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  1. #1
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    Running vs. fast walking for exercise

    This is more of a summer question, but I've been wondering:

    Which is better for the body in the long term?

    I started running again last summer, and I sorta enjoy it but have been wondering if a really fast walk ( normal walking gait though, not "speed-walking") will give you the same cardiovascular results. I'm 6'3" and have quite long legs and walk a 5mph pace fairly easily. My standard running/jogging pace is only about 6 -7 mph, so not that different. However, I start sweating earlier with the 7mph run pace, yet can walk all day long at 5mph without the least of a sweat.

    I don't really want to have joint/knee problems in my 70s and 80s and I believe that on an aggregate basis, running xx miles per day will put much more load and stress on your joints than fast-walking those same xx miles with not a huge differential in cardiovascular fitness.

    So the big question is: which is better for you in the long term? A fast-paced 5mph walk or a 6-7 mph run given the extra stress the running gait/footfalls impart yo the body?
    "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possesive love that grabs at what it can." by Yann Martel from Life of Pi



    Posted by DJSapp:
    "Squirrels are rats with good PR."

  2. #2
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    if your goal is to be an old fuck, do neither
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  3. #3
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    Cardio fitness is largely based on heart rate in my opinion.

    You want to fit within a % range of your max heart rate depending on your goals.

    I personally aim for 60-85% MHR depending on the workout I want. I can't get up to 60% walking, even briskly.

    BTW: There is a big difference between 5, 6, 7 mph....none of them are close as you may have noticed in your exertion rate at each speed.

  4. #4
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    Use a heart rate monitor for best results.

    But the answer is, bike.

  5. #5
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    And it's unlikely you wil get enough benefit from fast walking unless you do it for a few hours.

    hiking uphill is good too.

  6. #6
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    I feel toning, endurance and strength are better maintained at a fast walk. Low impact. I love the caloric burn of a trail run but feel equally if not more accomplished by maintaining a consistent pace over longer distances. I always choose the uphill for added torture!!

  7. #7
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    Walking is great exercise. It's all about heart rate. As you age, a brisk walk should be plenty strenuous to get into the sweet spot for aerobic training. ETA: The current science is that maximum aerobic threshold tops is around 70% of VO2 max. It's all quite confusing cuz there's also the lactate threshold thing. Bottom line is that the science is telling us to do long aerobic workouts at a heart rate lower than prior conventional wisdom proposed. See Dr. Phil Maffetone's work.

    5mph (12 minute miles) is booking for a non-race walking (which is really stiff-legged running). Are you sure you're going that fast? The standard rule of thumb is that 3mph is a medium brisk walk and 4mph is a brisk march. From wikipedia:

    Although walking speeds can vary greatly depending on a multitude of factors such as height, weight, age, terrain, surface, load, culture, effort, and fitness, the average human walking speed is about 5.0 kilometres per hour (km/h), or about 3.1 miles per hour (mph). Specific studies have found pedestrian walking speeds ranging from 4.51 kilometres per hour (2.80 mph) to 4.75 kilometres per hour (2.95 mph) for older individuals and from 5.32 kilometres per hour (3.31 mph) to 5.43 kilometres per hour (3.37 mph) for younger individuals;[3][4] a brisk walking speed can be around 6.5 kilometres per hour (4.0 mph).[5]
    I omitted the reference to speeds of race walking, which is more like a stiff-legged run than anything a non-racer would call "walking."
    Last edited by Big Steve; 02-18-2015 at 05:21 PM.

  8. #8
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    There are no studies that indicate that more than 3-4 hours of exercise a week helps anything,and it may hurt.However, there is no walker's high,so there is that for running
    picador

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirbumpsalot View Post
    Cardio fitness is largely based on heart rate in my opinion.

    You want to fit within a % range of your max heart rate depending on your goals.

    I personally aim for 60-85% MHR depending on the workout I want. I can't get up to 60% walking, even briskly.

    BTW: There is a big difference between 5, 6, 7 mph....none of them are close as you may have noticed in your exertion rate at each speed.
    This. The standard for cardiopulmonary fitness used to be 120 bpm for 30 minutes. Nowadays it's age adjusted. Here's a reference. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Gettin...41_Article.jsp If you're going to walk for CV fitness you need to do hills or really walk hard--like Olympic race walkers (but people will laugh at you). Running does have another benefit--it's actually pretty good plyo. You can't get that biking, walking etc.

  10. #10
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    85% of max is too high according to the new school of aerobic training gurus. Maffetone, whose methods have been widely adopted by world class athletes, says max aerobic training should occur at 180 - age with some adjustments. See http://philmaffetone.com/180-formula Also see http://www.running-world.net/want_speed_slow_down_1.php

  11. #11
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    You should change the thread title to "Mall Walking For Exercise".

    Know your room.
    I still call it The Jake.

  12. #12
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    For the OP, definitely race walking. Don't forget the spandex!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by neufox47 View Post
    For the OP, definitely race walking. Don't forget the spandex!
    Race walkers are a bunch of dopers. Much worse than Lance.

  14. #14
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    Hike uphill. If you want to have more fun, bike uphill. Then you get to ride the bike down. It's good. Same applies to skiing.
    "Nothing like a very, very amorous woman in a leg imobilizer who dozes off every 3 1/2 minutes."
    -Notchtop

  15. #15
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    http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwa...-than-running/

    Now you have an excuse to go slow.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Steve View Post
    Walking is great exercise. It's all about heart rate. As you age, a brisk walk should be plenty strenuous to get into the sweet spot for aerobic training. ETA: The current science is that maximum aerobic threshold tops is around 70% of VO2 max. It's all quite confusing cuz there's also the lactate threshold thing. Bottom line is that the science is telling us to do long aerobic workouts at a heart rate lower than prior conventional wisdom proposed. See Dr. Phil Maffetone's work.

    5mph (12 minute miles) is booking for a non-race walking (which is really stiff-legged running). Are you sure you're going that fast? The standard rule of thumb is that 3mph is a medium brisk walk and 4mph is a brisk march. From wikipedia:



    I omitted the reference to speeds of race walking, which is more like a stiff-legged run than anything a non-racer would call "walking."
    Well, according to my Garmin, I'm doing around 5 mph and its fairly well calibrated for low speeds unlike my smartphone GPS app. .I've got long legs but not super long (34" inseam for pants). At five mph I'm just below the point where my hips start gyrating and I go stiff-legged. I walk faster than most folks and shorter folks have to run a little to keep up with me once I hit my sweet spot. I actually prefer a 4mph pace, though.

    The thing is I'm already in really good cardiovascular shape from kayaking, rowing, hiking, XC skiing, skinning, and snowshoeing and biking (road-biking in summer and mountain bike most of year depending conditions)...so walking at 4mph does almost nothing for me....hence kicking it up to 5mph. I don't even break a sweat.

    I enjoy running (moderate distance) a couple milles in the morning and I have decent form (back straight, facing ahead not looking down - my old habit)...and I do enjoy the "runners high" once I hit 8 - 10 miles, I just think I am doing damage with the increased stress on the joints. Even now, I sometimes feel it in the hips after a 5 - 7 mile run. The knees aren't complaining yet, though.

    I guess the answer is a combination of both. Intervals of higher speed running (8 mph pace?), then 4 mph walking, then some sprinting, then walking, then back to running...continue for maybe 3 - 4 miles at least 4 days a week. I can live with that.

    Thanks for everybody's great advice re: heart rate. I figure sprinting intervals are good for keeping heart rate up...and I still llove sprinting and am still fairly fast at the other 100 meter (although Bolt can smoke me like a cigar).

    DigitalDeath: you've got that completely wrong! The people who do neither or nothing, end UP as unhealthy old farts or don't even live to old sge. I would like to be a healthy and very active old fart.
    "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possesive love that grabs at what it can." by Yann Martel from Life of Pi



    Posted by DJSapp:
    "Squirrels are rats with good PR."

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyoverland Captive View Post
    I was running in the park with my kid--when we get to the last quarter mile he says can we sprint. I say--I am sprinting.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Steve View Post
    85% of max is too high according to the new school of aerobic training gurus. Maffetone, whose methods have been widely adopted by world class athletes, says max aerobic training should occur at 180 - age with some adjustments. See http://philmaffetone.com/180-formula Also see http://www.running-world.net/want_speed_slow_down_1.php
    Maffetone was a very good read and enlightening. Adjustments will be made - thanx
    "knowledgeable in escapades of the flesh"

  19. #19
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    Hmmm....maybe I'll just have some fun instead and get a pair of these:

    "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possesive love that grabs at what it can." by Yann Martel from Life of Pi



    Posted by DJSapp:
    "Squirrels are rats with good PR."

  20. #20
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    I'm not supposed to run anymore, so I walk about an hour a day, lot of hills, etc. I noticed skinning a couple of times this year that am going faster with what seems like less effort, so the walking must be helping some

  21. #21
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    run/walk is already a thing
    it's great for recovery from injury or protecting from injury or building up your base
    http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/run-walk/

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Rover View Post
    I guess the answer is a combination of both. Intervals of higher speed running (8 mph pace?), then 4 mph walking, then some sprinting, then walking, then back to running...continue for maybe 3 - 4 miles at least 4 days a week.
    Mixing walking and jogging is a great idea, but the current wisdom is that interval training should be done only for sharpening for a race. See the Want Speed? Slow Down linky.

    Back when Maffetone was just hitting the scene I heard Mike Pigg, the world class triathlete, talk about his experience with Maffetone aerobic training theory. (Mike Pigg wrote the forward for one of Maffetone's books). Maffetone put a cap on Pigg's training max HR, so much so that Pigg had to walk his road bicycle up hills at times. (Imagine a world class athlete walking his road bike up a hill.) Pigg stuck with the program and eventually was able to ride up those hills at a HR below his MAF threshold. That's the key: to get faster at a lower heart rate. Interval training spikes HR and throws a wrench into that process. After the MAF base is achieved, Maffetone will have his athletes do some interval training for a specific event. For we mere mortals following strict Maffetone is difficult if, say, we run hilly trails and pride will not allow us to walk when we should walk.

    Interesting stuff

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Steve View Post
    Mixing walking and jogging is a great idea, but the current wisdom is that interval training should be done only for sharpening for a race. See the Want Speed? Slow Down linky.
    It's my understanding that the catch with the Slow Down/Get Fast approach is that you have to commit quite a bit of time for it to work. Like 10-15 hrs/week for running and 20-30 hrs/week for cycling. Otherwise, you never get enough of a training stimulus to create the adaptations. It's absolutely the gold standard, but not necessarily achievable for people who aren't pro/college athletes and have regular jobs, families, etc. or for people who do sports that require endurance but aren't pure endurance athletes.

    For people who need to maximize their return on training investment, a mix of pure aerobic/low-intensity and moderate-high intensity training is going to deliver the best bang for the buck. This is a great series on the topic: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/tra...g-part-1.html/

  24. #24
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    Prancercise
    "timberridge is terminally vapid" -- a fortune cookie in Yueyang

  25. #25
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    Cheaper than buying weed...

    "When we run, our bodies actually produce endocannabinoids, a naturally occurring form of THC which, along with endorphins, are responsible for the runnerís high that athletes enjoy."
    http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness...r-Athlete.html

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