Walk to your heart's content; in some ways, it's better than running

Published Apr 25, 2013 at 05:00AM

I enjoy running. Yet I quite acknowledge that not everybody does, and that some people find it, yes, even disdainful, or are almost apologetic about not liking it.

To which I remind them that there are all sorts of exercises out there; among one of the best, walking. Now I have official proof — a study published in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

The study of 33,060 runners and 15,045 walkers — between 18 and 80, most in their 40s and 50s — found that although vigorous running requires a bit more effort from the heart than moderately intense walking, the benefits are almost equal.

Here are some highlights:

• Walking reduced the chances of being diagnosed with hypertension by 7.2 percent; running, by 4.2 percent.

• Walking lowered diabetes risk by 12.3 percent; running, by 12.1 percent.

• Walking reduced high-cholesterol chances by 7 percent; running, by 4.3 percent.

And finally, walking lowered the risk of coronary heart disease by 9.3 percent; running, by — big difference here — 4.5 percent.

The study also showed, by the way, that walkers tend to meet the recommended exercise requirements more than runners do. Read more on healthland.time.com.

— Leslie Barker, The Dallas Morning News