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

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: November 22, 2023
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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.
  • Jogging strengthens your muscles as different muscles move such as muscles on the legs, arms, and core.

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

Paired with a healthy diet, a convenient high-energy running-in-place workout performed as a part of your regular weekly at-home fitness routine can yield impressive fat-burning results.

Intense jogging in place elevates your pulse and improves blood sugar levels, boosting your body’s calorie and fat-burning abilities to help you lose weight.

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 example, a 160-pound person can burn around 365 calories per hour by doing low-impact aerobic exercise like this (or 183 calories in 30 minutes) [1].

It may not seem like a significant number of calories. Still, increasing the exercise intensity or adding bodyweight and other exercises makes it possible to increase the total amount of calories burned by almost 50 percent.

The more often you jog in place, the more calories you’ll torch and the more pounds you’ll shed.

Experts advise exercising at least three times per week. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, an average adult needs at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio workout per week to maintain 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 a challenging cardio workout that can help exercisers enhance lung capacity and their V02 max, improve circulation and aerobic fitness, make their heart stronger, lower the risk of chronic disease, and bring more cardiovascular benefits.

It can be a great alternative to treadmill running or jogging outside if you don’t have any equipment, want to avoid cold weather in winter or heat in summer.

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.

What Muscles Does Running in Place Work?

Running in place works major lower and upper body muscle groups, including 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 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 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].

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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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