People can exercise vigorously without having to jog or run, he added. Other forms of aerobic exercise, such as swimming or cycling, can be done vigorously.
Not everyone wants to run, Williams agreed. And moderate exercise, such as slower walking, is still beneficial, he said.
"The exercise you do is better than the exercise you don't do," Williams said. "We show weight loss benefit with walking; the benefits just aren't as great as with running."
But walking is just as good as running for reducing heart disease risk factors, including high cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, according to a different study that analyzed the same walkers' and runners' data. That study was published online April 4 in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.
For information on out-running middle-aged weight gain, see the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
SOURCES: Paul T. Williams, Ph.D., staff scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif.; Timothy Church, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., director of preventive medicine research, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, La.; April 2013, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
All rights reserved