No matter how fast you go there are few things you can do better for your body than move it. So does it matter whether you jog or run? It depends on your fitness goals.

Benefits of jogging and running

Physical activity such as jogging and running can help you manage or even prevent diabetes and heart disease. Exercise is also a great way to promote healthy cholesterol and weight as well as increase circulation and bone density. The key is to move at a pace that elevates your heart rate.  Jogging or running that raises your heart rate to within 50 to 80% of your maximum heart rate is ideal.  Your maximum heart rate is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. To determine your target heart rate after you exercise place your middle and pointer finger on the inside of your wrist to feel for your pulse. Count the number of beats you feel for ten seconds and multiply that number by six.  For a 45 year old the maximum heart rate would be 175. Exercise at 50 to 80% of her maximum heart rate would mean a target heart rate between 88 and 140 beats per minute.

Why jogging can be better

If you are new to exercise, older than 40 or overweight but you want an exercise routine that is more vigorous than walking, jogging may be just right for you. Joggers enjoy many of the same health and fitness benefits as runners. The activity promotes heart health and is an effective way of managing stress and depression. The mechanics of jogging fall somewhere between walking and running so be sure to wear shoes that provide adequate support.

Why running can be better

Running uses more energy so it burns more calories in less time than jogging does. Because you are moving faster your heart rate will also be more elevated with running. Runners may even have a lower resting heart rate. Determine yours by taking your pulse for 60 seconds before you get out of bed or start moving around.  Most people have a resting heart rate of 60-100 beats per minute. Higher rates indicate poorer physical health.

The final verdict

If you are not ready to run but want to do more than walk, jogging is an excellent choice. You get all of the benefits of running except the super calorie burn. You can torch more calories by doing intervals, alternate short periods of running with jogging to increase the amount of energy you use and boost your heart rate. Running is a good choice if you have been working to build the stamina and fitness level required. Avoid injury or over-training by alternating running with short periods of jogging or walking.