To most people, jogging means running at a slow to moderate pace one finds comfortable. Jogging is an ideal way to achieve and maintain a good level of physical fitness and to manage 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.
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Jogging for Fitness
For most people, MayoClinic.com 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.
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.
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. Men can estimate their maximum heart rate by subtracting their age from 220; women can estimate it by subtracting their age from 226, the Walking Site website advises.
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 lbs., you burn 584 calories by jogging for an hour at 5 miles per hour; meanwhile, a 200-lb. individual will burn 728 calories, MayoClinic.com calculates. Suppose you weigh 160 lbs. and jog for 60 minutes five days a week. That works out to about 2,920 calories. That translates to a weight loss of just more than 0.8 pounds, given that you must burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 lb.
- MayoClinic.com; How Much Should the Average Adult Exercise Every Day?; Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.; Feb. 17, 2011
- MayoClinic.com; Exercise Intensity: Why It Matters, How It Is Measured; March 5, 2011
- The Walking Site: Your Target Heart Rate
- MayoClinic.com; Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour; Dec. 1, 2009