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Regular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy body. Physicians recommend 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity every week. However, it can be difficult to determine what exact aerobic activity is best. Every person has different expectations and different needs. Jogging and speed walking are both excellent exercise options with various benefits and downsides. Ultimately, it is up to each person to choose which exercise is best for them.

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Speed Walking

Walking is beneficial, but it lacks the heartrate-raising cardio of jogging. Speed walking is a half measure between walking and jogging. It’s less intense than the latter, but more effective exercise than the former. Speed walking can match or compete with many of the benefits of jogging but requires less effort and bodily impact. Beginners and older adults may find speed walking more appealing, offering less pressure on the joints and a good way to ease into an active and healthy lifestyle.

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Jogging

Just as speed walking is the more intense form of walking, jogging is the less intense form of running. It requires a lower level of overall fitness than running while still providing many of the same benefits. Jogging and speed walking are comparable because they are both moderately vigorous aerobic exercises. They each provide a method for weight loss and improving health. However, jogging isn’t for everybody -- it does have some downsides, particularly for older adults.

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Technique

Both jogging and speed walking require knowledge of proper techniques. Even speed walking can result in an injury if performed incorrectly. Proper speed walking technique involves looking forward with the head up. The neck, shoulders, and back should not be stiff or tense, but the back should be straight. While walking, the feet should roll from heel to toe. Proper jogging posture is similar, but the middle of the foot should be the first to strike the ground, rather than rolling from heel to toe. Both exercises require deep, rhythmic breathing.

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Planning a Route

Deciding on a course is almost as important as the exercise itself. Paths with potholes, low-hanging limbs, or damaged sidewalks make navigation dangerous. Additionally, areas with hills require more physical effort than flat areas. A proper course should provide plenty of time to warm up before exercising and enough time to cool down towards the end. Many indoor locations provide speed walking or jogging opportunities if there is not an ideal route outside.

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Burning Calories

The number of calories an exercise burn depends on various factors, namely the weight of the person, their speed, and the length and variation of the course. Generally speaking, speed walking burns fewer calories than jogging does, in the same amount of time. For example, one calculator states a 150-pound individual would burn around 307 calories by jogging on a level surface at four miles per hour for an hour. The same person would need to speed walk at the same pace for about an hour and a half to burn the same number of calories.

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Impact

Because jogging requires more movement, it is more likely to cause an injury. The knees and legs are more active, putting more stress on the joints. Additionally, the feet hit the ground harder and absorb more shock, causing additional stress. Compared to speed walking, jogging is much more likely to place a strain on the body. Speed walkers are less likely to injure themselves and less likely to develop conditions such as runner’s knee.

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Balance and Coordination

There are many people in the world who struggle with their balance and coordination. This could be the result of age, illness, or any other condition, and it often affects their everyday life. Both speed walking and jogging measurably improve balance. They also strengthen the muscles in the legs and improve bone strength. This provides a more stable base when walking. A study by the Washington University School of Medicine showed both men and women see significant improvements in standing balance after engaging in jogging or speed-walking.

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Motivation

Speed walking and jogging both have their negatives and benefits when it comes to motivation. Usually, this depends on what an individual expects from their exercise routine. A person who expects to lose a lot of weight quickly might lose motivation when speed walking, whereas a person who hates running may not feel motivated to continue jogging. Whatever form of exercise is most enjoyable is more likely to provide the motivation necessary to continue exercising.

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Convenience and Cost

Both speed walking and jogging are significantly more affordable than the alternatives. Cycling requires an expensive bicycle, and hiking requires specific terrain and is more time-consuming. Neither jogging nor speed walking requires a gym membership, though some people may prefer to exercise indoors. Speed walking is also less active than other options, so a person who opts to speed walk may not be as tired and sweaty when they arrive at their destination.

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Stress Relief

Exercise causes the brain to release endorphins that provide a positive boost in mood and disposition. This is why many people derive enjoyment from exercise. Both speed walking and jogging trigger a release of endorphins. They also provide opportunities for reflection and contemplation. Both exercises can be practiced in a group, as well, which can improve motivation and reduce stress for some individuals. Even a short walk or jog can leave a person feeling refreshed.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.