Walking Vs Running

walking vs running

Walking vs. Jogging: Is this a real question?

We’re constantly yakking about how HIIT sessions can improve your health in a short, badass package. While I do love HIIT sessions, they aren’t for everyone, especially exercise newbies or people with preexisting conditions. Many people should start their training program with an alternative method. A method that doesn’t leave you “I’m never exercising again” sore… yeah, who would continue that?

Is Walking Better Than Running

Another good way to improve your exercise capacity, which I have mentioned before, is walking! Plain and simple: walking can improve your health tremendously.

Yeah right dude, you’ve gone loco! How effective can walking possibly be?

Great question inquisitive reader! Something this simple might take a while to explain.

Why Walking?

Can Walking Be Better Than JoggingWhy is walking good for you? It can improve your cardiovascular health and improve your exercise capacity and is ideal for sedentary individuals or beginners.

Research indicates that the average middle-aged individual should be able to walk 1 mile at a pace of 4 mph without rest, but many people can’t even achieve this feat due to their sedentary lifestyle (Morris & Hardman 1997)!

It is a great way for beginners or obese individuals to get back into shape by offering a convenient way to expend energy at a lower heart rate and even in a shorter amount of time compared to training methods like cycling (Lafortuna et al 2008).

What about jogging?

Most People Choose Jogging Over Walking

Most people think that jogging (which is technically moving at less than 5 mph while running is greater than 5 mph) is better than walking because it probably burns more calories (more on that later).

Like walking, jogging is also a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and burn calories.

When it comes to jogging on a treadmill or jogging outside you probably know it’s easier to jog a mile on a treadmill due to the lack of wind resistance and terrain factors.

For those of you, that jog remember this: science has found that a treadmill incline of 1% best mimics running outside on the flat ground (1-3% incline mimics your natural forward-leaning running posture)!

Likewise, to combat outside wind resistance a treadmill incline of 2-10% can sufficiently mimic these conditions. So which is better, jogging or walking?

Jogging vs Walking

On a flat surface, jogging requires more energy than walking. What about walking on an inclined treadmill? Of course, doing this on an incline burns more calories than on a flat surface due to the resistance of the incline (faster heart rate increase and greater oxygen consumption).

Get this: walking at an incline of 15% actually burns 67% more calories than walking on a flat surface.  

It also blasts your quads and glutes and helps build your endurance (here is an idea of how many calories you can burn with increasing incline)!

This is where it gets interesting; science has actually shown that walking 1 mile on a treadmill at a full incline will burn more calories than jogging 1 mile on a flat surface!

According to a Discovery Health Newsletter, a 150 lb person walking only 2 mph on a treadmill’s full incline (15%) will burn 224 calories per mile for a total of 448 calories per hour. This same person while jogging (5 mph) on a flat treadmill will only burn 117 calories per mile for a total of 585 calories per hour.

So the total calories are more for jogging but the incline walker is working at a higher intensity during those miles burning more calories per mile!

Can Walking Be Better Than Jogging?
I even walk, which helps me focus! (depends on pace, incline, body comp…etc.)

For instance, if you jogged or walked 3 miles at the above conditions you would burn 672 calories incline walking and only 351 calories jogging.

What makes more sense in terms of calories burned for your mile?

While walking does require more time, it allows you to burn a large number of calories per mile you walk; it is another alternative training method you can add!

Plus there aren’t many beginners who can jog for an hour straight!


For those beginners who don’t have the exercise capacity to jog for an extended period of time, a simple walk may be the key to increasing your calories burned per mile.

You can also burn more total calories if you are able to sustain walking at an incline for an extended period of time. This is especially true for obese individuals who can’t run for an extended period of time or are worried about injury.

While it can take more of your valuable time, it is an effective tool that can be utilized to improve your exercise capacity and burn a ton of calories in the process! As a rule of thumb, don’t get stuck on one specific training style it’s best to mix up between running, jogging, walking, and HIIT sessions.

The benefits of walking are crazy, you don’t need to sprint for 5 miles to burn calories.

Pop in the head phones, crank the treadmill to max incline, and get to walking!



Jones AM, Doust JH (1996) A 1% treadmill grade most accurately reflects the energetic cost of outdoor running. J Sports Sci 14: 321-327.

Lafortuna CL, Agosti F, Galli R, Busti C, Lazzer S, Sartorio A (2008) The energetic and cardiovascular response to treadmill walking and cycle ergometer exercise in obese women. European J App Physiol 103: 707-717.

Morris JN, Hardman AE (1997) Walking to health. Sports Medicine 23: 306-332.

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Josh is the founder of DIY Active - your at home fitness source! He enjoys blending the latest science and expert advice with health practices to help you exercise smarter at home!
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Walking Vs Running