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Can Jogging 20 Minutes Burn Belly Fat?

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Can Jogging 20 Minutes Burn Belly Fat?
Woman jogging in woods Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Carrying extra fat around your midsection increases your risk of disease. Belly fat is receptive to traditional methods of weight loss including a modified diet and exercise. Jogging requires little extra equipment and you can do it almost anywhere. Although the minimum recommendations for exercise made by the American College of Sports Medicine include 20 minutes of jogging, or other vigorous cardiovascular exercise, three days a week -- this may not be enough to reduce belly fat.


Men with a waist size greater than 40 inches and women with a waist size greater than 33 to 35 inches are at a greater risk of certain chronic health problems including heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep disorders and some cancers. Belly fat is a specific type of fat called visceral fat that encases your internal organs. Visceral fat may also secrete hormones that negatively affect your health.


Jogging is one strategy for addressing belly fat. A study published in the “Journal of Applied Physiology” in October 2005 indicates that jogging the equivalent of 20 miles per week helped participants lose belly fat, while jogging the equivalent of 11 to 12 miles per week only helped prevent the accumulation of additional belly fat. If you jog at a pace of 5.5 mph, you will cover about 1.8 miles total. Even if you jogged 20 minutes every day, your weekly mileage would total just 12.6 miles – enough to prevent additional gain, but probably not enough to induce a significant loss of belly fat.


You need to exercise 60 to 90 minutes per day, five times per week, to lose weight – including belly fat. To jog 20 miles, you should aim for about 40 to 45 minutes, five times per week. Modifying your diet can also hasten your belly fat loss. Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins while shunning foods high in sugar, refined white flour and saturated or trans fats can also help.


Jogging may be uncomfortable or cause injury if you are overweight. The Cleveland Clinic notes that if you are more than 50 lbs. overweight, cycling may be a better choice for exercise because it does not put stress on your joints and ligaments. If you are new to exercise, consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.

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