Both sprinting and jogging have a wide range of health benefits. Each is a cardiovascular activity that can support weight-loss, increase your endorphins as well as generally improving your health, so it can be difficult to choose a side. One of the main decisions for sprinters vs joggers is the type of weight-loss they are looking for.
Sprinting burns more calories per minute as it puts a bigger stress on the body, however, the type of weight-loss this provides is that of a strong, powerful physique with lots of muscle gain; whereas a jogger will burn more calories per workout and have a smaller physique built for endurance with less defined muscles. The reason behind the two is to do with the development of fast twitch vs slow twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscle fibers are thicker, shorter, and are used for explosive movements so tire extremely quickly, whilst slow twitch fibers and thinner, elongated and do not tire as quickly so they are used in endurance based sports.
Although physique can be a large part of the decision, the type of health benefits and ways in which each style of running pushes your body produces interesting results. To understand the styles a little better, I have provided a breakdown of the benefits of jogging vs sprinting on calories, weight loss, and fat burning:
The human body is not designed to sustain a sprint at your top speed for more than 30 – 60 seconds at a time. This means that sprint training involves a lot of walking/ light intensity exercise in between sprints; although you are training for 20 minutes, you may only be sprinting for 8 of those if you have a 90-second interval in between each sprint.
Sprinting is a style which can be too intense for individuals who have not worked out in a long time, and therefore the risks of injury are much higher than in jogging. In fact, research shows the best way to get fit is to begin walking and jogging and increase the intervals of jogging until you are running non-stop for 30 minutes. Only after that building sprint training into your workout.
The number of calories burned throughout a training session will vary greatly depending on your weight. For example a 150-lb woman: If she sprints at a speed of 10 mph for one minute, she will burn around 20 calories. If she sprints at 8 mph for one minute, she will burn around 15 calories.
Sprinting and Weight loss
Sprinting stimulates the production of the human growth hormone, which is the hormone responsible for cell growth and regeneration. Therefore, sprinting stimulates the increase of muscle mass and bone density, as well as improving the health of the human tissue. The leaner muscles you have, the more fat you will burn and the faster your metabolism will be. This also means that although you will be burning fat, you will also potentially gain weight as your body builds muscle, offering a leaner and toned frame but an overall heavier weight.
Sprinting and Fat Burning
Sprinting is an effective fat burning exercise as it teaches the body to use fat as energy instead of oxygen; therefore, the fast twitch muscles use glucose and glycogen stores to create the explosive energy you see from sprinters.
Health Benefits of Sprinting
Research into interval training such as sprinting has highlighted the significant difference in the health of those who have begun this form of training. A comparison study in 2008 between endurance and interval training, revealed that overweight women showed improved arterial structure within their heart, as well as decreases in chronic inflammation which is the cause of many different functionality impairments. Another cardiovascular benefit is a decline in systolic blood pressure.
In the elderly, the increase of fast twitch muscles also supports the decrease in the likelihood of falls and clumsiness as the muscles help to create explosive power and quicker reaction times.
Insulin and Blood Sugar
Another study into the benefits of interval training suggests that this style of exercise increases an individual’s sensitivity to insulin and blood sugar tolerance. This is partly due to the decrease in chronic inflammation, but can also be attributed to the way cells adapt to create the energy needed for the fast twitch muscles.
Interval and sprint training are better for pulmonary lung function than aerobic activities as it will condition your body to create energy for activities such as running upstairs. The lung capacity will increase as the body will need to replenish energy through oxidizing the muscles during the resting periods. This will train your body to increase lung capacity to meet the demand.
Jogging is not only a good starting point for individuals looking to get fit, it is also recommended by governments worldwide. This is because the lower intensity makes it more accessible to a wider range of individuals. It’s recommended to train so that you can jog 3 miles in 30 minutes with ease; however, this appears to be a goal for individuals at the beginning of their training, once you can do this, the possibilities are endless. Jogging is about setting your own targets about distances and times and is very much about what works for you. This is not to say that sprint training does not allow you to set a range of goals, it only means that the goals are much more restrictive as your body can only take so much of this style of exercise.
As with sprinting, the calories burned throughout a jog will vary depending on your starting weight. In the example of the 150-lbs person, jogging will burn roughly 10 calories per minute, and walking will burn 5 calories.
Therefore a 20-minute jog will burn 200 calories, whereas sprint training for the same amount of time would burn 180 calories at 8mph full sprint, or 220 calories at 10mph. Jogging rarely lasts for only 20 minutes, which means that you are more likely to burn much more calories than this; however, sprint training does have a limit as the stress this style of exercise puts the body under means it’s more restrictive.
Jogging and Weight loss
Jogging has the potential to help you lose a significant amount of weight due to the calories that you can burn using this exercise. Like all exercise, weight loss will depend on a few factors such as pace, duration of workouts and current body weight. Weight loss through jogging has more potential than weight loss through other forms of exercise due to the adaptability of jogging. Depending on your goals and your ability, you can adjust your schedule to help you burn more calories and therefore reach your weight loss goals much quicker than if you stick to a specific routine.
The important thing about jogging is to remember that it is an entirely individual exercise, and can be adapted to meet your targets. You have the option to use training schedules, but most encourage you to use them to develop at your own speed. This means that your weight loss is also entirely in your hands.
Jogging and Fat Burning
The most fat is burned during extended durations of low-intensity exercise. This is because the longer the activity the more fat is oxidized, and for up to 2 – 3 hours after a run the oxidization is still occurring. It’s recommended to only consume liquids and small amounts of protein in this time-period for the maximum effect. The optimum fat burning pace is at a speed where you can maintain a full conversation and should be able to keep going for 8 hours – not that I recommend running for that long, but that’s the pace you should be at, it’s very slow!
Jogging also uses glycogen stores and amino acids, and therefore if you jog for longer than 45 minutes, calories needed for building muscle mass will be burned away. Therefore, it is recommended to include weight training into your weekly workouts to stimulate the growth and toning of your muscles.
Health Benefits of Jogging
It’s not a surprise that jogging improves your cognitive function as almost every form of exercise is linked to the release of endorphins. However, jogging also decreases inflammation in the brain, which can improve hormone balance, energize you and lead to clearer decision making.
Aerobic fitness such as jogging has a strong correlation with quality of life. This is partly due to the diseases and conditions that jogging helps to prevent: such as hypertension, heart disease, and cancer. As the heart strengthens through this form of exercise, it helps regulate your blood pressure and lower LDL (bad cholesterol).
Research has also linked jogging to be helpful in the prevention of some cancers due to the oxygenation of the entire body. It is a common fact that cells deprived of adequate oxygen are known to mutate more fiercely and can turn malignant, which means that jogging helps prevent this from occurring.
The Immune System
In recent studies, it has been revealed that aerobic exercise promotes the stimulation of macrophages which are bacteria fighting cells and lymphocytes which support the immune system in deterring infection diseases. Jogging not only helps stimulate these cells but also encourages the circulation of these cells around the body, which systematically helps boost the overall immunity of an individual.
Sprinting Vs Jogging: Which is Better for Weight Loss
Most jogs are going to be 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Given this comparision, if a typical jog is about 40 minutes, you’ll burn about 400 calories and if you do 60 minutes, you’ll burn 600 calories. Even the most keen sprinters are unlikely to put in more than 10-20 minutes of pure sprinting time which is going to only give around 400 calories burned.
Spriting burns more calories, but the pace is relentless and you can only do so much. So it’s likely that you will burn MORE calories with longer, slow duration running.
However, there may be some metabolic advantages to sprinting, as your fat-burning levels will be elevated and your body will maintain more muscle mass. Long distance runners, on the other hand, often have problems keeping any extra muscle mass as the body has a tendency to keep muscle mass to a minimum for better running effeciency.
If building up maximum strength and keeping as much muscle on your body is your goal, then regular sprinting is likely superior to regular jogging.
The Final Word
Which is ‘the better’ exercise?
Sprinting may have seemed the obvious choice for burning calories per minute. But, long duration runs burn more calories over time. No matter how hard you sprint for a 10-20 minute session, you are not going to burn as many calories as a long 40 minute to 1 hour run.
However, both types of workouts provide different benefits, so neither is the clear winner. If you are a body builder or you are trying to improve your overall strength while keeping yoru cardiovascular system in good shape, spriting may be the better exercise.
However, long distance runinng can build up your aerobic base — something that sprint work, which is primarly anerobic — won’t do.
So we do, in fact, recommend you do bothlonger duration runs AND shorter sprint work on a regular basis. In moderation, long distance running will not hinder your overall strength and muscular gains. Paired with regular sprinting, you will see more benefits than by just doing sprinting (or only jogging alone).