Jogging is a simple exercise that enjoys a great deal of popularity. It’s fun, easy to do with a partner or independently, doesn’t require a gym or special equipment and is very effective as a weight loss tool. Jogging puts less strain on the knees and the lower body than running or sprinting, so it’s an exercise that many people can do consistently throughout their lives.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, jogging and related forms of physical activity can help you strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your mood and reduce the risk of conditions such as cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Because of its calorie burning potential, it’s also a powerful aid for weight loss. A 155-pound person burns more than 450 calories per hour while jogging.
For a person who has never jogged before or has minimal jogging experience, it’s best to start out with a weight loss plan that includes a lot of walking. The fitness resource Cool Running recommends beginning by walking and jogging for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, three times per week. Warm up by walking briskly for five minutes, and fill the rest of the time by jogging in one-minute increments and then walking for 90-second intervals. As time goes on, gradually increase the amount of time that you jog and decrease the amount of time that you walk.
People with more advanced skill levels or greater endurance may find it more helpful to start out by jogging for longer periods of time. One goal is to gradually work up to the point at which it’s possible to jog for 30 minutes without stopping. More experienced joggers can experiment with interval training, which may involve alternating periods of jogging with periods of sprinting or running. Interval training burns more calories than continuous moderate activity over the same period of time.
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that healthy adults complete a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 60 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. For weight loss, it’s always advisable to exceed the minimum recommendations, especially if your exercise sessions are lightly or moderately paced. Additionally, the Cleveland Clinic recommends rounding out a complete exercise program with strength training and stretching. Those activities will build muscle mass, help prevent injury and encourage a trim figure at any weight.
To lose weight as quickly as possible, combine a jogging program with a healthy, reduced calorie diet that focuses on fresh and unprocessed or minimally processed foods, which will generally provide the most beneficial nutrients. Finally, it’s also helpful to have weight loss goals that involve benchmarks other than scale numbers. For example, try creating a goal of climbing one flight of stairs without getting out of breath or jogging for 1 mile without stopping to walk.