Maybe you've never been much of a runner, but you've decided that you're going to give jogging a try for the next three weeks. What kind of results can you expect to see in only 21 days?
If you expect to have a brand new jogging body or for your jogging to result in drastic changes, you might be disappointed. Your body will, however, change in the long run if you continue your routine.
Jogging Benefits for Weight Loss
If you start out by jogging 30 minutes every day, even if you run seven days a week for all three weeks, there's only so much fat you can burn. A 154-pound person would burn approximately 295 calories in a 30-minute jog. Unless you are cutting calories from your diet, your 30-minute-a-day jogging routine would burn about 6,195 calories, the equivalent of 1.75 pounds of body fat.
Although the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends all adults set a goal of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week, you might need more time — more than 30 minutes a day, that is, as well as more than a 21-day stretch — to achieve the runner's body you're aiming for. People who want to lose a substantial amount of weight and continue to keep it off need more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. That's about 42 minutes per day if you exercise every day, or one hour if you exercise five days a week.
Read More: Couch to 5K: A Running Plan for Beginners
Your Body Will Change
If you stick with running, you can expect your body to change over time. Not only will you lose weight, but also you'll decrease chances of injury while increasing your chance of longevity.
Running is an effective way to increase cardiorespiratory fitness level, an important factor in measuring longevity. This is because low fitness levels as measured by metabolic equivalents (METs) are associated with 16% of all deaths, making low fitness levels a greater threat than high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Experts point to many benefits of jogging as a form of exercise. The American Academy of Family Physicians points out that jogging is one of several activities that moves large muscle groups and increases your heart rate, thus having benefits for your cardiorespiratory health. Harvard Health Publishing reports that running for an hour provides seven hours of life benefits, and this benefit tops off at about 4.5 hours of running per week.
Running Versus Strength Training
Running and jogging are great workouts for weight loss, but they won't build muscle mass like strength training. According to a study published in January 2018 by the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, which examined how different modes of exercise affected the body compositions and risk factors for cardiovascular disease in middle-age men, both aerobic exercise and a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training were shown to decrease body weight. Although strength training and combined training increased fat-free mass (lean body mass), aerobic training was most effective in overall loss of weight.
Read More: The 6 Best Running Apps for Any Fitness Goal
When you start jogging, you should begin slowly and gradually increase your intensity as you get stronger and are less susceptible to injury. The jogging results from before and after you begin will be substantial, but you will have to stick with it over a period of time. You won't see all the benefits of jogging in simply three weeks.
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Guide to Physical Activity"
- International Journal of Preventive Medicine: "Effects of Different Modes of Exercise Training on Body Composition and Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease in Middle-aged Men"
- American Academy of Family Physicians: "Exercise: How to Get Started"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Run for Your (Long) Life"
- Department of Health & Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight"