Running in place is often used as a part of a warmup before an exercise session. The practice can include agility drills such as:

  • high knees
  • butt kicks
  • jump squats

Running in place doesn’t provide the same benefits as running since you use different muscles and movements, but many of the benefits are similar.

Running in place is a fantastic aerobic workout option when you want to run but find yourself unable to run outside or on a treadmill.

It may be your best option if:

  • you’re cramped up in a hotel room
  • you need to burn off some steam at work
  • you’re in an airport during a long layover

If you want to do a longer cardio session, running in place may not be the best long-term option unless alternatives are limited.

  • Running in place is an aerobic exercise that requires you to constantly move and contract your muscles, which improves muscle strength, stability, and flexibility.
  • You must use proper form in order to maximize the benefits of running in place. Running in place on a carpet or padding can help to reduce some of the impact and stress on your body.
  • Running requires — and helps to develop — a strong core and upper body in addition to a powerful lower body.
  • Running in place may help to reduce pain in your knees while making them stronger and healthier.
  • Developing the balance, agility, and coordination to run in place may allow you to reduce your risk of falls or injuries.
  • Research from 2015 found that running in place while engaging the abdominal muscles helps to improve posture.
  • Running in place elevates your heart rate, improves blood sugar levels, and burns calories and fat, all of which help with weight loss.
  • You’ll also boost cardiovascular function, enhance lung capacity, and improve circulation.
  • Incorporating other cardio exercises will target different muscles and change up your routine to prevent boredom.

Running in place requires different muscle movements than normal running. It doesn’t use the same body mechanics as regular running, so you’ll be using your muscles in different ways.

Running in place doesn’t require you to use the muscles that propel you to move forward. You’ll be landing on your toes more, which builds ankle and lower leg strength.

However, using the toes and balls of your feet more can put excess pressure on your knees and hips.

Instead of propelling your body forward, you’ll lift your knees straight up, which requires less glute strength. You may experience muscle fatigue, soreness, or discomfort after running in place.

Maintaining the correct form while running in place may be challenging to do for long periods.

Running in place is ideal if you want to do a few 10-minute running sessions throughout the day and are limited in terms of space.

Regular running will activate your hamstrings and glutes more while putting less stress on your hip flexors. Overall, running is easier on your body and provides more cardiovascular benefits than running in place.

Always warm up your body by starting at a slower pace or doing a few warm-up exercises before you get started. Finish with a cool-down by walking or jogging in place for a few minutes and doing a few stretches.

While running in place, use your upper body strength to move your arms back and forth. Increase the intensity by moving your feet more quickly.

To run in place:

  1. Lift your right arm and left foot at the same time.
  2. Raise your knee as high as your hips.
  3. Then switch to the opposite foot, quickly lifting your right foot to hip height.
  4. At the same time, move your right arm back and your left arm forward and up.
  5. Continue these movements.

You can run in place for an interval workout and break it up with different drills. Start with a 10-minute interval. Gradually build up the duration and intensity by extending each interval to 15 to 20 minutes.

You can also make your resting period shorter.

For example:

  • Jog in place for 4 minutes.
  • Run faster for 2 minutes.
  • Do 1 minute of a bodyweight exercise.
  • Jog in place for 3 minutes.
  • Rest for 1 to 2 minutes.

Talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program, especially if you’re new to fitness.

Running in place may put more stress on certain muscles, especially if you do it for longer periods. You may experience pain in your:

  • hips
  • shins
  • ankles

Build up your routine slowly and make sure you’re using the correct form. Stop running if you have any injuries or feel you’ve pushed yourself too hard.

Opt for a low-impact exercise while your body is recovering. Talk to a physical therapist or personal trainer if you want someone to take a look at your technique.

Depending on your goals, you may find it more beneficial to walk rather than run in place. Walking puts less pressure on your joints, and you may be able to do it for longer.

Running in place is more stressful on the body. However, it may burn more calories than walking, which may lead to increased weight loss. It also has a more positive effect on cardiovascular health.

Although, it may be difficult to run in place for a sustained amount of time while walking for longer periods is easier on the body.

Overall, both running, in any form, and walking are excellent forms of exercise that you can adapt to suit your fitness goals.

Running in place will most likely not be the main exercise in your fitness plan, but it can definitely bring you results. It’s a sufficient way to:

  • boost cardio health
  • burn calories
  • build strength

Even though you’re not getting the exact benefits as regular running, running in place is still an effective workout. It’s ideal when you can’t go for a normal run or want to squeeze in a short workout during your workday.

Experiment with different exercises to include while running in place to target different muscle groups and add some variation to your routine.