Somewhere between a quad-burning, sweat-lathered sprint and a leisurely stroll, there’s a sweet spot known as the jog.
Jogging is often defined as running at a pace less than 6 miles per hour (mph), and it has some significant benefits for people who want to improve their health without overdoing it.
What’s so great about this moderate aerobic exercise? Like running, it improves your cardiorespiratory health and boosts your mood. Here’s a list of some of jogging’s other benefits:
The American Heart Association calls walking the most popular form of exercise in the nation. People walk their dogs, take a stroll on the beach, climb the stairs at work — we love to walk.
But what if walking isn’t getting your heart rate up high enough for long enough? What if you’ve plateaued? Jogging is a great way to increase the intensity of your workout gradually, so you can minimize the risk of an injury that could sideline you for weeks.
Before you start jogging, talk to your doctor to be sure it’s the right form of exercise for you.
Walking, power-walking, jogging, and running — they all improve cardiovascular health and help prevent obesity. But
The study doesn’t distinguish between jogging and running. Instead, it focused on increased weight loss that occurred when participants ran instead of walked.
For the better part of a century, exercise scientists thought vigorous exercise could potentially leave you weakened and at risk for infection and disease. A closer look at the
Moderate exercise, like jogging, actually strengthens your body’s response to illness. That holds true for both short-term illnesses, like upper respiratory tract infections, and long-term illnesses, like diabetes.
Insulin resistance is one of the markers of prediabetes. The cells in your body simply aren’t responding to insulin, the hormone that keeps blood sugar levels in check.
The good news: A
Whether you’re a jogger, Hatha yoga enthusiast, or soccer beast, you’re bound to encounter stress. Jogging may protect the brain from the harmful effects of stress.
Exercise has long been known to help people manage the symptoms of depression, but new science may help explain how.
Elevated cortisol levels have been linked to depressive episodes. Cortisol is a hormone your body releases in response to stress.
A 2018 study examined cortisol levels in people seeking treatment for depression. After 12 weeks of consistent exercise, those who exercised regularly throughout the study had reduced levels of cortisol throughout their entire day.
Doctors at Mayo Clinic advise people who have symptoms of anxiety or depression to take up a physical activity they enjoy. Jogging is just one example.
tips for boosting the benefits of jogging
To get the most out of your jogging routine:
- Use the booty. Running experts say you’ll become a more efficient runner if you use your glutes to propel you.
- Get a gait analysis. A physical therapist who specializes in sports training can help you run safely and efficiently.
- Develop an entire body workout. Add strength, core, and balance training to ban boredom and benefit your whole body.
In between the bony vertebrae in your back, small, flexible discs act like protective pads. The discs are actually sacs filled with fluid. They can shrink and wear out as you get older, especially if you live a relatively sedentary life.
Sitting for long periods can really add to the pressure on these discs over time.
The good news is that jogging or running preserves the size and flexibility of these discs.
The healthier and more hydrated those discs are, the more flexible you’ll feel as you move through your day.
A sedentary lifestyle, whether you’re playing video games or working at your desk, may increase your risk of premature death. What’s less well-known is that jogging at a slow pace just a few times a week might keep you alive much longer.
In the Copenhagen City Heart Study, researchers followed a group of joggers from 2001 to 2013. The group that had the best record of life longevity was the group that ran at a “light” pace for 1 to 2.4 hours, 2 to 3 days a week.
The study received some criticism, in part because “light” wasn’t defined, and what’s considered “light” for an athlete could be quite challenging for someone else. The findings also contradict other research that suggests strenuous exercise may be better for you.
Nevertheless, the study confirms what we already know about getting on the treadmill or hitting the trail: You don’t need to sprint like Caster Semenya or run marathons like Yuki Kawauchi to experience the benefits of aerobic exercise.
The American Heart Association recommends that you take good care of your feet before, during, and after jogging. Wear shoes made for running, talk to a pro about inserts or orthotics, and check for any blisters or swelling after you jog.
Of course, the best time of day to jog is the one that works for you! For many people, that means jogging in the morning before their hectic day eats up every spare moment.
Studies that compare results from exercising at different times of day have found mixed results.
A 2013 review of studies found that, for some men, endurance for aerobic exercise was increased if done in the morning.
A recent study found that exercising in the morning could adjust your circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep in the evening and easier to get up earlier in the morning.
A 2005 review of the literature involving circadian rhythm and exercise concluded that the best time of the day to exercise may depend on the exercise.
While activities that involve fine skills, strategy, and the need to remember coaching advice — like team sports — were better when performed in the morning, endurance activities — like jogging and running — might be more productive if done in the late afternoon or early evening when your core temperature is higher.
However, the researchers caution that their conclusions could be an oversimplification.
If weight loss is your goal, a
tips for injury-free jogging
To avoid injury:
- Get the right gear. To keep from being sidelined with an injury, work with a pro to get the right type and fit in a running shoe.
- Don’t overcushion. It might seem that more padding equals less impact, but if you’re a new runner, the reverse may be true.
Studieshave linked cushy, “maximalist” shoes to greater likelihood of getting hurt.
- Practice good posture. Running with your head down or your shoulders slumped puts extra stress on the rest of your body. Eyes up, shoulders back and down, chest lifted, core engaged — that’s how you prevent injuries to your back and knees.
- Talk to your doctor first. If you’re overweight or it’s been a while since you’ve exercised, talk to your doctor before you start jogging.
Jogging is a form of aerobic exercise in which you maintain a running speed under 6 mph. Regularly jogging can help you lose weight, especially if you also modify your diet.
Jogging can also help you improve your heart health and immune system, reduce insulin resistance, cope with stress and depression, and maintain flexibility as you age.