Walking or jogging - which is best?

For your joints, bones, heart health and weight loss...

Walk Off Weight

You might think that jogging is just fast walking but there's a huge difference between the two activities. Read on to discover which is best for your health and fitness, and which will help you to lose the most weight.

See also: Over-60s 'can cut heart failure risk by walking 20 mins a day'

See also: Walking may burn more calories than previously believed

Best for joints
Even though you might be walking fast enough to keep up with a jogger, walking puts far less wear and tear on your joints.

When you walk, one foot is in contact with the ground at all times. When you jog or run, one foot leaves the ground entirely – which means your weight is less evenly supported. Run and your joints are impacted with a force approximately 2.5 times your bodyweight – walk and that force is around 1.2 times your weight.

The longer you exercise and the more overweight you are, the more wear and tear you will suffer. Unsurprisingly, research shows that runners are far more likely to suffer injuries than walkers. If you're going to be jogging, it's worth investing in a decent pair of running shoes.

Best for strong bones
Walking is particularly beneficial for women who are prone to osteoporosis. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital, USA, found that women who walked for 30 minutes every day were 40% less likely to suffer a hip fracture.

Best for weight loss
If you want to lose weight fast, jogging is your best option. Running a mile burns roughly 26 percent more calories than walking a mile. So not only will you get your workout done quicker, you'll burn far more calories in the process.

However, it depends on the speed at which you move. Brisk walking can burn as many calories as slow jogging. It's worth keeping in mind that walking is arguably easier and more enjoyable – and for sustained weight loss, you need an activity that you're motivated to continue doing in the long-term.

Investing in a wearable activity tracker is a great way to monitor your calorie burn, steps and heart rate. Most are highly accurate and will give you a good idea of whether walking or running is the best way to achieve your fitness and weight loss goals.

Best for your heart health
Jogging might get your heart pumping that bit harder, but walking at a brisk rate is also effective for improving cardiovascular health. In fact, there's some research to suggest walking might be even better for your heart.

Research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA, found that high-speed activities may not be as good for your heart as movements at a slower pace. The study analysed more than 33,000 runners and 15,000 walkers and found that people who walk regularly were 9.3% less likely to suffer from heart disease compared to those who don't do much exercise. Surprisingly, those who ran were only 4.5% less likely to suffer with heart disease. Researchers found that walkers were also less likely to suffer from high blood pressure and high cholesterol than those who ran.

There's another reason not to go for an-hour long run. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people who run faster than seven-miles per hour four days of the week had the same risk of death as those who rarely leave the couch. Experts believe exercising so intensely can cause adrenalin levels to rise and cause inflammation of the arteries.