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Walking offers just as many benefits as running

April 9, 2013

When it comes to exercise, it's easy to assume that running is always a better choice than walking. After all, you tend to be more tired after going for a jog than a stroll around the park. However, new research from the American Heart Association (AHA) found that walking may offer the same cardiovascular benefits as running, and the findings add another reason why regularly going on walks is part of a healthy lifestyle for seniors.

The extensive study relied on an analysis of more than 49,000 people who participated in either the National Runners' Health Study or National Walkers' Health Study. Over the course of six years, researchers found that while running is qualified as vigorous activity and walking is categorized as moderate, if you exert the same amount of energy over the course of the exercise, you'll enjoy the same benefits. Specifically, you'll have a much lower risk of hypertension, high blood pressure and diabetes.

"The more the runners ran and the walkers walked, the better off they were in health benefits," said study author Dr. Paul T. Williams. "If the amount of energy expended was the same between the two groups, then the health benefits were comparable."

Walking is especially beneficial if you're among the millions of seniors managing arthritis. For starters, it is lower impact so it reduces the pressure on your bones and joints, but it also can help relieve some of the symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise is a key component of arthritis treatment because it can help strengthen your bones and muscles while also providing you with more energy throughout the day.