. More recent research has shown once again that both runners and walkers have far less risk of high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol profiles, heart disease and diabetes - all of which are increasingly common in Western societies with the stresses and challenges of modern living. Runners can reduce their risk of heart disease by exercising for just one hour per day by 4.5%, while walkers have a 9% less risk if they exercise for the same length of time each day - taking just 60 minutes out of your schedule to enjoy a walk or run clearly has an amazing results!