PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Researchers say that walking can lower your risk of heart-related conditions just as much as running.

The study, done by the American Heart Association, says the walking briskly can lower your risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Researchers say 33,060 runners and 15,045 walkers were analyzed over six years and they found that moderate intensity walking and vigorous intensity running had similar results.

“Walking and running provide an ideal test of the health benefits of moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running because they involve the same muscle groups and the same activities performed at different intensities,” said Paul T. Williams, Ph.D., the study’s principal author and staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Life Science Division in Berkeley, Calif.

The exercises were assessed by distance instead of time, unlike previous studies say researchers.

“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,” Williams said.

According to the study, running and walking reduced the risk for first time hypertension (4.2% and 7.2% respectively), first time high cholesterol (4.3% and 7% respectively), first time diabetes (12.1% and 12.3% respectively) and coronary heart disease (4.5% and 9.3% respectively).

The study included participants between the ages of 18 and 80, with clusters in their 40s and 50s.

“People are always looking for an excuse not to exercise, but now they have a straightforward choice to run or to walk and invest in their future health,” Williams said.

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