Running Versus Walking – Keeping Your Bones Healthy

Woman runs for her bone health as recommended by Premier Orthopaedic & Trauma Specialists

An exercise routine does not  have to be vigorous to be effective. In fact, just going for a brisk walk or a quick jog can do wonders for your bones and muscles. The debate over whether running is good or bad for you is ongoing, but the truth is that both running and walking can be great, depending on your body and medical conditions.

Running vs. Walking

Running is considered a high impact activity. It can take a toll on your joints and bones if you push yourself too hard or ignore pre-existing conditions or pain. But it can also be very beneficial. Recent studies have shown that high impact activities can actually increase bone mineral density.

Not everyone is able to run of course…those of advanced age and those suffering from osteoporosis may be advised to avoid running because of the stress on their joints. Those with balance issues or who are prone to fainting should also avoid running. On the other hand, some find running to be beneficial and enjoyable and may continue long into retirement. For some, walking is just fine. The most important thing is to listen to your body and consult an orthopedic surgeon for advice.

Running and walking both offer similar benefits. They get your heart rate up, decrease chances of hypertension, lower your risk of diabetes, and lowers cholesterol – among other things. The only catch is that you must walk further to enjoy the same benefits. Running gets your heart rate up and burns calories faster, so when you walk you may want to incorporate some additional resistance like picking up the pace or walking up hills.

If your orthopedic surgeon agrees, you can even incorporate short bursts of jogging into your daily routine to work your way up. A few minutes of fast walking with one minute of jogging can build muscles and endurance. Eventually, you can run longer stints.

Other Bone Stengthening Options

Running is not for everyone, and that’s okay. There are plenty of other ways to strengthen your bones and body. Whether you run or not, weight lifting and strength training is critical for building bone density.

The bottom line is that both running and walking can be good for you, you just need to know your limits and be mindful of  your bones and body. Running and walking have been proven to increase bone density and in tandem help prevent osteoporosis, but there are plenty of other ways to get the same results with less impact.

Always consult with your orthopedic surgeon when incorporating new exercises into your routine. Your doctor is there to help and will give you recommendations on what is best for your specific body and medical history. Do not push yourself into injury, that will just set you back further. Build up your body slowly and rest when necessary.

If you would like to talk to an orthopedic surgeon about how your exercise routine should look to best suit your body, give us a call today. Premier Ortho is dedicated to making sure every one of our patients is living the healthiest life possible.