Jogging and Running

Jogging and running, as practically everyone knows, are excellent ways of improving cardiovascular health, bone density, and physical fitness. Is there a difference between the two?

Dr. George Sheehan, a running expert, put it this way: "The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank.” Boxers and some other athletes simply know jogging and running as "roadwork."

A dictionary definition of running says: “To go steadily by springing steps so that both feet leave the ground for an instant in each step. While walking, one foot is always on the ground. To jog is to run slowly. To sprint is to run fast.”

University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman, published the book Jogging in 1966, establishing jogging programs for men and women of all ages. The popularity of these programs helped to spread the concept of long slow distance running as an exercise for everyone.

Jogging can, however, have a dark side. It is a high-impact exercise that puts strain on body joints, particularly the joints of the knee. It can also irritate the lower back and hips in some people. For those reasons, many people take up lower-impact cardio exercise such as stair climbing, swimming, aqua jogging, cycling or walking.

Sprint intervals may not place as much stress on your joints as long slow distance, which by its nature is relentlessly repetitive. Many fitness experts say that intervals also are better fat burners than long slow distance running. But it should be noted that beginners, seniors, and very overweight people should not begin a cardio program of sprint interval running. It is too intense. Progressively, work up to intervals if you want to do them.

So advocates for higher intensity interval training believe their way is superior to jogging. And long slow distance runners think just the opposite. My personal view favors intervals because they tend to develop muscle as well as providing cardio exercise. While long slow distance — taken too far — becomes catabolic (the wasting away of muscle).

When making judgments as to which method is better for weight loss, one factor can get lost in the assessment. Serious portion control eating to cut calories is the primary reason for weight loss.

Good dietary habits will normalize body weight if you are a walker, a runner, swimmer, or cyclist. High intensity intervals may make it happen faster. But any form of cardio, plus resistance exercise, will do the job when you reduce calories.

My advice is to select the type of jogging and running that you enjoy. You are far more likely to stick to it if you like it. Then develop a plan for exercise frequency, intensity and duration. And have an understanding of the intensity guidelines: the Talk Test, The Standard Method, or Karvonen Formula.

Return from Jogging and Running to the Cardio page.