Is Running in Place a Good Cardio Exercise?

Is Running in Place a Good Cardio Exercise?
Is Running in Place a Good Cardio Exercise? (Image: g-stockstudio/iStock/GettyImages)

Running in place can be a simple solution when the weather outside is frightful or you just don't have access to a safe route. Put some effort into it and you'll definitely burn some calories and increase your heart rate, too. This energy output can be used to boost heart health and help you lose weight. While you can run in place in your living room, you'll get a bigger boost for your effort by using a treadmill.

Heart Rate and Calorie Burn

You will raise your heart rate while running in place. How much depends on your existing fitness level and how much effort you put into it. Some people can reach a heart rate up to 180 beats per minute, which stimulates blood flow and healthy lung function. The average person weighing 150 pounds can burn approximately 286 calories in just half an hour of vigorously pumping his legs and arms.

Steady Intensity

Running in place is a good way to reach a steady state of cardiovascular exercise. When your workout reaches a certain level of intensity, your heart rate increases to meet the body's demand for oxygen in the blood. Running in place keeps the cardiovascular system working long enough to steadily burn away unwanted fat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises you participate in moderate-intensity cardio at least 150 minutes per week, or 30 minutes per day on most days. You can break your running in place into chunks of 10 minutes or longer to accomplish this goal. For example, run in place for 10 minutes when you wake up, take a 10-minute afternoon run and finish your evening with a final 10-minute pump.

Running on a Treadmill

Woman running on a treadmill at home
Running on a treadmill is one of the easiest ways to run in place. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Running on a treadmill is an effective way to run in place. You're able to get a cardiovascular workout, easily track your progress and scale your workout to fit your own fitness levels. Running on a treadmill is superior to jogging in your living room because you must use more energy to propel your body weight forward, thus increasing your heart rate more effectively and enhancing calorie burn.

Running with Video Games

Happy father and his children playing video games
Games like WiiFit and Dance Dance Revolution encourage you to exercise and burn calories in a fun, interactive setting. (Image: Sean Prior/Hemera/Getty Images)

One way schools and parents are getting their kids to run in place for fitness benefits is by incorporating video games into their routines and curriculum. Games like WiiFit and Dance Dance Revolution encourage you to exercise and burn calories in a fun, interactive setting. It may not be quite the same as hitting the treadmill or track, but if it gets you moving, it's worth your time.

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