Running has often been viewed as better than walking as the runners travel over a longer distance compared to walking. However researchers said that the main criteria in reducing risk of heart disease was the total amount of energy used, and not intensity.
The researchers compared the benefits of walking and running among a group of 48,000 adults and found that both running and walking reduced a similar amount of heart disease risk provided the distance traveled was the same in both the exercises.
"Walking and running provide an ideal test of the health benefits because they involve the same muscle groups and the same activities performed at different intensities. The more the runners ran and the walkers walked, the better off they were in health benefits. If the amount of energy expended was the same between the two groups, then the health benefits were comparable", lead researcher Paul T Williams said.