Is walking at an incline better than running at zero percent incline?

Kathy Shain

You can get a great work out from both. A good question to ask is, “which one works best for me?” Walking on a treadmill, at an incline, can cause some people increased hip pain. If a person has tight hip flexors, the incline can increase the use of the hip flexor muscles causing even tighter muscles. The use of a foam roller and stretching can help decrease hip tightness if you still choose to walk on the treadmill with an incline. If you still have pain (even with a stretch routine in place), a flat treadmill may be your safest way to exercise.

Using an incline setting while walking on a treadmill can be benefiticial if done properly. It is not the same as running on the treadmill, but depending on your goals, you can get the same cardiovascular benefits. Walking at a steep incline is going to work the legs (mainly your quads and calves) more than running. The stress on the calves might be a concern for many people, so when doing this type of training you should start at a low incline and over time slowly introduce the higher inclines. This type of training has two benefits. It will help if you are training for hiking or running outside where you will encounter hills. It is also a good cardiovascular workout for those that can’t run because the pounding from running hurts their joints. If the walking speed and incline are at a high intensity, you should be able to achieve the same heart rates as most running programs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.