When you’re cozy in your bed, motivating yourself to lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement for a morning jog can feel challenging. But once you feel the fresh air and hit your stride, there’s nothing quite like it.
In addition to the pleasure of moving your body, there are medicable, social, and financial benefits of jogging. Whether you’re a jogging pro looking for some extra motivation or you’re considering taking up jogging for the first time, knowing some of the primary perks of jogging regularly can help you decide if it’s right for you.
#1 Accessible Exercise
There are plenty of fun ways to exercise (Zumba, anyone?), but many of them require a class, a team, or expensive equipment. With jogging, you only need a pair of supportive running shoes and a decent area to run, making it one of the most accessible forms of exercise.
If you’ve never tried jogging before, you can also download one of several apps designed to help you safely and effectively work up to a full run.
For an even simpler option, you can rotate walking, brisk walking, and jogging for parts of the workout. Over time, you should slowly be able to jog for longer and longer lengths of time until you finally jog the whole time.
Different Surfaces for Different Folks
Another reason why jogging is such an accessible form of physical exercise is that you can do it practically anywhere. You can jog in several different locations (such as the ones we’ve outlined below) depending on the type of run you’re looking for:
- Trail – Jogging regularly on park trails can give you some beautiful scenery to take in as you move, along with providing plenty of peaceful areas to stop and stretch as you go. Park trails are often made of softer, more varied surfaces like finely crushed rock. These trails can be easier on your joints than a paved route because the surfaces typically provide more give when you land.1
- Sidewalk or roads – In addition to being convenient, the smoothly paved surfaces in your neighborhood can help you avoid risks like ankle sprains and other acute injuries that can come from regular running on more uneven surfaces.1
- Track – A public all-weather, rubberized track can let you enjoy the benefits of a softer running surface (gentle on your joints) and a smooth one (fewer tripping hazards).
- Treadmill – If you usually exercise at a gym, saving some time for the treadmill can help you incorporate jogging—and its many benefits—into your current workout routine.
You can customize your jogging session to fit your age, fitness level, and health goals. You can vary your speed, duration, your technique, and even where you run until you find a combination that fits your preferred workout style.
#2 Improved Cardio Health
Aerobic exercise involves swift, sustained movement that temporarily elevates your heart rate. While you’ll find plenty of aerobic exercise options out there, one of our favorite options is jogging.
Regular aerobic exercise can help:2
- Lower your blood pressure
- Lower your heart rate
- Improve how well your heart pumps
- Reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes
- For those who already live with diabetes, it can help control your blood glucose level
Doctors typically recommend 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week.2 If you’re planning on using jogging for your aerobic exercise, you can meet that recommended goal with a few longer runs or a series of shorter jogs peppered throughout the week.
#3 Stronger Muscles
Jogging can help strengthen your leg and calf muscles since it’s a weight-bearing exercise—in this case, the weight of your body.3
To add more opportunities to build strength or improve weight loss, you can try inserting some additional strength-building exercises into your jogging routine.4 For example, when you come to a stopping point in your run, you can try one or more of the following exercises:
- Standing side crunches
While strength training exercise is healthy for everyone, it can prove especially important for older adults to help promote long-term health.4
#4 Healthier Weight
Repeatedly gaining and losing weight can lead to health problems like an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and even death. Combining a healthy, nutritious, and filling diet with a regular exercise routine you enjoy can help you maintain a steady, healthy weight—and avoid the health risks of so-called yo-yo dieting. 5
For most of us, our metabolism begins to slow down starting in our mid-twenties.5 Since we don’t typically burn as many calories as we used to, a regular exercise routine like jogging can become an especially important part of maintaining a steady, healthy weight.
It’s easier to stick with a physical exercise regimen you genuinely enjoy, so try to find ways to make jogging feel rewarding for you.
You can try:
- Jogging with a friend to stay accountable and keep each other company
- Listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks while you run
- Picking a route you find interesting or beautiful
It can also help to invest in supportive clothes and shoes and arch support inserts that make working out more comfortable for you. A lightweight raincoat for runners can make it easier to keep up your routine in the winter, just like high-quality sneakers with a well-built tread pattern can help reduce your risk of slipping.
#5 Improved Mental Health
We tend to focus on the physical benefits of exercise, but jogging also comes with promising mental health benefits.
Regular jogging can help:
- Keep your mind sharp – Some studies suggest a long-term running practice can help keep your mind sharper as you age.4
- Reduce depression and anxiety symptoms – Exercising for thirty minutes or more three to five times a week can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exercise activities like jogging can release endorphins which improve your mood. Jogging can also give you something to focus on and take your mind off unhelpful thought patterns. Lastly, regular exercise can help you gain a new skill and meet new goals, which can, in turn, help to boost your confidence.6
- Expose yourself to nature – Spending time in nature—even urban nature, like a tree-lined street or your local park—can help boost your mood. Unfortunately, many Americans spend most of their day sitting in front of screens.7 Choosing a physical activity like jogging that you can do outside can help you spend more time outdoors, giving yourself a nice mental health boost.
When combined with other forms of mental health care like therapy, medication, and a strong support system, jogging can give people one more tool to support their mental well-being and get the most out of life.
#6 Socialization Opportunities
Some runners love jogging because they can enjoy an extended period of blissful solitude. But other runners crave the opportunities jogging provides to socialize and participate in the jogging community.
Joggers who want a more social experience can:
- Jog with a friend
- Join a local running group
- Sign up for a local road or trail race
Training for a race can also give you a goal to work toward—and a deadline to help keep you focused and motivated. While some races are only open to runners at a certain level, other races welcome anyone who signs up. Whether you’re 27 or 87, there’s something thrilling about crossing that finish line and knowing you did it.
#7 Shoes Designed to Support You at Every Age—and on Every Surface
The humble running sneaker has come a long way in the last fifty years. Runners today have a wealth of options regarding supportive footwear, which can make jogging regularly more comfortable—and beneficial—than ever before.
Depending on your physical needs and where you plan on running, you might want to consider these traits when choosing a shoe:
- Lightweight stability –For a sneaker that balances strength, stability, and support, try the Miles Active Sneaker. It also features lightweight mesh to keep your feet comfortable and cool throughout your workout.
- Slip-resistant – Whenever possible, we recommend avoiding exercising on a slick surface. Still, if you live in an area where an impromptu rain storm can turn surfaces into a slip-and-slide, you might want a slip-resistant sneaker, like the Kiara Pro Sneaker.
- Waterproof – If you live in an area where rain can soak your feet and deter you from braving the elements, you might want a waterproof style like the Zanny Sneaker, which uses Three-Zone Comfort technology to keep your feet feeling amazing and dry.
- Cross-training potential – There are many benefits of cross-training. However, if you plan on adding strength training exercises to your workouts, we recommend looking for a sneaker that offers extra lateral stability. That way, you have more support for those side-to-side and cross-body movements. For that, we suggest the Fearless Sneaker.
- Hybrid wear – If you want a shoe that can double as a workout shoe and an everyday sneaker, you may want an active/casual hybrid sneaker, like the Bradey Sneaker.
Ultimately, every runner has different needs. Talking to a knowledgeable salesperson can help you find the best running shoe.
Hit the Trail with Vionic Shoes
In 1979, an Australian surfer and podiatrist, Dr. Phillip Vasili created orthotic inserts using surfboard molding techniques, revolutionizing the shoe industry. Today, Vionic continues to use revolutionary technology, premium materials, and expert construction to create stylish walking shoes for men and women, each aiming to fit your lifestyle and workout routine.
Whether you’re running errands, running the world, or running your favorite forest trail, at Vionic, we believe healthy feet make for a better day.
- Jhung, Lisa. “Why Trail Running Is Good for You.” Runners World. 14 June, 2013.https://www.runnersworld.com/trail-running/a20847408/why-trail-running-is-good-for-you/
- “3 Kinds of Exercise That Boost Heart Health.” Johns Hopkins Medicine.https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/3-kinds-of-exercise-that-boost-heart-health
- “Running and jogging – health benefits.” Better health.https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/running-and-jogging-health-benefits
- ” Is Running Safe for Older Adults?” Silver Sneakers.https://www.silversneakers.com/blog/running-seniors-try-jogging-older-years/
- “Yo-Yo Dieting May Pose Serious Risks For Heart Patients.” NPR. 1 May, 2017. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/05/01/526048767/-yo-yo-dieting-poses-serious-risks-for-heart-patients
- “Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms.” Mayo Clinic.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495
- “Nurtured by nature.” APA. 1 April, 2020. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature