Jogging Is Less Tiring Than Brisk Walking (And 9 More Reasons To Take Up Running)
If taking up running is one of your New Year's resolutions but you haven't quite managed to get started, you might be pleased to hear that a gentle jog is less tiring than a power walk.
A new study has found that running helps a key calf muscle to work more efficiently than it does when walking briskly.
The research team, from North Carolina State University, found that running helps the muscle release more momentum-boosting energy, increasing stamina levels.
The study, published in the National Academy of Sciences, analysed volunteers while walking or running on a treadmill.
The results showed that the medial gastrocnemius muscle attached to the Achilles tendon adjusted according to the movement and speed of the participants, enabling them to shift into a different gear, acting in the same way as a car clutch.
The researchers found that walking fast was less efficient, making the muscle work harder while providing less energy.
Jogging at a speed of two metres per second prompted the muscle to change its length more slowly, providing more power even though it isn't working as hard.
Study author Dr Gregory Sawicki said: "Other than Olympic race walkers, people generally find it more comfortable to run than walk when they start moving at around two metres per second - about 4.5 miles per hour.
"The muscle can’t catch up to the speed of the gait as you walk faster and faster.
"But when you shift the gait and transition from a walk to a run, that same muscle becomes almost static and doesn’t seem to change its behaviour very much as you run faster and faster."
Read about 9 more health benefits of running below...
Health Benefits Of Running
Helps You Sleep
Having trouble nodding off? It stands to reason the more energy you expend during the day the more likely you are to be able to fall asleep easily without feeling restless. Beware of exercising too close to bedtime though as this can leave you feeling over-stimulated and wide awake.
Running boosts blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It also promotes the growth of new brain cells. Studies suggest the effects are strongest in the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and memory.
Good For Your Bones
As a weight-bearing exercise, running helps to build strength in your bones and can reduce the risk of bone disease, osteoporosis.
Running makes the skin appear plumper and smoother by boosting the production of collagen in the skin cells and promotes a clearer complexion by transporting nutrients and flushing out waste. By stimulating circulation and drawing blood to the surface of the skin it promotes a rosy glow while toning the muscles in the face to counteract sagging.
Makes You Happy
Forget reaching for the chocolate to cheer yourself up. Instead, get your running shoes on. A natural anti-depressant, running stimulates the brain's pituitary gland to release endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Plus you won't get any of those post-chocolate guilt pangs - just a feeling of achievement.
As well as boosting your mood, running increases your ability to cope with everyday stress. Go for a run in the morning before work and you'll be in a much better frame of mind to cope with the day's ups and downs.
Running changes the speed with which your body is able to burn fat by altering your metabolism. The average person burns approximately 300 calories per half hour of 10-minute-mile running, making it one of the best energy and fat burning exercises there is.
Improves Muscle Tone
Not only will running help you lose inches, it will help you convert excess fat to muscle, leaving you with a leaner and more defined silhouette - including the upper body as well as your calves, thighs and bottom.
Boosts Immune System
A 2010 study of 1,000 people, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that regular exercise nearly halved the chances of catching cold viruses, or at the least, made the infection less severe.