Good one for those of us who think running is overrated

To run or not to run?

To run or not to run? That is the question. I ran for years but felt that it was taking a toll on my body, primarily my knees and hips. That’s when I started walking five days a week, rain or shine, for 45 minutes to an hour. It turns out I was doing my body good.

In a new study, researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California and Hartford Hospital in Connecticut found that walkers reduced their health risks as much as or more than runners, at least when it came to things like heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Researchers studied data on more than 33,000 runners and almost 16,000 walkers. They then compared people who ran or walked for fitness to those who did neither. The results were gratifying for people who prefer walking over running. Compared to people who did neither:

  • High blood pressure risk fell by 4.2 percent for runners and 7.2 percent for walkers.
  • High cholesterol risk fell by 4.3 percent for runners and 7 percent for walkers.
  • Diabetes risk fell by 12.1 percent for runners and 12.3 percent for walkers.
  • And most amazing to me — heart disease risk fell by 4.5 percent in runners and 9.3 percent in walkers.

Remember, the No. 1 cause of death in America is heart disease. The study also found that, as far as heart health goes, distance covered was more important than time spent running or walking.

That’s OK by me, because I can walk a lot farther than I can run. It just takes me a little longer to do it.

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