Is Running in Place Effective? (What You Should Know)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: March 3, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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Although some people might find it silly to jog in place, if you stick to it long enough, combine it with other types of activities, work hard, and eat healthy food, our expert team has done thorough research to find out that jogging in place can raise your fitness level, enhance fat loss, and more.

Read on to learn how to perform it correctly for optimal results and how it can change your life.

Quick Summary

  • Jogging in place is very effective as it can burn calories, promoting weight loss in the long run.
  • Regular jogging can improve your overall cardiovascular health, improve blood circulation, and improve aerobic fitness.
  • A person weighing 160 pounds may burn approximately 365 calories in an hour, or 183 calories in 30 minutes, through low-impact aerobic exercises such as this, according to the Mayo Clinic.
  • Based on my observations, incorporating jogging in place into a daily routine can be a game-changer for overall health and fitness, especially for those with time constraints.

Is Jogging in Place Beneficial?

Jogging in place is beneficial in many different ways. Here are some of its significant benefits.

1. It Can Burn Calories and Enhance Weight Loss

Woman smiling while jogging

Incorporating high-energy jogging into your weekly at-home fitness routine, along with a healthy diet, can significantly boost fat loss.

As a fitness trainer, I've witnessed skeptical clients become astounded by the effectiveness of this exercise.

It intensifies your heart rate and regulates blood sugar, enhancing your body's ability to burn calories and fat.

How Many Calories Can You Burn Jogging on the Spot?

How many calories you can burn jogging on the spot depends on your weight, height, body composition, age, sex, exercise intensity, duration, pace, and other factors.

For instance, a 160-pound individual might burn approximately 365 calories per hour with low-impact aerobic exercises like this, as noted by the Mayo Clinic [1].

By intensifying the workout or incorporating additional exercises, you can boost calorie burn by nearly 50%.

Regular jogging in place increases calorie expenditure and weight loss.

As an experienced fitness trainer, I recommend a minimum of three weekly sessions, totaling at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio, to sustain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

2. It Can Improve Your Cardiovascular Health and Bring Other Health Benefits

A woman outdoor jogging

Regular jogging in place is an effective cardio workout that boosts lung capacity, V02 max, and circulation, enhancing aerobic fitness.

From my experience as a fitness coach, clients have reported improved mental health with reduced stress and anxiety.

This exercise strengthens the heart, lowers chronic disease risk, and offers substantial cardiovascular benefits.

It's a practical alternative to treadmill or outdoor running, especially useful when lacking equipment or during extreme weather conditions.

3. It Can Strengthen Your Muscles

A person jogging in place

When you run in place, different muscles in your body move, contract, and benefit.

You challenge your legs, arms, and core with every step you repeat, increasing their strength, flexibility, and stability.

Several of my clients have experienced noticeable muscle toning, especially in their legs and core, after adding jogging in place to their workouts.

This exercise also promotes better lymphatic flow, which is crucial for immune system functioning and detoxification.

What Muscles Does Running in Place Work?

Running in place works major lower and upper body muscle groups, including the core, quadriceps (hip flexors), glutes, calves, and hamstrings (like normal running).

You may also add weights and incorporate other movements such as lifting your knees higher to the chest, heels to the butt, or another similar movement variation into your exercise routine to target different muscles, add variety, and prevent boredom when you jog in place.

4. It Can Improve Your Posture and Coordination

Research published by the Journal of Physical Therapy Science shows that running in place while engaging abs can help adults correct posture and improve their balance, coordination, and physical appearance, further lowering the risk of injury or falls [2].

It can also enhance proprioception, which is the body's ability to perceive its own position in space, crucial for coordination and movement efficiency.

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How Do You Jog in Place Properly?

Stretching his mucles

Here’s how you jog in place properly to maximize weight loss and other benefits:

  1. Always begin slowly with some warm-up exercises and stretching for five minutes.
  2. Stand straight with your spine neutral, chest open, and feet shoulder-width apart (your sneakers on).
  3. Simultaneously lift your right arm and left knee to the hip level without propelling your body forward, ensuring your thighs are parallel with the ground.
  4. Slowly land on your feet to switch sides. Lift your knees and arms in a cyclical motion. When your left foot touches the ground, lift the opposite leg quickly while moving your right arm back down and your left arm up.
  5. Continue by building up the duration and intensity gradually (e.g., beginning at a moderate speed for 2-3 minutes, then increase the speed for 2 minutes), extending each interval from five minutes to 15 or 20 with a one-minute rest in between.
  6. Cool down by walking in place for a few minutes. Then stretch your back, hips, thigh, hamstring, and calf muscles.

“Before you bike ride, run, swim, use the elliptical, etc., it’s best to start slow and ease into the activity. Bring your heart rate up steadily instead of abruptly. Depending on the activity, warm up your ankles, shoulders, wrists and spine with simple movements.”


Tips to Avoid Injuries

A group jogging in place

Jogging in place may put stress on particular joints and muscles that may lead to injury if you perform it incorrectly for longer periods.

To get an injury-free workout and keep muscle cramps, strains, and pain at bay, it’s important to:

  • Wear sneakers,
  • Warm up, cool down, and stretch properly,
  • Use the correct form and technique,
  • Start slow and progress gradually to avoid overtraining (wearing a heart rate monitor might also help).

Also, consult your doctor for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment before starting this or any other new exercise regimen.


Does Running in Place Count as Cardio?

Yes, running in place counts as an effective cardio exercise that can increase your heart rate, boost cardiovascular function and lung capacity, helping you burn calories.

Can You Lose Weight Jogging in Place?

Yes, you can lose weight by jogging in place. Combine this vigorous exercise with a healthy diet and aerobic exercise alternatives like jumping jacks, jumping rope, jump squats, push-ups, and other moves that get your heart pumping faster to max out calorie burn and fat loss effects.

It’s one of those simple high-intensity activities that burn many calories and fat even after a workout. Plus, it increases satiety and helps you suppress appetite by regulating hunger hormone levels [3].

Does Spot Jogging Reduce Belly Fat?

Yes, spot running can reduce belly fat. Some studies have shown that a vigorous or at least moderate cardio exercise program like this can be a powerful way to lose excess body weight, get rid of unwanted belly fat, and ensure a slimmer waistline even without any diet changes [4] [5] [6].

Does Running in Place Build Stamina?

Yes, running in place can build stamina (if you exercise consistently) by increasing your heart rate gradually to deliver oxygen to all your engaged muscles.


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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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