Should you walk, hike, run or jog?

As with most things people are big advocates for their practice of choice, but for someone looking to start out or someone that has always done a specific cardio method it great to look at the options with their pro’s and con’s so you can decide which is best for your or simply which you want to focus on for a while.

Walking

A great way to get started is always at the beginning and with walking being the easiest least strenuous option it is probably the best way to get going. Like everything walking can be done many ways, you can enjoy a 20 minute stroll or you can tackle a long distance walk. What is great about walking is that it is easier to do long sessions than with running or jogging, without placing too much pressure on your joints, cardiovascular system or mental fatigue. A Big problem with sticking with something is when you over kill it or push too hard, which can leave you flat for days. Let it be to get started, to have an easier session, to have a long hard walk or simply to do something different once a week walking is a great choice especially if it’s outdoors.

Jogging & Running

The difference between jogging and running can be a big debate between people as a jog for one person is a run for another person, which is why we have it in the same category. Your heart rate will increase more here, and will place extra strain on your body meaning it requires more recovery time than walking or hiking. The big trick to increasing your fitness for this is to start walking, then do walking with 2 minute jogs in between which will help your heart rate recover and help you last longer. Remember when running or jogging you still need to warm up otherwise you are in for a tough session that will burn muscle instead of fat. If you have any doubt consult with your health professional to check that your blood pressure and heart are in good health to avoid any problems.

Hiking

Comparing hiking to the other options is tough as hiking brings in a muscular element which will test your physical strength more due to the changes in your altitude as you climb and descent. Navigating around rocks and hills requires balance, coordination and focus. There are always various hikes available but since hiking is in the bush/nature it is not always easy to do hiking everyday or even every week which is why walking/running/jogging should be part of your fitness regime. Hiking brings in a new element as being away from the city and in nature offers huge mental relief and tranquility. An absolute newby could tackle a short 3 km hike which will burn about 500 calories and take you an hour or less, while a tough multiple hour hike could help you burn in excess of 5,000 calories in a session.

As humans walking and traveling on our legs is essential and therefore to be a healthy human being it is important to have it in your routine, let it be daily or monthly. It is always better to start slower in the outdoors than indoors as a treadmill can place unneeded pressure on your joints and is a less ideal movement than a natural movement where you move over the ground instead of the ground moving under you.

Joni Kowensky
Author: Joni Kowensky