Benefits of Jogging


There have been a multitude of studies on the topic of jogging, not to mention cardiovascular exercise in general, and the benefits that can come from committing to a regular routine. Some of these benefits you may know off the top of your head, others that you read in this article (and beyond) may be new to you.

As health care professionals, we always love to promote physical activity – and jogging can be a great, cost effective activity to start off with. However, it can also come with some risks, would we be well rounded practitioners if we didn’t look at both sides of the story? Let’s explore both the pros and cons of jogging, and whether it may be the right form of exercise for you!


To start off with the positives, we know that cardiovascular exercise (as the name suggests) is excellent for our heart health! Cardio exercise (also known as aerobic exercise) includes things like jogging, cycling, swimming, and skipping. This type of training is designed to increase your breathing and heart rate, putting a small amount of good stress on your heart and lungs to help strengthen them! Studies have also shown that the physiological response to this form of exercise improves cardiovascular health and creates a protective effect against many respiratory viruses, such as Covid-19. If we have a fit heart and lungs, we are less likely to contract viruses, and we are also less likely to have detrimental health consequences if we do contract a virus!

Alongside strengthening your heart and lungs, you will also be strengthening your musculoskeletal system which includes your bones, joints, and muscles. The right amount of weight bearing activities such as walking and jogging increase bone mineral density, tendon and muscle strength and endurance. These factors are particularly important as we age, because along with age comes weaker and more brittle bones as well as loss of muscular strength. That’s why exercise is such an important part of your daily routine consistently, not just for a short weight loss challenge or in the lead up to an event!

Aside from the physical benefits of jogging, there are also many studies linking cardiovascular exercise with improved mental health. Most frequently reported are mood and well being improvements. And as if you needed more convincing, studies have shown great correlation between jogging and cessation of cigarette smoking, weight loss, improved confidence and body image!


Now let’s have a look at some cons, and discuss whether they outweigh the pros…(hint, usually they don’t).

Getting started with a new jogging program has been associated with only a few negatives. The main con is musculoskeletal injury. This correlation increases with increasing weekly mileage i.e. the more distance you cover in your jog the higher your risk of injury. Bone stress injury (more common in females) and tendinopathies or tendon inflammation (more common in males) are two common injuries seen in runners. The good news is that both of these injuries present through either incorrect technique or over training, and your Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist is equipped to help you avoid them through a progressive and tailored program.

The key here it to assess where you are starting from (be realistic), increase slowly yet consistently, and be proactive with your recovery between sessions. For example, if you are starting from scratch, it would be a great idea to head out on three 15 minute walks during your first week of training. After each walk, give your leg muscles (calves, quads, glutes and hamstrings) a stretch, and drink plenty of water. The following week, you may increase one or two of your walks to 20 minutes, and then third one you might decide to head up that steep hill at the end of your street for added intensity. Get the idea?

If you are prone to the overuse injuries we discussed above, you can always supplement one or two of your weekly sessions with low impact forms of exercise such as cycling or swimming until you condition your body to tolerate more jogging gradually. Clinical Pilates, run by experienced Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists, can also greatly assist in reducing the likelihood of injuries associated with jogging by improving your core strength, building up general muscle strength and improving your balance.

So how can we avoid injury while still gaining the multitude of benefits that are so clear to us? Reach out to your local exercise physiotherapist/exercise physiologist to help you with a tailored program (if you have any previous conditions or injuries please also consult your GP) and get started!


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DeJong, A. F., Fish, P. N., & Hertel, J. (2021). Running behaviors, motivations, and injury risk during the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey of 1147 runners. PloS one, 16(2), e0246300.

De Sousa, R. A. L., Improta-Caria, A. C., Aras-Júnior, R., de Oliveira, E. M., Soci, Ú. P. R., & Cassilhas, R. C. (2021). Physical exercise effects on the brain during COVID-19 pandemic: links between mental and cardiovascular health. Neurological Sciences, 1-10.

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