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Is Jogging In Place Effective?

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Jogging in place as a form of exercise is an intriguing concept. If you have ever seen a group of runners trapped at a stoplight or waiting for a train, it is likely you have seen someone jogging in place. Typically, if it is a runner stuck waiting, the person also looks at least mildly irritated.

However, for some people, jogging in place turns out to be an excellent alternative to missing a workout when they lack other options. Whether are either crunched for time, stuck in an airport, or have toddlers at home and no childcare, if you feel a need for movement and have limited options, maybe this is for you?!

Is Jogging In Place A Good Workout?

A fantastic cardiovascular workout, jogging in place can be very effective. When picturing that jogger standing ticked off at the stoplight, you probably have a very specific image in your head. However, if you check out a video workout that involves jogging in place, the image you get is very different.

Benefits of jogging in place include:

  • Great way to work your cardiovascular system!
  • You can do it anywhere!
  • It is considered an impact exercise, which helps with building bone strength.
  • You will burn calories, just as if you were running outdoors or on a treadmill.

How Is It Different Than Running?

It stands to reason that you are using your muscles differently while running in place as opposed to running. First, you really will find yourself using more proper form when jogging in place. This is as opposed to running where you are more likely to see a breakdown in form as you fatigue.

running in place

Instead of moving forward, you lift your legs up while running in place. This works the muscles differently than when using the muscles for forward propulsion.

Both activities engage your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. You also use your core muscles for both.

Unless you are very intentional with your arms while running in place, you will probably use your arms far more when running outside!

Is The Caloric Burn Equal To Running Outside?

According to Livestrong, a reliable voice of health and exercise, you burn considerably fewer calories running in place than outside. For example, a 150-pound person will burn about 275 calories jogging in place for 30 minutes. The same exercise time for that same person would average around 425 calories burned.

This is in part due to the varying terrain your body will encounter when outside running on the road, sidewalk, or another surface. Think about your favorite running routes. Even if they are not hilly by any stretch of the imagination unless you run on a track they are not completely flat either!

You also have external forces of nature, such as wind resistance, to contend with when running outside.

How Long To Jog In Place For A Mile?

This is a tricky question. Why? Because it really depends on the person. If you normally run a 10-minute mile, you should try to replicate how your body feels when running as you jog in place. Once you get your heart rate and perceived rate of exertion to match that level, do that for 10 minutes. That should equal roughly a mile of “work.”

If you are moving your arms as if you were running in place, a smartwatch such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch may actually track those “steps” and help you track how “far” you have traveled, even though you are staying in one place.

Honestly, rather than worrying about how far you are potentially traveling, you should focus instead on how long you exercising. If you are jogging in place and hoping to make gains by doing so,  a hypothetical distance is less important than the work you are doing.

Methods To Try

You sure can old school just stand in front of the television and jog in place but if you want things to go more quickly, there are more interesting approaches you can take! Here are some thoughts.

Simple running in place is just lifting your legs alternating. Left, right, left! High knees, either slowly or quick movement, you keep moving! You also want to alternate your arms just like you are running outside. Focus on form.

There are different drill-type exercises you can do in lieu of simply jogging in place as described above. These keep things more exciting!

High knees: This is an exercise where you are focusing on quick feet and lifting your knees very high. Do this repeatedly for a set amount of time. (Note: High knees can be done while jogging or marching in more of a walk.)

Butt Kicks: When you do these, focus on having the heel of your foot actually impact with your booty. You should be moving your arms as in running.

Power Skips: Although many athletes do power skips for distance, you can practice doing them in place. Focus on trying to go as high as you can on the skip-up part. You may want to do a high skip-up every few foot impacts.


Jogging in place for 20 – 30 minutes can get pretty boring. What if you mixed things up? That would certainly make things more interesting. As with any workout, you need to properly warm up your body first. Although how long it takes your individual body to warm up will vary from person to person, give yourself at least 5 minutes.

You might try a beginner workout like this one:

  1. 5 minute warm-up
  2. 3 minutes light jogging
  3. 1 minute high knees
  4. 3 minutes light jogging
  5. 1-minute march in place
  6. 3 minutes light jogging
  7. 1 minutes butt kicks
  8. 3 minutes light jogging
  9. 5 minutes cool down

Guess what? If you did that workout, you just completed a 25-minute jog-in-place workout! And chances are it was practically painless! If you are looking to mix it up a bit, check out YouTube! You will find dozens of workouts that guide you through jogging in place.

Should I Try It?

If you find yourself wondering if jogging in place is effective,  the jury is in and has decided that it definitely is!

And don’t forget to wear a solid jogging shoe when you get started. Our review team put together a comprehensive list of the best jogging shoes on the market. Click here to find the perfect fit.

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