The Effects of Jogging Every Day

If going for a jog every once in a while is good for you — and it is — then going jogging every day packs a whole world of potential benefits, from faster weight loss (or maintaining a healthy weight) to improved mood, more energy and lower risk of chronic diseases. You should, however, be alert to the possibility of overtraining, and the effects of repeated high-impact exercise on your body.

Jogging every day offers numerous health benefits, but be aware of the risk of overtraining. (Image: Marija Jovovic/E+/GettyImages)

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Jogging every day offers a host of potential benefits, including a stronger immune system, better stamina, weight loss, less risk of chronic diseases and a natural mood boost. However, it also poses a couple of potential risks, including the possibility of overtraining.

The Benefits of Jogging Regularly

Health.gov's Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week. If you go for a half-hour jog every day, that's enough to meet — and even beat — this requirement.

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The Dietary Guidelines also notes that doubling the amount of cardio exercise to 300 minutes of moderate exertion each week yields even more extensive health benefits.

So, what's on the menu for "better health through exercise"? The well-researched benefits of jogging and other cardiovascular exercise include:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased stamina
  • A stronger immune system
  • Decreased risk of chronic diseases, including obesity, heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and some cancers
  • Help managing chronic conditions and improving quality of life
  • An improved cholesterol profile
  • A natural mood boost

Weight Bearing and Impact

Jogging is also a weight-bearing activity that can help you build and maintain strong bones in your lower body, as long as your bones, joints and muscles can handle the repeated impact of each footfall. If you know you have weakened bones or any other condition that might affect your ability to withstand a relatively high-impact exercise, speak to your doctor before jogging every day.

Some of the steps you can take to mitigate the impact of jogging include:

  • Wear supportive, well-cushioned footwear.
  • Run on softer surfaces — such as dirt or wood chips — instead of pavement or cement.
  • Warm up and stretch before you jog; then cool down and stretch after, to reduce your risk of injury.

You can also try "water jogging" in the pool, with a flotation belt to keep you above water. This gives you all the cardiovascular benefits of jogging, with none of the impact on your bones and joints.

A Note for Beginners

If you're new to exercising, or new to a particular type of exercise, it's typical at first to develop some soreness — so that is one of the effects you might experience when you first start jogging. The good news is that this type of muscle soreness typically fades within a few days, and as your body adapts to the new exercise the soreness is less likely to come back.

While a little soreness is typical, it doesn't have to be intense. You can minimize the soreness by taking it relatively easy on your first jogs and gradually working up to longer distances or faster outings. While jumping straight into a long, fast jog can be exciting and make you feel like you've accomplished something big, it might also leave you too sore to go jogging for several days. So the slow and steady approach, while less dramatic, is more satisfying in the long run.

Different Types of Jogging

Even if you really love jogging, doing the same thing every single day might eventually start to feel boring. And if you don't vary the challenges you present your body, you might also hit a fitness or weight-loss plateau.

You can still go jogging every day, but don't be shy about mixing up your jogging workouts every so often to present new challenges or at least a new experience:

  • Choose different routes — both for the scenery and for the challenge of new terrain.
  • Jog up hills or, for a real thigh-burner, jog down those hills.
  • Go "trail jogging" on fun hiking or running trails.
  • Hit the gym and "jog" on an elliptical trainer during rainy days.

You can also add variety to your jogs by switching up your speed. Go for a shorter, faster jog on days when you have limited time, or take it easy and go for a longer, moderate-pace jog when you have more time to work with.

Walk to Jog to Run

If you're more of a walker but want to work up to a jog, consider including short jogging intervals in your walks. For example, you could start out by walking for five minutes, then jogging for one minute, and repeat this cycle through your outing. As you get stronger, you can decrease the walking intervals to four minutes, then three minutes, and so on, until you're simply jogging with no walk breaks in between.

The same principle applies if you're a dedicated jogger who's interested in working up to a full run — start by alternating short running intervals with longer jogging intervals, then gradually shorten the jog breaks until you're taking the entire outing at a run.

Watch Out for Overtraining

Even if you're a seasoned jogger, you might find yourself feeling unexpectedly run down or fatigued, struggling to complete your usual workouts, not sleeping well, feeling agitated, losing your appetite, dealing with chronic injuries or maybe even feeling depressed.

These are all potential signs of overtraining or, to put it another way, having too much workout in your schedule and not enough rest. The solution is to ease off and give yourself more rest time during the week. If dialing back your workouts doesn't solve the problem, it's time to see a doctor — or maybe even a nutritionist, because not eating properly for your workouts can also cause these symptoms.

Try Other Workouts Too

Aside from including at least one rest day in your week, one of the best ways to avoid overtraining is cross-training, or "mixing up" your workouts so that you don't continually stress the same parts of your body in the same way. If you enjoy jogging, some fun ways to introduce variety into your workouts include:

  • Go inline skating or biking on the same trails you usually jog.
  • Take a hike to scout out trails that might also be good for trail running/jogging.
  • Add in calisthenics workouts throughout your jog (run for five minutes, do 10 push-ups; and so on).
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