Running Versus Walking

By Molly M. Tompson

I LOVE to run. In high school I ran Cross-Country, and ran between 25-40 miles per week. Some days I would truck through the rain for ten miles, and other times I would jog lightly for only two or three. But no matter what, I loved to run.


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I also noticed that I was always so much hungrier during the cross country season. I could put away seconds and sometimes even thirds of dinner after cross country practice. After the season ended, I took a little break from running. And ever since I got to Penn State, I have been walking around ten miles per day! I noticed that my appetite has increased a bit from all of the walking. But I want to know the differences in health benefits, metabolism, and calorie burning from walking and running.

Everyone knows that exercise is good for you. It is good for your heart, maintaining a healthy weight, and even might brighten your mood. But which is better for you?

A study conducted that I found on the Greatist showed that runners were better at managing a healthy appetite than walkers; they were less likely to overeat. Interestingly, the study showed that running suppressed the appetites of the runners, and walking significantly increased the appetite of the walkers.  This is surprising to me, because I remember coming home from cross country and furiously raiding the cabinets for whatever I could get my hands on. I am a very small person, and running ten miles burns a lot of calories! The same website discussed a study in which walkers and runners had equal energy expenditure. The runners exercised for a shorter amount of time than the walkers, but they burned the same amount of calories and used up the same amount of energy. At the end of the study, the runners lost more weight. I actually did lose some weight during cross-country in high school, and so far, with all of my walking at Penn State, I have yet to lose a pound. The website concluded by saying that running burns more than two times the amount of calories that walking does. FitDay states that an average-sized person burns about 100 calories per mile while running.

The New York Times has supporting evidence to the first article. Running, according to the NY Times, is definitely better for weight loss than walking. This article alludes to a study conducted, though, that while running might be better for weight loss, walking is much better for disease prevention. The walkers had even lower risks for things like heart disease and high cholesterol.


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There is a down side to running, however. According to FitDay, running is considered a more intense form of exercise than walking is. In other words, it puts a lot of stress on the body and is more likely cause injuries. FitDay says that running on grass is better for your legs than running on a treadmill or a track (thanks, Cross Country!).


So overall, running and walking each have their pros and cons. Walking is more associated with disease prevention and is less likely to cause injury. Running helps more with weight management and calorie-burning. I think that people should do whatever exercise suits them best. And no matter that exercise I personally do, I am always hungrier than if I did none at all!

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4 thoughts on “Running Versus Walking

  1. Sarah Elizabeth Read

    Molly, I found this post so relevant because I too, am walking MANY miles every day. It’s hitting me how much an individual can walk in a day when they aren’t allowed to own a car! I’m glad to hear that walking has several prominent benefits though. I know walking doesn’t have the same physical effect that working out at the gym does, but I wonder how much of a difference it makes when on such a huge campus. I also wonder how PSU compares to other schools when looking at the amount of weight gained by freshman. I feel like it our school’s rate would be lower because of the amount that Penn State freshman are walking. Here’s an article that contains some really interesting stats about walking for college students!

  2. Avery Elizabeth Holland

    Molly, I hate running so it is nice to know that walking also has some benefits. Upon coming to Penn State, i calculated that I walk about 4 miles a day from walking to and from class and to various meals. At home I didn’t usually walk this much however, I played sports all year long throughout high school so I don’t feel my appetite has changed much. Hopefully this means I’ll avoid the freshman 15! To read further about the benefits of walking check out this article . It explains that walking daily may even improve creativity.

  3. Jacob Alexander Loffredo

    Molly, I love to run as well. From your blog I have now been informed that walking is very good as well, I don’t think you would disagree though that after a good run you have a great deal of freshness and accomplishment. After a walk I don’t get that feel, I kind of just feel how I feel every other moment of the day. I recently have read an article on how running makes you happier, it was a proven study, quite interesting if you want to take a look Here/a> is a link of it.

  4. Hannah Elizabeth Welty

    Speaking of walking, I feel as if since I got here, I have walked approximately 9423 miles more each day than I usually would! Joking of course, however I am easily surpassing 30,000 steps each day which is absolutely awesome for the days I want to take off from the gym because then I have some excersie under my belt regardless. We all hear about the freshman 15 in fact someone wrote one of their blogs about it! However, a cousin of mine went through the REVERSE freshman 15 and lost 15 pounds freshman year of college simply because of all the walking around! I am hoping I have similar luck!

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