Should you run or walk to exercise? (Part II)-A A +A
To Your Health
Thursday, October 31, 2013
IN A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, scientists had not directly compared the loads applied to people's knees during running and walking over a given distance.
To look into the issue further, the researchers first recruited 14 healthy adult recreational runners, half of them women with no history of knee problems. They then taped reflective markers to volunteer's arms and legs for motion capture purposes and asked them to remove their shoes and walk five times at a comfortable pace along a runway approximately 50 feet long.
The volunteers likewise ran the same course five times at about their usual training pace. The runners also experienced any pounding for a shorter period of time than when they walked, because their foot was in contact with the ground more briefly with each stride.
The net results of these differences, the researchers found out, was the amount of force moving through a volunteer's knees over any given distance was equivalent, whether they ran or walked. Admittedly, the runner generated more pounding with each stride, but took fewer strides than a walker, so over the course of, say a mile, the over-all load on the knees was about the same.
This finding provides a persuasive biomechanical explanation for why so few runners develop knee arthritis. Dr. Ross Miller, professor of kinesiology of the University of Maryland said, “measured over a particular distance, running and walking are essentially indistinguishable" in terms of the wear and tear they may inflict on the knees.
The researchers are quick to dispel the notion the results of the study is an endorsement of running for knee health. It is a reality that runners frequently succumb to knee injuries unrelated to arthritis such as patellofemoral pain syndrome- more often called "runner's knee".
Whatever age, we are aware of the health benefits of exercise. As we also know, no two individuals are exactly alike. Therefore, there is no such thing as one exercise that fits all. Your doctor is the best person to decide as to whether it's best for you to run or simply walk. Have fun!
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 31, 2013.