MILD VS. INTENSE CARDIO
Me being the type of person who enjoys exercising on my free time, after a while I like to switch up my workout so I began to research equivalent workout plans. Mainly dealing with the cardio portion of the workout I was interested to see the overall difference between running and walking. Typically, you would think you burn the most calories and benefit the best from running since it is by far the most tiring and get the least out of walking since it’s so simple. But it is much more complex than that and has many confounding variables affecting what you get out of each cardiovascular exercise.
This best explains how overall, running, walking, jogging, and riding a bike are all just ways we transport our bodies from one place to another, but the difference depends on the energy and muscles used. By using more muscles together, this requires more oxygen demanded. When we run we are at a higher speed and more muscles are being used allowing us to feel out of breath and less capable to talk while doing so. When walking we are at a slower pace enabling us to go for a longer distance before reaching an ” out of breath” state. If we were to increase our speed while walking this would lessen our energy level just like it does while jogging.
What confuses many people is how can a speed walk burn just as many calories as a jog? You can burn the same amount of calories doing all cardio exercises it just depends on the distance. Because running takes so much effort out of us it is done the quickest. To burn the same amount of calories as that run, you would have to walk nearly double that distance, but it certainly can be done. Some confounding variables affecting the total calories being burned consist of temperature, whether you be outdoors or on a treadmill, what type of shoes are worn, and the clothing worn affecting your body temperature (the more you sweat in a workout the more calories will be burned).
After researching the topic I came across this experiment done by a writer from Runner’s World Magazine testing the difference of calories burned between running and walking at a range of different speeds. she first ran with 6 different speeds on a treadmill with a heart monitor, then rested and repeated the test with 6 slower speeds up to 5mph, which is still considered a walk. According the the heart rate monitor, it became harder for her to do the speed walking rather than running. It still created internal friction just like running, making it just as good of an exercise but better on your joints.
So is running or walking necessarily better than the other? Contrary to the hypothesis many believe that by running you will burn more calories than walking, technically that is not true because you can get the exact same benefits from walking a bit longer distance without the every day risks of injuries in the ankle, knee, calf, and joints.