Brisk walking vs running. Which is a better cardio exercise?

Brisk walking vs running- Which is a better exercise for you?

Welcome back to the lockdown chronicles. Let’s talk about brisk walking vs running.

I’m sure we all know that one friend who is suddenly running 10km or 20+km after Circuit breaker or lockdown. Or that one friend that walked the whole of Singapore just because the borders are closed, and we can’t travel.

Due to the current Covid 19 pandemic, people have been looking for new ways to exercise outdoors as well as have a small taste of traveling without actually traveling. I think it’s safe to say that more people have been including runs and walks in their daily routine especially during this pandemic.  

Since the borders are closed Singaporeans have been heading down to nature parks and trails for their daily exercise with friends and family. We all know by now that having our daily 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day is important for overall health and fitness.

However, the dilemma of deciding whether to run or brisk walk is on most minds.

Let me help you break down the advantages and disadvantages today as well as to answer the million-dollar question of which activity burns more calories?


Brisk walking

Is defined as moderate aerobic activity at around less than 4.5 mph. 


  1. Low impact, walking generates lesser downward force hence it’s easier on your joints.
  2. Reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  3. It is easy to start doing and convenient to do- Don’t need any special equipment. (just you and a pair of shoes will do!)
  4. Fewer injuries compared to running.
  5. Brisk walking burns more fat- when doing a lower intensity activity our body uses fat as fuel.


  1. It Burns fewer calories compared to running. Although it burns more fat compared to running which burns carbohydrates as its main fuel source. Walking however burns fewer calories making it harder to be in a calorie deficit and lose weight.
  2. Walking is lower-body focused, and there is little to no stimulation of the upper body.


Running or Jogging

Is defined as moderate to vigorous aerobic and anaerobic activity. 


  1. Promotes cardiovascular health as your heart muscles work harder to pump blood during running and over time, like all muscles it gets stronger and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke, heart attack.
  2. Running consistently improves resting heart rate. Resting heart rate indicates how hard your heart works at rest. The normal range is between 60bpm to 100bpm. RHR is a good way to gauge overall health and fitness. The lower your RHR means that your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to supply your body with blood. 
  3. Running is a weight-bearing activity and it strengthens your bones and muscles. Having strong bone density can help prevent future muscular and skeletal deficiencies like osteoporosis or arthritis.
  4. Running helps you study! It boosts your cortisol levels which help you study and retain information better!  
  5. Experience the runners high. After a run, your body produces endorphins that interact with your brain giving you the feeling of euphoria.


  1. Hard on your joints like knees, ankle, lower back due to the greater force produced. It May lead to injuries like runners knees, meniscus/cartilage damage, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendon injuries.
  2. To put it simply, when you run you create more ground reaction force of up to 2.5 times your body weight. This is because more force is exerted to propel you forward. Hence, leading to the injuries mentioned above.
  3. People with pre-existing/existing injuries should consult their doctor before proceeding to running or jogging.


Tips for running and brisk walking.

  • Select a song playlist that’s about the speed you want to go for. Music can help motivate you for your walk/run. I suggest finding a different bpm playlist on Spotify.
  • Set a goal: you can aim to achieve a certain mileage weekly and increase the mileage or frequency over time
  • Walk with friends. Walking with friends makes the journey more fun and exciting.
  • Stick to a routine. It is easier to keep up with your workouts if you have a fixed routine. Try walking/running on alternate days and doing 1 or 2 resistance workouts in between. 
  • Remember to rest and recover. If you’re just starting, take rest days in between and stretch and cool down after every run/brisk walk.
  • Don’t forget your warmup. Warming up helps your muscles get ready for the activity and prevents injury.
  • A good pair of shoes lasts a long way.
  • Explore different trails around Singapore, there are many different spots for you to take in the sights of nature.


Some recommendations include:

The Rail Corridor – woodlands to Tanjong Pagar. It is a great shaded trail with old railway tracks along the way. The entire trail is 25km, but there are many entry points along the way for you to better suit your distance.

MacRitchie Treetop Walk – there are plenty of trials in McRitchie but my personal favourite has got to be the treetop walk. The suspension bridge between the tall trees makes for the perfect spot to take pictures and breathe in the fresh air.

Coast to Coast trail – if you are feeling adventurous, the coast to coast trail is for you! As its name suggests, the trail spans from one coast to another and connects all the parks and. It is 36km away and a great way to explore Singapore on foot!

So, after the lengthy explanation on the pros and cons of walking and running, which is better- Brisk walking or running?

If you are looking to lose weight, running works best in my opinion. This is because it burns the most calories compared to brisk walking in the same amount of time. That said, if you are suffering from any injuries or health conditions walking is a great way to start and get your exercise in.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to get moving and take a step to improve your overall fitness, and if that means walking or brisk walking that is still your mission accomplished. 

The key to fitness and wellness is to do everything in moderation. Too much running is detrimental to our body and I suggest switching it up once in a while with walking, swimming, or even cycling.

Don’t forget to do some resistance work as well to help strengthen those muscles. Hope you’ve found some helpful tips today. See you out on the tracks!




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