Running vs Jogging vs Walking

by Kent McGroarty

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday March 11, 2008

Running, jogging, walking: is one a better form of exercise than the other? Not really. One may be more beneficial depending on weight, but generally speaking it is more important that you maintain some kind of exercise whatever that may be. Whether you jog, walk, or run isn't as important as simply getting enough consistent exercise!

Running is defined as "to go steadily by springing steps so that both feet leave the ground for an instant in each step." With walking one foot is always on the ground. Jogging is simply running slowly. How slowly? Running a mile in nine minutes is considered running while taking longer than that to run a mile is defined as jogging. Any of these three types of exercise will help you lose weight as long as you are burning more calories than you consume.

There is no proof that running burns more fat than other forms of exercise. In fact, walking a mile may burn more fat than running a mile. This is because when walking the body's metabolism has time "to switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fat." If you are looking to burn calories, running is the way to go. To run a mile will burn sugar, or carbohydrates. Burning carbohydrates is how the body gives you "fast energy in bursts." While you burn more calories running for an hour than walking for an hour you will not necessarily burn more fat. How many calories you burn depends on factors like metabolism, how fit you are, weight, and the "intensity" of your workout. Those who are overweight burn more calories than normal-sized people by walking because they have to carry their weight. This is also true of stair climbing.

Running is also good for the body in terms of cardio-respiratory fitness. Cardio-respiratory fitness is "the ability of your heart to pump stronger and more efficiently and your muscles to use oxygen more efficiently." Running helps your aerobic fitness "by increasing the activity of enzymes and hormones that stimulate the muscles and the heart to work more efficiently." Those who are very aerobically fit have hearts that pump more blood and oxygen and muscles that consume more oxygen.

Running has been called addictive and "like a drug" due to the feel-good chemicals it releases in the brain. However, running can be hard on the joints over time, so always try to jog on grass, dirt or sand rather than on asphalt or concrete. Those spongy running tracks found in many high school and college gymnasiums and also in health clubs are probably kindest to joints.

Jogging has the same aerobic benefits as walking but doesn't take as much time. It is a great way to tighten the thighs and calves although "power walking" or "walking briskly with arms moving back and forth" can have basically the same effect. Like running, jogging is very good for the heart.

Did you know that walking is the most popular type of exercise among adults in the United States? Even the least fit person can put on comfortable shoes and walk to the corner and back the first day and go from there building up distance day by day! Walking at least 30 minutes a day is considered a fantastic form of exercise. It is also better exercise for those with asthma or other breathing problems and those who are injured, recovering from surgery or sickness, who are overweight or have only recently resumed exercising. There are also less likely to be injuries when walking in contrast to running, and walking is also easier on the heart.

Factors like your weight, speed, distance traveled and how long you exercise will determine cardiovascular benefits and how many calories you burn. Basically whatever type of exercise you prefer is going to be the best one for you. So whether you're a fan of running, jogging, walking or another form of exercise, just be sure you get enough!

Kent McGroarty is a freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor to EDGE'S Style, Travel, Health, and Fitness channels. Contact her at [email protected].