Slow-pokes, rejoice. A new study says you don't have to hustle to enjoy the health benefits that runners do. The researchers tracked the activity and health of both runners and walkers for a period of six years, and controlled for how much energy was expended by the exercisers. The control allowed them to compare "the inherent benefits of each form of exercise."
Since runners are typically sweatier and more out-of-breath than walkers, common sense indicates that running should be a better workout. But, the study's findings are good news for those of us who aren't exactly thrilled about sprinting. According to the results, it doesn't matter whether you are walking or running. What counts for cardiovascular health is how much energy is expended. "Runners aren't healthier by virtue of being runners," The Atlantic points out. "They're just more efficient in their exercising."
So, those of us who like to enjoy the scenery while we burn our calories can rest assured that we're not actually couch potatoes. As long as we walk for long enough — "about twice as long" as a runner would, according to lead author Paul Williams. We're okay with that... if it's nice out. (The Atlantic)