Originally Posted by Big Studly
you burn the calories, but do you get the same cardiovascular benifits? I would think exercising with an elevated hear rate is better for you than just walking.
Depends on many different factors.
To gain cardiovascular benefits you are looking at putting yourself at 60-80% of maximum heart rate. For an untrained person this is relatively easy to do by walking. Fast walking (< 15 minute miles) would even put a so-so in shape person into the zone.
A person that is 25 would need to hit 117 beats per minute to get into the zone on the bottom end and 156 beats per minute on the upper end. You can do that with walking at a decent pace.
Running obviously uses energy quicker. So it doesn't take as long (in terms of time) to get the same benefits as walking.
Running increases the chance of injury over walking because impact ratio for running is about 3-4 times bodyweight where as walking is about 1 times bodyweight.
If the goal is cardio fitness and weight loss only then walking, while not as efficient, is as much beneficial as running (you receive the same benefit as running just takes you longer).
In my case, running is my only option, because there is no way in hell I'm a good enough walker to walk a 3 hour marathon.
I'm not talking about walking, holding your girlfriend's hand and strolling around the lake. I'm talking walking less than 15 minute miles.
Interestingly, the elite walkers can finish a 10K in less than 42 minutes which comes out to a 6 minute, 46 second pace per mile. Hell, some dude from Spain walked 40 KM (just short of a marathon) in 3 hours and 2 minutes. That's about 7 minutes 16 seconds per mile and only about 30 seconds a mile more than my personal best running a marathon.
Basically, the difference between race walking and running is that in race walking one foot must be on the ground at all times.
In comparison, the last Dallas Whiterock Marathon had an average finish time of 4:21:04.
Bottom line comes down to what the goal is. Alot of people on this forum mix cardio with weight loss or body fat percentage loss. Walking is probably fine for them. My goal with training is to run a sub 10 hour Ironman triathlon. Walking ain't gonna cut it.