To run, or not to run. That seems to be the question on everybody’s mind.
While there are obvious pros to beginning your workout with a quick run (or jog, even), there are also downsides that many people in the fitness community don’t talk about and there are as many benefits to slowing down in your warm-up.
Both walking and running are considered full-body exercises and are great for increasing cardiovascular activity that essentially prepping your body for a more intense workout. It has always been said that running is the better warm-up if your goal is to lose weight or burn calories. This is true, to a certain degree, as running does typically increase heart rate more and, therefore, burns more calories, but there’s always more to it than that.
Studies show that a brisk walk at a higher incline burns as many calories as running on a flat surface and puts considerably less stress on sensitive knee and ankle joints. Running has many positive health benefits, of course, but most of those benefits are mirrored closely by the benefits of inclined walking. While running does offer extensive health benefits, including improving heart health and releasing endorphins that help those struggling with mental illness, studies show that individuals who run long distances often are more likely to experience joint pain, weak bones, and muscular strain later in life.
So, if you’re looking for a great alternative for your pre-workout warm-up, bump up that incline on your treadmill, or find a trail with a nice hill or two and slow things down for similar results without the increased physical toll!