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Can I Get Runner's Legs by Walking?

Boasting toned calves and thighs, runners' legs are coveted by most athletes. Walking, which is a low-intensity exercise that is often used as a substitute for running, works many of the same muscles. In this case, the overall intensity of the exercise does not matter as it is possible to get those svelte runner legs through walking.

Biomechanics of the Exercises

Both running and walking use three main muscle groups in the legs. The hamstrings, quadriceps and gluteal muscles support the motion of propelling your body forward by putting one foot in front of the other. The biggest difference between the two exercises is the impact and intensity. Running is a high-impact, high-intensity exercise because of the effort exerted and the force your body absorbs. Walking doesn't require as much work or force, making it a low-impact, low-intensity exercise.

Scientific Conclusion

A study by Kotaro Sasaki at the University of Texas found that muscles support propulsion in a similar manner in walking and running, concluding that you can develop runner's legs from walking. It is important to note that runners develop toned quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteal muscles by pounding out miles upon miles. For walkers to experience the same benefits, they must log similar mileage.

About the Author

Lora Mays is a RRCA-certified running coach. She has been running for more than 15 years and coaching since 2010. She has published articles on Plum Deluxe and in "Variance Magazine," among other publications. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional strategic communications from the University of Minnesota.