Jogging is hard to beat for weight loss, burning calories quickly while helping to sculpt muscles in your core and lower body. Plus, the activity comes with a host of health rewards to help you avoid chronic illnesses and possibly even extend your life. What’s more, the benefits of jogging transcend the physical realm — you’ll likely develop greater self-esteem once you start your program. If you’re sedentary now, see a physician before starting a jogging routine.
When you’re trying to shed fat, torching extra calories is key. Burning 3,500 more calories than you eat results in about 1 pound of weight loss, so creating a 500-calorie daily deficit helps you drop 1 pound each week. Jogging at 5 mph burns about 600 calories per hour for a 160-pound person. It can help you reach your goal far more quickly than dieting alone. While only physically fit people can jog for a full hour, even shorter sessions burn enough calories to significantly complement your weight-loss efforts.
Jogging activates your hip, thigh and calf muscles, helping them grow stronger while giving you a firmer appearance. Jogging uphill adds even more resistance, making it ideal for sculpting your buttocks. That said, you still need strength-training activities in your routine for optimal muscle building, so lift weights or perform pull-ups, lunges and sit-ups to tone all major body regions. The more muscle mass you create, the faster your resting metabolism will become, and the easier it will be to manage your weight.
Jogging, a cardiovascular activity, strengthens your heart and lungs over time. Your pulse rate will likely go down as your heart builds efficiency, as will your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. According to the Mayo Clinic, cardio has been shown to help people live longer lives. Those who perform cardio are less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke, and they also manage blood sugar better to help stave off diabetes. Your immune system may become stronger, helping prevent colds and flus.
Keeping your confidence level high can be difficult when you’re dieting, but jogging can help. All exercise can increase self-esteem, according to IDEA Health and Fitness Association, but cardio appears to have the strongest effect. When you feel better about yourself, you’re less likely to beat yourself up over small slip-ups, like eating a cookie, and you may gain a more positive body image regardless of how quickly the weight comes off.
References & Resources
- Mayo Clinic: Aerobic Exercise: Top 10 Reasons to Get Physical
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Journal of Applied Physiology: Lower Extremity Muscle Activation During Horizontal and Uphill Running
- IDEA Health and Fitness Association: The 25 Most Significant Health Benefits of Physical Activity & Exercise