Walkers, Not Runners, Win the Race!
Do you remember the children’s story of the Rabbit versus the Turtle? Who won? The turtle isn’t it?
In a race, the turtle will win!
I know that’s a different story and that makes the previous statement controversial. But before my marathoner friends and readers howl in protest, I’d like to inform you that I’m talking as an orthopedic surgeon (with subspecialty training in hip and knee reconstruction) giving advice to previously sedentary people. Yes, previously sedentary people who may not be as fit like you.
So, let me begin by saying that to jumpstart a journey to a healthier lifestyle, I believe that walking -- a sport that doesn't require athleticism or expensive equipment -- is enough. Any person in any age group can’t go wrong with walking.
What are the advantages of walking over running?
1. Walking and running are both effective aerobic exercises (activities that burn calories and improve your overall fitness level by moving large muscle groups for a sustained period). However, running is considered a vigorous exercise, while walking is a mild to moderate exercise. With running, each time your foot strikes the ground, the impact causes trauma to the weight bearing joints, especially the knees. Walking briskly causes impact as well. However, the impact is much less.
2. While both activities can leave you sore at first, running is a higher intensity and impact type of exercise, thus, runners are generally more prone to injuries than walkers, especially if they don't stretch and warm up. I’ve seen more shin splints more frequently now than before because of the popularity of running nowadays. They can crop up if you overdo your running workout or wear shoes that don't give proper support. So make sure you are using a sturdy, stable pair of shoes.
3. Walking works better if you're beginning an exercise program or are severely out of shape. (Yes, I know that round is a shape. I know that joke). You can always gradually work up to a run.
As for me, do I walk or run a marathon? Obviously, I follow my own advice. I do walking, not running. I also bike (that would be another post topic) and lift some light weights. I also do stretching exercises in front of the bathroom mirror and do some poses ala Hulk Hogan or Ultimate Warrior (If you don’t know them, you’re not my age). J
“You don’t have to be a jogger or a marathon runner; all you have to do is move” — Dr. Paul Bendheim, author of “The Brain Training Revolution”
Walk, run, bike, swim. It’s up to you. As long as you move!
By the way, there is a diet/fitness "level-up" website with app created by a dear reader Ms Christine Chu. If you want to check it out, or use it, it's at slimkicker.com. It may motivate you to stick to your fitness/ weight loss goals. Goodluck!