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.

2 thoughts on “MILD VS. INTENSE CARDIO

  1. Samantha Liebensohn

    Justine, really intriguing topic and blog post! I really enjoyed reading this and feel like I learned a lot about cardio exercises. I always tell myself that when I go to gym i’ll run on the treadmill but always find myself walking on the treadmill instead. Now I know that as long as I increase my time and distance walking, it will almost be equal to if I had ran instead. While researching this topic further I found an article at Mayo Clinic going into the benefits of walking and how one should prepare. You should check it out if you have a chance, here it is

  2. Emma G Schadler

    Hi Justine, I was drawn to your post because I’m not much of a runner myself, but I do enjoy walking frequently. I think there are likely very many differences between the two, although it may be true that walking twice the difference you run can burn the same amount of calories. What caught my attention in your post, however, was when you mentioned that one of the factors that can affect your workout is the type of shoes you wear. I had heard of wearing shoes with slopes to support the arch of your foot, but I wondered what the detriments of wearing inappropriate shoes to a workout could be. Luckily, I was able to find this livestrong article that describes that different types of shoes can benefit different types of workouts; where running shoes help absorb shock, lightweight shoes help cushion your feet for aerobic exercise. Exercising with the wrong type of shoes can lead to minor injuries, like twisted ankles and metatarsalgia, which is when you feel pain in the ball of your foot.
    Thanks for the interesting read!

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