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Published on June 5th, 2013 | by ScientiFIT

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The Benefits of Running

Did you know:

  • Walking uses THREE times more energy than sitting? [1]
  • Running requires SIX times more energy than sitting? [1]
  • Walking can be considered a moderate intensity exercise and running can be considered vigorous in nature? [2]
  • Few studies have investigated the LONG-TERM effects of running versus walking?

A recent study [2] is one of the first of its kind to perform long-term research (6.2 years) on a large number of runners and walkers (50,000 subjects). The results of this study, as well as others [3] suggests sustained beneficial effects of running (see Figure 1).

Some of these benefits include:

  • Significantly reduced body mass index (BMI) in runners versus walkers
  • Significantly smaller waist circumference in runners versus walkers
  • Significantly reduced risk for development of cardiac disorders
Figure 1

Figure 1. The benefits of running

Others have also shown that running (and exclusively, running!) can have additional benefits. These include:

  • Generation of more neurons within the brain [4]
  • Reduced fat [5]

Perhaps one mechanism for the beneficial effects of running can be explained by the amount of energy required to run versus walk. One study [6] suggests:

  • Runners use significantly more energy (that is, Calories) during exercise than walkers (see Figure 2)
  • Runners use significantly more Calories than walkers even 30 minutes AFTER exercise (see Figure 2), suggesting that they maintain a higher metabolic rate post-exercise
Figure 2

Figure 2. Running requires significantly more energy than walking. As well, running continues to burn more calories even 30 minutes after exercise, compared to walking.


Altogether, studies suggest beneficial effects of running over walking. However, in the world of fitness, almost nothing is ever black and white! Therefore, future posts will examine a variety of factors that should be considered when selecting an exercise paradigm. This means that running may not be the appropriate form of exercise for all- even despite its wide range of beneficial effects.

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ScientiFIT is a site that translates the most recent scientific findings in the fields of fitness and nutrition into a language that is easy to understand by all.



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