You're out for lunch with one of your best girlfriends who's recently taken up jogging. She's complaining how she took a jog the night before last and not only did she not lose weight, but she gained a pound -- mind you, she's saying this as she downs a cheeseburger, fries and an extra-large chocolate milkshake. Being a good friend, you bite your tongue as she maligns your favorite exercise. Besides, you know better -- jogging doesn't cause weight gain, provided you exercise enough and limit your intake of calories.
Jogging Calories Burned
Jogging is an effective exercise to help you lose weight, rather than gain it, because the exercise burns calories quickly. The number of calories you'll burn depends largely on the length and speed of your jog, but jogging several times a week helps put you on the road to weight loss. According to Harvard Medical School, a 155-pound person will burn 298 calories during 30 minutes of jogging at 5 mph and 372 calories during 30 minutes of jogging at 6 mph.
Weight loss occurs when you create a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you consume. If you burn about the same number of calories you consume, your weight will remain steady, but if you consume more calories than you burn, you'll experience weight gain. If you experience weight gain despite jogging, you fall into the latter category. You're likely consuming too many calories or not jogging enough to cause weight loss.
If you've taken up jogging and haven't yet experienced weight loss, don't dismay. Despite this exercise's ability to burn hundreds of calories in a single workout, you won't experience results overnight. MayoClinic.com notes it's reasonable to set a weight-loss goal of 1 pound per week, and doing so requires a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories. If you jog several days a week and still aren't experiencing regular weight loss, take steps to lower your calorie intake. Instead of getting caught up in calorie counting, the American Council on Exercise suggests cutting your meal sizes by around 10 percent.
Burning More Calories
It can be frustrating to exercise regularly and not experience weight loss, but by making a few simple adjustments to your workout regimen, you can burn more calories. An obvious solution is to take longer or more frequent jogs. If you're only jogging once a week, try jogging three to four times for 30 minutes at a time. If you can't sustain a jogging pace for 30 minutes, alternate jogging with walking. Consider hitting the gym, too, to build muscle through weight-training exercises. Increasing your muscle mass helps you burn more calories throughout the day.
- Harvard Medical School: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- BBC Sport: Are You Running Properly?
- Hussman Fitness: Caloric Deficits and Fat Loss
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- American Council on Exercise: Weight Loss: Diet vs. Exercise
- WeightLossResources.co.uk: How to Make Your Body Burn More Calories
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.