Walking is one of the best forms of exercise that is ideal for almost everyone. It is a cardiovascular physical activity which also helps improve blood flow and keep blood pressure in control. In fact, brisk walking is recommended by many fitness experts these days as it can help build stamina, burn calories and is good for your heart health. Another exercise option that one can conveniently go for in their neighbourhood park is jogging. If running is not your cup of tea or is inconvenient for you, jogging is similar but involves a speed that is lesser than running but higher than walking. Jogging will utilise less of your energy and exert you less. But if you are aiming for weight loss and want effective results which is a better option for you – brisk walking or jogging? We asked an expert. (Also read: Health benefits of walking, tips on getting started and finding your style)
“Maintaining a healthy weight and constantly monitoring the weight gain patterns have become an essential lifestyle practice as being overweight and obese can lead to potentially serious health problems. Brisk walking, jogging, stationary cycling and treadmill are some of the most commonly undertaken physical activities for weight loss as they are quite feasible and do not require any supervision or assistance. Among this, brisk walking and jogging are more commonly undertaken as they do not require any financial expenditures and are easily accessible,” says Pragnya Ravichandran Executive Physiotherapist Cloudnine Group of Hospitals T. Nagar, Chennai.
Brisk walking vs jogging: What’s the difference
Brisk walking is different from jogging in terms of biomechanics and energy expenditure. Ravichandran explains the difference between the two.
What is brisk walking
Brisk walking is simply an act of walking in an energetic and brisk manner, trying to cover a speed of at least 3-4 miles per hour. To better describe, brisk walking is not a stroll or slow-paced walk and usually allows the person to talk, but not sing.
What is jogging
Jogging is a form of exercise which involves running at a slow and rhythmic speed. Jogging involves a speed that is lesser than running but higher than walking. Compared to running, jogging utilises less energy and hence there is less stress.
Brisk walking vs jogging; which one is more intense?
“Brisk walking is a moderate intensity–low impact physical activity as one foot is always touching the ground at all times. When one heel lifts off from the ground, the toes of the opposite leg is already placed on the ground. Hence, there is equal load distribution and the overall impact is low,” says Ravichandran.
“Jogging involves one foot off the ground and thus the load distribution is more on the foot which is in contact with the ground. Hence, jogging, which is also a moderate intensity physical activity, has a greater impact compared to brisk walking,” says the physiotherapist.
Brisk walking vs jogging; which is better for weight loss?
Brisk walking and jogging, both being a form of aerobic type of moderate–intensity physical activity, offer significant health benefits in terms of improving cardiovascular health, building immunity, improving muscle strength and endurance, prevention of lifestyle disorders. Nevertheless, they also help in weight loss. Weight loss requires burning of calories and both of these activities allows oneself to burn sufficient amount of calories. Due to its nature of being a low impact physical activity, brisk walking will not burn much calories as compared to jogging, says Ravichandran.
Why jogging burns more calories compared to brisk walking
\”Brisk walking and jogging increase the heart rate and uses about 50-70% of maximum heart rate. Jogging may raise the heart rate to around 120bpm-140bpm depending upon its speed and duration, however, brisk walking can raise up to a maximum of 120bpm only. This reveals the reason why jogging burns much more calories when compared to brisk walking in spite of having the similar heart rate zones,” says the expert.
Which is better for weight loss?
There have been several studies which has shown that running can increase the risk of injuries to lower limbs. Jogging being a form of running, can also put oneself into a greater risk for injuries as compared to brisk walking. But jogging seems to be better for weight loss because it burns more calories than brisk walking in a less time duration. What type of activity to choose varies from individual to individual.
Risks of jogging
“Individuals who are overweight and obese will already have more pressure over their joints and hence jogging can further aggravate the risk of injury. Hence, for these individuals, brisk walking might be a better choice for weight loss as this does not put the joints under pressure. On the other hand, individuals who are slim and aim at reducing the belly fat, can undertake jogging, but might need to increase the pace and duration,” says Ravichandran.
“There is no conclusive evidence to substantiate and prove one physical activity to be superior over other for weight loss. An individual may prefer any activity based on their body composition, joint integrity, and self- comfort. Remember to always perform the activity that you will enjoy. Weight loss also requires variety of exercises and must focus on incorporating strength training as well for a better metabolism and utilization,” says the physiotherapist.