>Health and Nutrition>Summary of walking vs. running study
Faster Than Your Couch!
The study assumes that all people respond to exercise the same way. This is simply not the case. A British study found that about 20% of people don't respond to exercise, or "training", with improved fitness. They can train as much as they want, and barely improve their fitness (measured e.g. in VO2max, heart rate, etc.). On the other end of the spectrum, about 15% of the population are highly responsive to training, meaning their fitness improves significantly with even little training. The cause for this is genetic, and the effect of training can be sowmewhat predicted in a blood test looking at the genes which are responsible for this.
Therefore, it is not surprising to find that "walking is just as good as running", because for 20% of people, it really is just as good. They might feel a bit better with training (as was found by the British study), but it does not make a difference whether they walk or run. Now add to this the 15% who respond highly to any training, they get a lot of benefit already from walking, which blurs the significance of the benefits gained by running over those gained by walking.
For some people, walking is the only way they can get themselves to move, so it's good to know that walking certainly has some benefits. Some people love to run, good for them.
35% of people will show that "walking is just as good as running", q.e.d.
Run for fun.
Have they found the actual mechanism for what kills the training effect in those people? If it's genetic, have they actually identified the gene and the associated metabolic whatever-it-is?
If training has no affect on them, it makes you wonder how they even built the muscles for walking in the first place, or maybe they are all bed ridden.
I have not read the original study, just a summary of the results, so I don't know. They have identified the genes, and found some markers in the blood which correspond to some metabolic processes, but I don't know the details.
I'll try to find the original study, if it is published on the internet, and post the link if I can find it.
I wouldn't go to that extreme in interpretation of the findings.
The test persons "felt" better after 12 weeks of training, when they had to perform a fitness test (basically measuring VO2max in a bike test), compared to before the training, but their parameters had not improved significantly. Their heart rate was lower after the weeks of training, but by far not as much lower as "averages" would have suggested. They had more strength, but far less than "average" people. The line is also not a clear cutoff, but it is a blurry transition from hardly any effects to the lower range of "average" effects of the training.
Of course, the cutoff between "average response to training" and "not responsive to training" is drawn at will at some set of parameters, so one person in one category may have almost the same parameters as one person in the next category, but the average in each category is significantly different from the average in another category.
There is also a German (?) study that showed the same results when people received strength training to enable them to do pull-ups. About 20% were unable to do pull-ups even after 12 weeks of intense specific strength training. Just that study did not look at the genes, or "fitness parameters" like VO2max, but rather looked at the make-up of muscle tissue. Unfortunately, I don't remember the results of this in detail any more, or where to find the study, I just remember these "results" episodically.
This was in a newspaper article today about the father who has pushed his disabled son in a wheelchair in over 1,000 marathons (they've done the Boston Marathon for about 30 years):
"The races have taken a toll on Dick, too, who suffered a heart attack while training for Boston in 2002. Doctors discovered two major arteries were largely blocked, and he had three stents inserted."
ACK! Just think of the condition he'd have been in if he hadn't done all that running! He probably wouldn't have lived to see 2002.
But, what would you do if you could no longer run? For a medical reason, for instance. But they have OK'd you to walk.
Would you start walking? ? ? ? ? ?
I guess I would...