Jogging, or running at a slow to moderate pace, is an enjoyable way to achieve physical fitness while enjoying the outdoors. It is an excellent form of cardio that can help you to manage your weight. How long a jog should last depends on your exercise goals and your current physical condition. In general, the more time you spend jogging, the greater the benefits you will reap.
Consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.
To achieve or maintain a basic level of physical fitness, jog 30 minutes per day for five days per week for a total of 150 minutes per week. For better physical fitness, increase your jogging time to 60 minutes per day.
Jogging for Fitness
For most people, the Mayo Clinic recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as jogging, each week for basic physical fitness. Workouts should be spaced out during the week. For example, you might jog 30 minutes a day five days a week.
However, you can achieve better physical fitness and greater health benefits if you increase this to about 300 minutes, or five hours, each week. If you jog five days a week, your workouts need to average 60 minutes each to reach this goal.
Beginning a Jogging Program
When you begin a jogging program, you might not be in good enough shape to jog for 30 minutes at a time, much less 60. Don't let this discourage you — and don't try to push yourself too fast. Several short exercise sessions during the day will get you on the road to physical fitness. You can start with 10 minutes of brisk walking and gradually build up to a nonstop jog of 30 minutes or more.
Ideal Jogging Intensity
The intensity level of jogging or any other aerobic exercise should be high enough to raise your breathing and heart rate for at least several minutes. At the same time, you don't want to push too hard. Not only is it uncomfortable, but you risk injury by over-stressing your body.
A good rule of thumb is that you want to be breathing deeply, but still be able to talk and not feel short of breath. If you want to use a heart rate monitor, try for 50 percent of your maximum heart rate while you are beginning a regular jogging program.
Gradually work up to a target heart rate range of 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. You can estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220, advises the American Heart Association.
Jogging for Weight Management
If you are jogging to manage weight, you probably want to jog more than 30 minutes per day. The math is fairly simple: the longer you jog, the more distance you cover and the more calories you burn. Your weight affects how many calories you burn for a given distance or time.
For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you burn 584 calories by jogging for an hour at 5 miles per hour; meanwhile, a 200-pound individual will burn 728 calories, the Mayo Clinic calculates. Suppose you weigh 160 pounds and jog for 60 minutes five days a week. That works out to about 2,920 calories, an impressive contribution to the calorie deficit (burning more calories than you take in) that you need to lose weight.