What is difference b/n walking fast and running, which different muscles get activated are they different for both? I am asking cause I found my calves getting tightened more while walking fast while running does not cause this?

  • by lower leg, do you mean your calves?
    – apex
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


The Gait Cycle
(Walking vs Running)

The above image compares the gait cycles of walking and running. The same concepts that apply to walking apply to power walking. The only thing that changes is the faster you walk shorter the overall cycle length and caddence (the proportions remain the same).

enter image description here

Biomechanical Comparison
(Walking vs Running)

Initial Contact


Walking mechanics of the lower leg, foot and ankle are inefficient. as most energy from momentum is lost. During heel strike your knee is locked and fully extended causing this energy to be absorbed rather than transferred.


While running your foot does not strike the ground with your heel. Instead contact first occurs more distally on your foot (around your forefoot). Also your knee is never fully extended. Resulting in a more relaxed calf and shorter, more efficient stance phase.

Propulsion Energy


Right before push off, the calf -- which crosses both the knee and ankle, is fully extended and dorsiflexed (called passive insufficiency). While in this position of maximal tension, it’s also supporting the weight of your body. During push off (or propulsion) the lower leg contracts to produce the force lost during heel strike.


During running, the body has an effective muscle work-minimizing strategy. Your lower leg muscles don’t propel you forward like during walking. Energy instead rebounds along compliant legs and unlocked knees. The leg and foot uses recycled energy for propulsion. As your foot hits the ground, impact energy is stored in the muscles and tendons are used to propel you forward.

Source: http://jeb.biologists.org/content/216/11/2150

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