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From: What are the pros and cons of running versus walking?

If you run 10 miles, you will probably find it hard to do anything else the rest of the day. Walking 10 miles will leave you will more energy.[sic]

Why does walking leave us with more energy? Is there any evidence behind this claim?

  • Depends on the person, a long distance runner may feel more energised after a long run. – Gunge Jan 13 '17 at 10:42
  • I just meant more energy than running. I have done both many times. A 3 hour walk, while time consuming and not easy, leaves me with energy to do other things that day. A 10 mile run ruins me for the rest of the day, and sometimes longer. – michael Jan 14 '17 at 1:45
  • Its quite simple - Running uses a lot more calories. And since calories are energy, you will have more calories left over after a walk. – Craig Jan 21 '17 at 0:55
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Short answer:

In the context of the question, I believe the answer was just saying that running is far more exhaustive than walking. Thus walking will leave you less drained than running will.

Long answer:

There are two aspects to look at, the effects of running on your energy levels and the effects of running on your body.

Regarding energy levels, the human body has various energy stores that are used to produce the exertion needed for moving. It takes more energy to move a single object over a set distance at a fast rate then it would to move the same object over the same distance at a slow rate.

Then there's how running effects the rest of the body. Mainly the muscles and bones. Depending on how fast you run, the muscles are going to break down and damage a little. Then they heal and become stronger next time. This is a necessary cycle for adaption, but there is this recovery time immediately after a run where your slightly weaker than when you started. The bones during the run also act like shock absorbers taking in the impact of each stride. Likewise, bones become hardened over time, but there is still a recovery period. Walking, in contrast, isn't as intense and does not have such a recover period.

All of this is relative to the fitness level of the individual though. Most people can probably walk for ten miles given the right motivation. Those that don't walk often will feel exhausted because they have not adapted to the work. Those that walk often will feel great. Likewise, an ultra-marathon runner could run ten miles and feel great afterwards.

  • +1 for energy/speed, muscle break down and bones/joint shock absorbtion. I believe these are the main points. Let me add a personal experience: Sometimes when I hike for 15 miles, I feel more exhausted than after a 15 mile run in some ways (even with similar altitude levels). The reason is that running and hiking do target (slightly) different muscle groups. So your level of muscle adaption can vary. Secondly, running for 15 miles (2 hours) leaves you with free recovery time while walking 15 miles takes around 4-5 hours. That might also let the runner feel more energized after the 15 miles. – eigenvector Feb 22 '17 at 7:05
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According to Essentials of Exercise Physiology (2011) by V. L. Katch, W. D. McArdle, and F. I. Katch, the energy economy for walking at low speed is higher. Running becomes more practical (requires less calories) when higher speeds are required:

Walking speed relates linearly to oxygen uptake between speeds of 1.9 and 3.1 mph; walking becomes less economical at speeds faster than 4.0 mph.

This explains why walking 10 miles (considering normal speed ~3 mph) expends less energy than running the same distance.

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