Power walking vs jogging: that is the question for those who are looking for an alternative to running to meet their fitness needs.
Everyone knows that, along with proper dieting, running can help you lose weight. But if you’re new to fitness, running out of the gate can be dangerous. While the human body is durable, it needs to be finessed into working out. Think of your body as a car. In the cold weather, you need to let the engine run for a while to warm it up and keep the battery from dying. You’re not going to just turn the key, hit 60 MPH and be on your way.
Similarly, at the beginning of your fitness journey, you’re not going to pull your legs back, think that’s a reasonable stretch, and then run at your top speed.
Well, you can do that, but you wouldn’t be able to run long and you’ll run the risk of injury. Muscles need to be warmed up, they need to be carefully awakened, nurtured, and steadily but carefully pushed over a long period of time.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t lose weight as your body warms up to the idea of working out. Power walking and jogging are both valuable options available to new runners. They not only introduce your body to the type of exertion it’ll face going forward, but they can help you lose weight.
Both exercises are also helpful for those recovering from injuries. By power walking or jogging, you’ll help your body heal and get rid of some excess chub.
Power Walking vs Jogging
This may sound oddly specific, but a power walk is roughly between 3.5MPH and 4.5MPH. This is important for several reasons. First, it’s easy once you’re moving, to increase speed. Given that you’re new to fitness, increasing your speed too quickly and for too long can result in injury. In the case of those using power walking as a means to help recover from an injury, you can do yourself more harm than good by going too far too fast.
Studies have suggested that power walking beyond 4.5MPH is uncomfortable and potentially hazardous. At that pace, you would likely be more comfortable running. When power walking at 5MPH or above, your calf muscles will lengthen too quickly. Without the proper time to ready themselves, you won’t be able to continue to power walk as long as you’d like. Your muscles simply won’t be able to comply.
To regulate your speed, you can download apps that will notify you if you’re going too fast or too slow. If you’re using a treadmill, it can be programmed to maintain a specific speed for you.
You can also make changes to your stride to keep yourself moving at a steady pace. During your power walk, keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. When you run, your strides should be long. As a power walker, your strides should be short and measured to maintain your pace. Be sure to engage your abs and keep your spine in a straight, neutral position during the power walk. This formation will help you slim down and tone up.
However, even power walks need to be gracefully slipped into. Start out with just a regular, normal walk for five to 10 minutes. Just get the blood flowing. After that, raise your speed to a power run. Aim to maintain the pace for 20 to 30 minutes four to six times a week. While most runners tend to run for half an hour three times a week, power walking is very low impact, allowing you to safely work out most days out of the week.
Of course, you may not be able to go for 20 to 30 minutes four to six times a week. Power walking isn’t about immediately breaking through limits. Go at a pace and for a duration that is comfortable for you.
That said, over time, you will notice changes in your body and your cardiovascular health. At a constant pace, you’ll be able to burn 90 calories per mile while power walking.
When you’re able to power walk at 4MPH between 30 and 45 minutes, and you maintain a schedule of at least three times a week, you should begin to see improvements in your physical and cardiovascular conditions within two weeks. Of course, as time goes on, you can increase the duration of the power walks as well as the number of days you do them. However, as with running, you need at least one day off a week for your body to recover.
Power walking can be just as durable as running. If you feel as if you’ve plateaued (that your current pace is no longer helping you lose weight), you can change your workout by taking some tips from running.
Consider adding a weight vest or changing the terrain. Inclines will force your body to exert itself more to climb up a hill, burning more calories and helping your body lose weight. Of course, the exertion is increased, so if you have a condition where you need to remain at a certain pace or level for the sake of your heart or your body, you should consult with your doctor if you’re healthy enough for the extra exertion.
You might also consider adding in interval power walks. For example, you’ll run for five minutes at 3.5MPH and then run for two minutes at 4MPH or 4.5MPH. You’ll switch back and forth between these speeds for the normal duration of your power walk. This not only helps develop your muscles and keep them flexible, but it’ll also help you lose weight by burning calories.
However, if you’re still feeling confined by your power walks – either not getting the gains you want out of it, or it’s too easy for you, jogging might be the answer.
Jogging vs Power Walking
A jog is faster than a power walk. While some groups disagree on the exact line between where power walking ends and jogging begins, you can safely assume that at 6MPH, you’re jogging not power walking. Anything above 6MPH is a run.
Jogging, in general, is better for weight loss simply because of the increase in speed – during a jog of the same duration as a power walk, you’re certain to burn more calories.
You should jog enough that you can maintain a conversation but not speak continuously.
Of course, there are limitations to consider. If your body can only withstand low impact exercises, power walking is the way to go. If you’re looking for an accessible entry point into physical fitness, consider this is as a stepping stone.
Once you feel you’ve gotten everything you could out of power walking and if you feel you’re capable of doing more, move on to jogging. Again, the increased pace burns more calories, which is the key to weight loss.
Unfortunately, losing calories isn’t the same for everyone.
What Determines Calorie Loss?
When you consume food, you take on calories. Maintaining a healthy diet and limiting junk food helps you manage your weight. However, over time, bad eating habits and a lack of physical exercise can damage your body. You’ll take on bad calories – ones that feed your system, but not in the right way. Instead of giving you energy, they tire you out and give you love handles.
When you’ve decided that it’s time to replace those handles with a flat, desirable stomach, you need to burn away those calories. Unfortunately, if you and a friend – let’s say you’re the same age and around the same height and weight – decide to work out together, you’ll likely burn calories differently. Everyone loses weight differently, even when doing the same exercises for the same duration at the same rate.
Men tend to lose weight faster than women, for instance. Men also tend to die younger, so it makes you wonder if striving for good health is worth it at all. Then, of course, you consider how great abs look and you continue working out anyway.
However, gender is just one of many factors. Your established weight, how fast you’re moving, and how long you’re working out for all determine how many calories you’re going to lose. There are also factors that you may not be able to control.
Genetics, for example. You may have a more difficult time shedding weight than the person next to you. Environmental factors also play a role. It’s certainly easier to build up a sweat while running in Florida than it is in Wisconsin.
Whether you choose to power walk or jog, you have the ability to lose weight. You simply have to be consistent and dedicated.
And that’s all there is to it. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave them in the comments below.