Studies: Running is better than walking ... or not

May 6 2013 - 3:30pm

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A researcher has determined that habitual runners gain less weight than habitual walkers, but running is no better than walking in preventing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and coronary heart disease.
Thinkstock photo
A researcher has determined that habitual runners gain less weight than habitual walkers, but running is no better than walking in preventing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and coronary heart disease.

NEW YORK -- If you're a runner, you might have noticed this surprising headline from the April 5 edition of the Guardian: "Brisk walk healthier than running -- scientists." Or maybe you saw this one, which ran in Health magazine the very same day: "Want to lose weight? Then run, don't walk: Study."

Dueling research from rival academic camps? Not exactly. Both articles described the work of a herpetologist-turned-statistician at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory named Paul T. Williams, who in April achieved a feat that's exceedingly rare in mainstream science: He used exactly the same dataset to publish two opposing findings.

One of Williams' papers, from the April issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, shows that habitual runners gain less weight than habitual walkers, when the amount of energy they put into their exercise routines is the same.

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