Driving around town, hiking in the park… almost everywhere I look, it’s rare if I don’t see someone either jogging or running. If you have a membership at a local gym, you definitely see people jogging or running on a treadmill or possibly on an indoor track. Perhaps this daily reminder of its allure has inspired you to take up jogging or running?
What are the differences between jogging vs running? Maybe you’re wondering which would deliver the best health benefits, based on your age and fitness level. So, today, let’s discuss some pros and cons of both.
A Definition of Jogging and Running
Jogging is defined as a form of trotting or running at a slow and leisurely pace. The intention is to increase one’s physical fitness while putting less stress on the participant’s body than they’d normally experience from doing faster running, but with more speed than walking.
While jogging, one is able to maintain a steady speed for longer periods of time. Joggers are often able to run longer distances for longer periods of time than runners, as their bodies are able to endure less stress from the slower, more relaxed pace. They are able to keep their heart rates at a constant pace by maintaining a steady gait.
Running is defined as a method of movement in an exercise setting in which both feet at times have left contact with the ground. It is similar to jogging, but at a faster pace and it is more taxing on the body and muscles.
People who engage in running regularly tend to have better overall fitness and an increased life expectancy. Running is harder on the body than jogging and recovery times can take longer, but strength, speed, and cardiovascular health can be greater for a runner than for a jogger.
Pros of Jogging
- Jogging is better suited for beginners. It’s easier to breathe, travel longer distances, and avoid the typical injuries you might get from faster-paced running. It’s easier to maintain a set fitness level and stay in that range than compared to running.
- Jogging involves less pressure than running. Joggers tend to go for nice, leisurely jogs just for the exercise aspect and health benefits. They aren’t usually pushing themselves to maintain a strict, fast pace for training for races.
- Jogging is better suited for people returning to exercise from an injury. Because jogging is easier on a person’s body, it’s better for someone recovering from an injury to do, initially. You would rarely want to jump right back into running right after recovering from an injury. You can better feel out your body’s response to exercise after an injury through a slower-paced job than running at a harder pace.
Cons of Jogging
- You generally won’t get as good of a cardiovascular workout when jogging, as compared to running. Your beats per minute for your heart rate are considerably lower when jogging than when running. In this regard, jogging would be considered inferior to running, as it relates to your heart health.
- You aren’t pushing toward a timed goal. You’re not as motivated to increase your pace if you’re not tracking personal bests for set distances, or training for a timed race. Jogging is more leisurely exercise compared to running.
- People who jog may not take the need for top-rated running shoes seriously. They might think that at the slower, more relaxed pace they are jogging at, they don’t need quality running shoes. They may use cross-training shoes, basketball shoes, hiking boots, or causal shoes to jog in. This could potentially cause injuries to their feet or joints.
Pros of Running
- Runners have more running clubs and apps that are tailored to their training needs. There seem to be more stat-driven goals in running compared to jogging. Therefore, there are many more in-person and virtual running clubs available for runners. This is also true of phone apps that are geared toward tracking race times and distances, heart rate stats, and even lists of races and upcoming events.
- Running can provide both aerobic and anaerobic workouts. Aerobic and anaerobic exercises use different energy systems within the body. Anaerobic exercise uses energy from the muscles and is more conducive to building muscle while burning fat.
Aerobic exercise uses the energy stored within your body from protein, carbs, and fat, and combines it with the oxygen we breathe to make readily-available energy for our muscles. Aerobic activity can be sustained for longer periods of time, depending on your exercise intensity.
- Running allows for a lot more specialized equipment, shoes, and high-performance clothing options. Running is much harder on the body than jogging. There are a lot more specialized things that assist a runner and protect them against various factors when running. Better running shoes with more arch support or cushioning are very important. Running apparel made from cooler, moisture-wicking materials is an awesome help for runners. Even energy bars or gels during a long, intense run can greatly benefit a runner for additional energy to complete their run.
Cons of Running
- Running is harder on the body than jogging. When you run faster during exercise, a lot more can potentially go wrong. Pulled muscles and strained joints can easily occur with rigorous exercise. Proper warm-ups and stretching are even more important for runners than for joggers. You will always want to always take extra precautions when running, even more so than when jogging.
- Running can cost you more than jogging. Between the need for specialized, higher-end running shoes, as well as performance-enhancing clothes, runners can definitely end up spending more running than they could by jogging. There are also other running-specific tech things like phone apps, smartwatches, and other tools runners use when training for races or trying to achieve personal bests on time.
- If your goal is to burn fat and lose weight, running isn’t as good of a choice as jogging. Because jogging can be done for longer periods of time with a heart rate not being as elevated as it is during running, it has the tendency to burn fat and help the participant lose weight. So, if your goal is either or both of these things, running is not as effective as jogging to accomplish those specific goals.
To Sum Up the Pros and Cons:
In the infographic below, let’s briefly sum up the Pros and Cons of both jogging and running.
How To Decide Between Jogging and Running
If you’ve narrowed down your choice of preferred exercise to jogging and running, hopefully, you now have some information that will help make the choice easier. While you can engage in both activities, most will find it beneficial to focus on one of the two. Much of the decision should be based on a number of factors.
You should consider taking up jogging if:
- You’re newly starting to exercise, and your goal is to lose weight and/or burn fat.
- You’ve had past injuries that may affect your ability to run.
- You’re mainly looking for a peaceful, less-intense type of workout.
- You’re elderly and may not have the physical stamina for intense exercise.
You should consider participating in running if:
- You’d like to compete in races.
- If you are goal-oriented and want to push yourself to set personal bests on time.
- You’re already in excellent physical condition and feel you can push your body harder to get fitter.
- You’re younger in age or haven’t had any type of prior physical injuries that would inhibit you from running.
Final Thoughts on Jogging vs Running:
Both jogging and running can provide amazing health benefits and be quite enjoyable for their participants. Knowing the main differences between the two, and determining which is a better fit for you, will make either activity more rewarding and fun.
Taking into consideration your health, fitness levels, exercise goals, and other logistics will make it easier for you to choose which will be a better fit. I suggest giving both a try, if physically able, to see how you feel about these wonderful activities! And take a partner with you, if able. This will keep you accountable and is a great way to pass the time on longer outings!