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Fitness Friday: Walking vs. Running – A Pilates Teacher's Insight

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As Pilates teachers, we often encourage our clients to engage in a variety of physical activities to complement their Pilates practice. Many of our clients enjoy running, an exercise known for its high intensity and effectiveness in cardiovascular conditioning. However, walking, often perceived as a gentler, less effective form of exercise, also holds significant benefits that are worth exploring. Today, let's delve into the research behind both activities, examining their impact on the body and their effectiveness as forms of exercise.

A Pilates Teacher's Insight: The Impact on the Body

Running, by its very nature, is a high-impact activity. It places considerable stress on the body, particularly on the joints. The repetitive impact of running can lead to increased risk of injuries such as shin splints, runner's knee, and stress fractures, especially if proper care and technique are not observed. However, running also strengthens the bones and muscles, improves cardiovascular health, and increases stamina and endurance.

In contrast, walking is a low-impact exercise that significantly reduces the risk of injury. It is gentler on the joints, making it a sustainable form of exercise for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. Walking can also provide substantial health benefits, including improving cardiovascular health, aiding in weight management, and enhancing mental well-being.

A Pilates Teacher's Insight: The Effectiveness of Each Activity

The effectiveness of walking versus running can be measured in various ways, including calorie burn, cardiovascular improvement, and mental health benefits.

Calorie Burn: Running typically burns more calories than walking over the same distance due to the increased effort required to run. However, walking can also contribute to a healthy weight management plan when practiced regularly and for longer durations.

Cardiovascular Health: Both walking and running improve cardiovascular health. Running may achieve these benefits more quickly due to its intensity, but walking, especially at a brisk pace, is also highly effective.

Mental Health: Exercise, in general, boosts mood and decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety. While running is often praised for the "runner's high" it provides, walking also significantly contributes to improved mental health, offering a time for reflection, relaxation, and connection with nature.

A Balanced Perspective

For Pilates practitioners, both running and walking offer complementary benefits to their Pilates practice. Running can enhance cardiovascular fitness and endurance, which can improve overall performance in Pilates. Walking, with its lower impact, can serve as an excellent recovery activity, allowing the body to heal while still staying active.

It's important to consider individual client needs, preferences, and any existing health conditions when recommending one activity over the other. For some, the high intensity of running may be beneficial and enjoyable; for others, the gentle, meditative nature of walking may be more appropriate.


Both walking and running are excellent forms of exercise that offer unique benefits. As Pilates teachers, our role is to guide our clients towards a balanced, holistic approach to fitness, one that incorporates the strength, flexibility, and mindfulness of Pilates with the cardiovascular benefits of walking and running.

Encouraging our clients to explore both activities can help them achieve a well-rounded fitness regimen, promoting not only physical health but mental well-being. As always, it's essential to listen to the body and choose activities that bring joy and vitality to our lives.

1 Comment

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