There are many differences between walking and running but we will highlight a few important ones here. An average person will burn about 100 calories per mile whether walking or running. Walking one mile will obviously take more time than running one mile so running will burn more calories per time spent than walking. Although calorie estimates are truly estimates and everyone burns calories differently, running will burn more calories per time spent versus walking. Both will burn approximately the same amount of calories for the same distance traveled.
Other differences include the following: running is harder on the joints and requires a higher degree of fitness than does walking, running will effect the heart rate more than walking which requires less effort from the heart, lungs, and muscles. Both will provide an excellent cardiovascular workout if the heart rate is raised to your own target range. Generally, those who have been sedentary, are overweight, have joint problems or other specific physical limitations, or are at a below average fitness level should begin with a walking program and progress to a running program as their fitness level improves.
Some people prefer one activity over the other. The choice to walk or run is a personal choice, but make sure that the choice you make can raise and keep your heart rate at its target level. One or the other may be either too easy or too hard to do this effectively. You can automatically calculate your target heart rate and learn how to determine your resting heart rate on our site. Go to the Fitness Training section of our site and click on the Target Heart Rate button to calculate your individual target heart rate. Remember to always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.