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Walking and trail running - a different kind of endurance sport

Running offers numerous health benefits and is one of the most popular sports, but not everyone is comfortable with it. Many find it too strenuous, others simply find it boring or not varied enough. However, there are numerous alternatives to conventional jogging. We present two of them in our blog post.

Table of contents:
  • Walking and Nordic walking
  • What is walking
  • ? Walking: what's the point?
  • Calorie consumption during walking
  • Walking and Nordic walking: suitable for everyone
  • Trail running
  • What types of trail running are there
  • How do I find trail running routes?

Walking and Nordic walking

Walking is the ideal introduction to endurance sports. Walking often also serves as a transition to running: For complete running beginners* or after a longer break, it is recommended to build up some fitness first.

What is walking?

The speed of walking is around 5-8 km/h. It is therefore somewhere between normal walking and fast jogging. Typical of walking is the use of the arms. These are bent and swung in the opposite direction to the legs. If the left leg is in front, the right arm is in front and vice versa. Nordic walking uses poles to support this typical movement sequence and thus trains the upper body even more than walking without poles. However, there is more to the technique than with simple walking. The term power walking refers to walking at maximum speed and is particularly interesting for experienced walkers who have already built up their fitness.

Walking: what's the point?

The major advantages of walking are obvious: you can start right outside your front door, don't need any expensive equipment and are independent of club memberships or gyms. At the same time, walking is less intense and easier on the joints than jogging. It therefore puts less strain on the body and the risk of injury is also lower. Just like jogging, walking is ideal for increasing endurance and strengthening the cardiovascular system. Regular walking prevents illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes and dementia. Exercise in the fresh air also has a relaxing effect and reduces stress. Studies show that regular walking is just as beneficial to health as running.

Calorie consumption when walking

Walking is therefore also suitable if you want to lose weight. You burn around 400 calories per hour when walking. The calorie consumption is therefore similar to cycling. Of course, the faster and longer the training session, the more calories are burned. With Nordic walking, the calorie consumption is around 30% higher, as more muscle groups are used.

Which is more effective for losing weight - running or walking?

Running requires more energy than walking and is therefore ahead in terms of calorie consumption. However, it should be noted that the duration and intensity are always decisive. For example, you can burn more calories with an hour of fast walking than with half an hour of slow running.

Read this blog post to find out which summer sports burn the most calories.

Walking and Nordic walking: suitable for everyone? As walking and Nordic walking are easier on the joints than jogging, they are also suitable for people who are overweight or have joint problems - in consultation with their doctor. Walking is also popular during or after pregnancy and can also be done with a baby carriage. It is also important to consult your doctor beforehand.

You can read more about running in our blog post: Running: Everything you need to know!

Trail running

Trail running is probably the hottest alternative to conventional running at the moment. The term refers to running on non-asphalted paths (trail = path, trail) - across country through nature. Trail running has been gaining in popularity for several years now. There are not many rules when it comes to trail running: forests, meadows, gravel paths - basically anything that takes place away from the usual asphalt is allowed. Trail running is all about experiencing nature and variety. Even the same route can present you with new challenges if the weather conditions change. Exercising in nature ensures maximum relaxation and also challenges your body. Due to the constantly changing ground, your movement sequences have to constantly adapt. This improves your responsiveness and strengthens your muscles.

What types of trail running are there?

Trail running can be divided into various sub-disciplines. Due to the great popularity of trail running, new forms are constantly developing.

The best known include:

Cross running

Cross-country running is all about getting from your front door to the great outdoors as quickly as possible. You start on your usual road and then find your way through woods and meadows. It is therefore a combination of conventional running and trail running and is particularly suitable for beginners.


Cross-adventure is suitable for anyone who loves a challenge. Here you don't run through woods and meadows, but head into the mountains. As the risk of accidents is increased due to rubble or scree, cross-adventure is only suitable for experienced runners.

Cross speed

The aim of cross-speed is to run a certain distance in the shortest possible time. So if you like speed and time constraints, cross-speed is the right choice.

How do I find trail running routes? Whether at home or on vacation: trail running routes can be found all over the world. In addition to official competition routes, hiking trails are also suitable for trail running. If you can't find what you're looking for online or in your immediate vicinity, you can also ask hiking guides and local clubs for suitable routes. Important: If you are venturing into unknown terrain, be sure to take your smartphone with you in case of emergencies.

P. T. Williams, P. D. Thompson. The relationship of walking intensity to total and cause-specific mortality. Results from the National Walkers' Health Study. PLOS ONE 2013;8(11):e81098.
P. T. Williams, P. D. Thompson. Walking versus running for hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2013;33(5):1085-91.