Published on April 11th, 2013 | by Joe Starks
Walking VS Running VS Sprinting
We know that the main difference between walking, running and sprinting is the speed and intensity with which we move. The differences do not stop there though as our bodies behave quite differently with each of those exercises. It is not the same, just faster, nor do you simply burn more calories or work out better. But what is the difference actually? What can you gain or lose when you choose one of these types of movement over the other in your exercise program? What’s best for you? Well read on bellow and you will be able to make up your mind.
The vast majority of people walk every day. Whether it is to go to work, or we walk from one room of our home to the other, a stroll in the park etc you probably walk every day. For walking to become a fitness improving exercise you have to change the way and the amount of time you walk. Walking is a very low intensity work out with very low dangers of injury. In contrast to many other exercises, our bodies are built to walk a lot and thus don’t get as strained from it. The downside to that is that our body will not spend much energy for walking either, since it does it so efficiently.
Walking is a totally aerobic exercise and thus can be used for weight loss if the session lasts for over twenty minutes every time and is consistently repeated at least three times a week. The best way to start walking as an exercise is to plan a route you love. While planning your route take note to:
- Don’t choose a route that has too many distractions. You don’t need to walk down the shopping districts or a road filled with restaurants. Choose a calm place that isn’t too crowded, like a park or cemetery and to your walking there.
- Don’t choose a route where you have to rest a lot to be able to complete it. It is best not to rest while doing a walking work out. So choose your routes calculating that you will finish them without sitting down.
- Do not choose a route that is too steep for you. Inclines turn a walk into a resistance training work out. You should start with humble hills before you take on huge slopes.
Walking is easy to get used to and much fun to do with other people together. You can easily talk, laugh and sing while walking at a good pace so it is advised to take a friend with you to make the walking sessions more fun.
Running is usually a medium intensity exercise for those who are used to it. It is not advised for beginners to start running immediately as it is best to start with a light jog. While running you use your glutes and thigh muscles a lot more than when you walk. This causes running to burn a lot more energy than walking, but because of this you can’t run as long as you can walk.
Running is best done in silence, so if you take a partner with you make sure that it’s someone who can enjoy your company without talking. Often simply doing something like this together can be fun enough.
When planning your running route everything mentioned in the “walking” section about it holds true here too, with the one difference that you should start with smaller routes. For a beginner, a run around your block can be a good start and you can work up from there.
Running helps improve the cardiovascular system and your breathing capacity. Make sure that a professional trainer teaches you how to run correctly, as correct poise and movement can prevent a lot of pain and injuries that might be caused from running in a less efficient way.
Sprinting is a high intensity anaerobic workout. You can only sprint in short bursts because your muscles can’t create energy as fast as you’d need it to run for longer. Sprinting should always be done under the supervision of a licensed trainer as it is a sport that can cause serious injuries if done wrongly and in the wrong amount.
Sprinting is good to form muscle mass in the legs fast, but is not very good for weight loss, due to the short duration. However, more muscle mass raises the metabolism and the increase in heart rate during sprinting can improve cardiovascular health.
If you consider starting sprinting as a sport you should get yourself a trainer, find a good gym (or racing track) with a floor that isn’t slippery and get yourself a good pair of running shoes.
Sprinting is not for everyone as it is a competitive sport and it lacks the relaxation that running or walking in a park can offer you.
What is the verdict?
Walking is easy for everyone, can burn fat if done long enough and is awesome to socialize during it. Running is a better/faster workout for your muscles, but it is best done in silence and you should learn proper form first. Sprinting is only for competitive athletes and should be done strictly under a professional’s guidance. Think about it and choose whatever suits your lifestyle best.
Remember that the right shoes, clothes and some good music make all those exercises quite a bit more fun.