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How Walking and Running Impact Your Body

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

—Aurora, IL

running on a track, athletic shoes, getting exercise or partaking in sports and sporting events
A person runs on a track with athletic shoes

Exercise, whether outside or at the gym, can provide you with numerous health benefits that help you out in the long run (no pun intended). Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, is some of the easiest exercise that you can do-- and gets the heart pumping and oxygen flowing through your body. Two of the most popular kinds of cardiovascular exercise are walking and running, which both can sufficiently aid in the journey of embracing fitness as a lifelong passion.

walking in a large city with walking shoes on a road and getting aerobic and physical exercise
A person walks in the middle of a city

Walking may seem like an ordinary activity, but walking at the right pace can burn lots of calories and help with weight loss in the process. For the average person, anywhere from 2.5 mph (24 minutes/mile) to 4 mph (15 minutes/mile) can be considered a moderate-intensity exercise. However, everyone is different and this depends greatly on your prior physical fitness. Tailoring these recommendations to your personal abilities is very important. Because your heart and lungs are working hard to circulate blood throughout the body (especially to the legs which need it during walking), they will get stronger as you continue to walk. Strengthening the body helps defend against heart disease and stroke. Additionally, burning fat and losing weight is a potential result of regular walking. All in all, walking is a great way to exercise easily and cost-effectively.

sprinting and running on a track for a competition or a race and strengthens muscles in legs
A man sprints on a track during a race

For those looking to take their exercise to the next level, running is another great cardiovascular exercise. While walking is somewhat underrated, running is often heralded as one of the best forms of exercise. There are many types of running, but most casual runners will opt for the regular jog. Jogging can burn anywhere from 8-12 calories per minute, whereas higher intensity running can burn up to 15 calories a minute! However, if you are new to regular physical exercise, then you should start with brisk walking (which is still a great exercise), then progress to a slow jog before working up to a run. Running has all of the health benefits of walking, like strengthening muscles and bones, and may show results faster than walking. If you become more invested, there are even local competitions and opportunities for new friends. As for fueling recommendations, carbohydrates are the main macromolecules in your body that give you energy. If you do aerobic exercise regularly and for extended periods of time, you may need to ensure that your carbohydrate consumption is up to scratch. This contrasts with many of the misleading dietary recommendations that say to ditch carbs. This doesn’t mean that ice cream, hamburgers, and other junk food is the best choice before working out. Those foods may have carbohydrates, but they also have lots of fat and other unhealthy items and are better to enjoy in moderation. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains take more time to digest but are healthier for the body.

In conclusion, walking and running are great forms of cardiovascular exercise and ways to become or stay fit while having fun. Many people have already tried these sports and still love them to this day. If you haven’t already, go ahead and try them; this may be the start of a lifelong passion.

Enjoying running? Then SPRINT to the STEME events page and sign up for one!

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