I tried running everywhere instead of walking and it made my life a LOT easier

Choosing to run everywhere instead of walking sounds like a lot of effort but it actually made my life more effortless

Fit&Well writer Jessica Downey runs through a park wearing a backpack
(Image credit: Future)

Like many others, my time is very precious to me. I like to spend my free time doing things I enjoy, and staying fit falls under this category. But the busier my schedule gets, the more of a chore working out becomes and I don’t like when I start to view it like this.

In an ideal world, I like my week to involve regular runs in my pair of the best running shoes for women, a minimum of three strength sessions like this dumbbells legs workout, and some form of core strengthening movement such as a yoga or Pilates class. However, once my work tasks stack up, my social calendar expands, and as I try to keep on top of household tasks I start to wonder where exercise fits in.

Cautious that I could easily fall out of habit of working out and lose all the positives I gain from moving my body I decided to start running everywhere instead of walking or using public transport. I live in a city, so I end up spending a lot of my time getting to and from places on foot, via the underground subway, or on buses, which all can become quite tedious and long, especially when the weather gets good. So this challenge seemed like a win-win situation.

Before getting started, I mapped out how I could make this work without sabotaging my routine or turning up to events very sweaty and red after running there. The main things that seem to eat up my time are traveling to do a food shop, getting myself to and from the gym, and trekking across the city to visit friends. 

Here’s what happened when I started running everywhere instead of walking…

1. I exercised every day whether I went to the gym or not

Despite the fact that I regularly review things like the best running watch or best yoga mat as part of my job, I still have days where I don’t manage to work out. Consequently, I beat myself up over it.

The American Heart Association recommends adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. When you split this up across the week you technically only need to exercise for 30 minutes, five days of the week. 

When I started running to the grocery store or running to my friend's house, I was not only getting to places a lot quicker than when I walk but I was also getting around 25-45 minutes of cardio in most days. Anyone looking to lose weight efficiently and torn between walking or running should seriously consider increasing their walk to a running pace.

Research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research discovered that among a group of averagely fit individuals, running burned a greater number of calories than walking. It also boosted post-exercise energy expenditure. This means that they burned more calories after running than they did after walking.

But if you prefer walking, there are heaps of benefits tied to this physical activity as well. Many of which one of our writers experienced when he walked for 90 minutes every morning for a month

2. I saved time and money

The cost of living has risen and everyone has had to make adjustments to their spending habits. Unintentionally, during this challenge, I started saving myself some money as I ran places instead of jumping on the bus or tube to get to the shops or fitness classes.

One of the reasons I don’t have time to go to the gym on certain days is due to the additional 15-minute walk it takes me to get to and from my gym. If I want to get a full hour-long session in I have to factor in an additional half an hour of travel time. Substitute this walk with running and it was taking me six minutes, either way, to get from A to B.

This meant I had more time to fit a session around my schedule. Don’t get me wrong, a run home is sometimes the last thing you want to do after a heavy leg session. But it saved me jumping on one of the best exercise machines to lose weight afterward and I was home in no time with time to prep a post-gym meal packed with plenty of protein for muscle recovery and growth. I like to use one of the best protein powders for women in a shake after a workout.

3. It’s a great mood booster

I’ve always been a fan of running and the thing I gain most from it is that it gets me outdoors and helps me to clear my mind. Although owning one of the best treadmills would be super convenient, the benefits of outdoor exercise outweigh this for me.

According to a study published in the Extreme Physiology and Medicine journal, outdoor environments can lower levels of perceived exertion during exercise and boost physical activity levels. Plus, it can alter physiological functioning which includes lowered stress levels, restored mental fatigue, and improve mood, self-esteem, and perceived health.

After the past few years, the pace of life has inevitably picked up again and it’s easy to fill our calendars up with too much at work and social events. So spending time alone doing something you enjoy where you feel like you can actually hear your own thoughts can be really good for your mental wellbeing. My next steps are to try these meditation tips for beginners

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.