Karl Henry in a blue top, running on a beach

Running or fast walking, which is better?

Pen Karl Henry Glasses 2 min read

This is a question I get asked all of the time! The real answer is whichever one you enjoy the most Any form of cardiovascular exercise is great for your body and your mind but no matter what the benefits are, if you don’t enjoy it, it’s going to be another short term quick fix that just won’t last.

In order for exercise to be a lifetime change, it has to be something you enjoy. Both running and walking are great for your health, your body, your lungs and your mood. They are both forms of cardiovascular exercise, which is anything that gets your heart rate up. The biggest difference is the amount of impact that they place on your joints such as your back, your hips, your knees and your ankles. Running places a huge amount of pressure on your joints and is one of the reasons you may be advised to avoid it. Personally, I run, walk and hill walk and enjoy all of them equally. There are some tips that I can give you that are important for both running and walking, ensuring that you are getting the most out of your session: 

Get your runners checked: Take your runners and turn the sole up towards the ceiling. The sole of the shoe should be evenly worn. If not they you may need to get your gait checked. Your gait is how your foot hits the surface and depending on your gait, you will require a certain type of runner. Most sports stores nationwide will offer this service. 

Start measuring: Measuring is the most important aspect to making lifelong changes to your fitness. In terms of running or walking, you can measure your time for a certain distance or you can measure the distance covered in a certain time. For walking, aiming to cover 4 miles or 6.4 km in an hour is a great goal to aim for. Then at least one walk or run a week you can aim to beat that measurement. This helps to keep you focused and also that as you get fitter you keep pushing the body. 

Make it vigorous: So, here’s another important tip for exercise to be beneficial, in terms of cardiovascular exercise, I truly believe that you need to be working hard enough to get the benefits. Vigorous, for me, is working hard enough to be somewhat out of breath but still be able to have a conversation. It’s not too uncomfortable but ensures that you are progressing your training all of the time as you know how hard you need to work.

These three simple tips will get you fit and deliver so many benefits, regardless which form of cardio exercise you choose, above all don’t forget to have fun and get your friends involved too.

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Karl Henry

Karl Henry is one of Ireland's most recognised and leading personal trainers, and is the name that is synonymous with training in Ireland. He kick-started his personal training company by training clients in their homes in 2004. Now renowned as a personal trainer to the stars, Karl is responsible for creating some of the most famous physiques in fashion, music, politics and the corporate world.