Jogging in Place vs. Running Outdoors

Jogging on treadmills can improve your fitness.
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Jogging in place and running outdoors can be excellent exercises for cardiovascular fitness and weight loss. Running has a faster effect because jogging is slow running. Jogging on treadmills is the most common form of jogging in place. It’s so convenient that people who own treadmills lose significantly more weight than people who don’t. Running outdoors is less convenient, but it can be more interesting and enjoyable if you select scenic or challenging venues.


Jogging and running are two of the best exercises for improving cardiovascular fitness, according to exercise expert Dr. Kenneth Cooper. Cooper also ranks bicycling, cross-country skiing, swimming and walking as excellent cardiovascular exercises. Running 5 mph or slower, a pace of at least 12 minutes per mile, is generally considered jogging, although fit people can jog faster. The more precise dividing line is whether you can talk while you’re running, according to “An Invitation to Health.” Joggers can talk; runners can’t because they’re exercising too intensely. Runners improve their cardiovascular fitness more rapidly, but jogging long distances slowly is a better long-term choice for improving cardiovascular fitness than running short distances quickly, according to Cooper. Jogging on treadmills has the same effect on fitness as jogging outdoors.

Weight Loss

Running outdoors burns far more calories than jogging in place unless the running is very slow. One pound equals 3,500 calories. Running seven-minute miles for an hour burns 984 calories in 155-pound people and 1,269 calories in 200-pound people, according to the Discovery Health newsletter. Running 10-minute miles for an hour burns 632 calories in 155-pound people and 816 calories in 200-pound people. Running 12-minute miles for an hour and jogging in place for an hour burn the same number of calories -- 562 in 155-pound people and 725 in 200-pound people. Jogging in place outdoors burns slightly more calories than jogging in place on a treadmill because irregular surfaces force joggers to exert more energy to maintain their balance, according to “The Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness.”

Other Considerations

The number of workouts might be more important than calories burned per workout. A weight-loss study concluded that treadmill owners lost about six more pounds than nonowners in six months, 21 to 15, because they worked out more, according to “The Complete Guide to Walking.” Treadmills and gym club memberships, though, can be too expensive for many people, while running outdoors is inexpensive. Uphill surfaces are another consideration. Running or jogging on surfaces with a 10 percent incline burns roughly 40 to 50 percent more calories than running or jogging on level surfaces whether you’re outdoors or on a treadmill. Setting a treadmill is easier than assessing a hill’s steepness, but outdoor terrains are far less monotonous.


Cooper recommends that sedentary people get a thorough medical exam and a maximal performance treadmill stress test before beginning an exercise program if they’re older than 40 years old, or have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a family history of heart problems. He also stresses that proper warm-ups and cool-downs reduce injury and heart attack risks. Stretching for three to five minutes before exercising improves blood flow to muscles and the heart. Cooling down by walking slowly rather than stopping abruptly keeps the blood flowing adequately.

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