Is walking better or running considering the same distance?

Since you asked what's "better", I would need to ask you "in reference to what" or "for what purpose", in order to answer this question, properly. Also, since running can be mild jogging or Sprinting and it hasn't been specified, the answer has to be more elaborate.

Assuming the following common purposes, I am going to elaborate further on each of these.

  1. Burning calories
  2. Recovery and Recuperation
  3. NEAT via NEPA
  4. Safe cardio option in case of dislocation, tear in any of the hip/leg joints or structural Imbalances or dysfunctional movement patterns.

Each of the above points have been elaborated below:

  1. Burning calories:

If burning calories is the purpose, for a given distance, running is going to burn more calories as compared to walking because of obvious reasons of running being more strenuous.

Also, since, a given distance can range anywhere between, say 100 metres - 6 kilometres or beyond (for marathon runners), the speed at which the running is being carried out is going to determine the amount of calories that shall be burnt. Short distance sprints is going to burn more calories (per minute) than a longer distance at slow pace (per minute).

However, it is to be noted that because sprinting is more strenuous, it cannot be carried out for long enough distance as compared to jogging a longer distance.

So, a combination of sprints and jogs can be used to burn a considerably high number of calories. The way Bruce Lee did.

2. Recovery and Recuperation:

If you have been training or working out with heavy weights with loads below 6 RM regularly and frequently, you must have noticed the dip in energy levels and performance right after such sessions and the need for periodic Rest and Recovery periods.

For such sessions, one needs to employ methods or undertake activities that allow increased blood flow to the muscles for enhanced nutrient and oxygen transport, therefore, faster recovery. Activities, such as, jogging, walking, dancing, high repetition+low load training or workout routines with loads above 20 RM, will allow the muscles to get an increased supply of nutrients and blood.

Sprinting can help as well, but it's strenuous effects offsets it's recovery inducing effects, for which again, one shall need recovery sessions through jogging or activities as stated above. Hence, a low load, low intensity, High repetition activities will be immensely helpful.

3. NEAT via NEPA :

NEAT stands for "Non - Exercise Activity Thermogenesis", which means the amount of heat generated via all of the regular daily activities that is not exercise or workout related.

This is caused by NEPA.

NEPA stands for "Non - Exercise Physical Activity", which means every non exercise related activity one undertakes on a daily basis, like walking, cleaning, playing, cooking, eating, washing, etc.

NEPA causes NEAT which results in over 70% of the calorie consumed by your body on a daily basis. So the more activities in NEPA category is undertaken, the more active the person is, hence more calories burned.

Walking is the top ranking activity in the non strenuous activities list of NEPA.

4. Safe cardio option in case of dislocation, tear in any of the hip/leg joints or structural Imbalances or dysfunctional movement patterns.

If a person has a dislocated knee (ligament tear, soft tissue injury, etc.) or ankle or any injury that doesn't allow them to run with proper joint stability through proper running mechanics or running puts them at an increased risk of injury or re-injury, he is better off walking and avoiding running at all costs.

Walking stands as the safest cardio option for the particular individual.

To sum it up, better is a subjective and a relative term. What might be great for a given person in a given scenario maybe totally unviable as an option for the other person in another scenario.


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