I have been doing a jogging training program for four weeks now and I can easily jog for 30 minutes. I would guess than walking at my normal speed would be fine but if there is a slope I start breathing really heavily after about two or three blocks and I can barely can finish a sentence without gasping for air.

Is this normal? Could anyone explain why this happens?

Thank you.

  • Walking is inefficient. It uses more oxygen and calories per mile than running the same distance. Or at least, than running the same distance in a particular way---you can run in a deliberately inefficient manner, like using very tiny steps. People don't naturally do that; they find an efficient way, especially with the help of training.
    – Kaz
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 1:31
  • I have done breathing experiments where I have tried breathing in the same pattern while walking as I do while running. I found it was difficult to breathe once per 32 steps while walking, whereas I can easily do that at my easiest running pace. And consider that the walking steps are shorter: there is more of them in a mile! So, I clearly have to breathe more times in a mile when I walk that mile than if I run it, which quite probably correlates with more oxygen use.
    – Kaz
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 1:34

1 Answer 1


The human body is a very adaptable machine. In no time at all it can adapt to most any kind of condition it is put through. This is why exercise becomes easier over time. The body becomes more efficient at the particular exercise because it expects it and makes the required changes to perform the exercise.

Your body has gotten used to the 30 minute jog so when you do the jog, it regulates your blood oxigen levels, your heart rate, your muscle contractions, etc to suit the task. When you walk up a hill, your body is confronted with a task it is not prepared for so you fatigue much more quickly.

This is essential to keeping in shape. This is why it is good practice to switch things up every few weeks when you exercise regularly. Never let the body get used to a particular movement. Keep it confused all the time and you will see results much quicker.

Edited to add...

Some sources regarding workout plateaus:

Link 1

Link 2 *See "Problem 4" and "problem 5"

Note: A simple Google search can provide you with any number of references to workout plateaus.

  • Sure... Although this is common knowledge for quite some time now, I have edited my answer to add some sources.
    – MikeV
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 14:36

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