How to Start Jogging When You Are Overweight

How to Start Jogging When Overweight

Are you overweight and want to start jogging? You’re not alone. Many people are hesitant to start running because they think they’re too heavy. But the truth is, running is a great way to lose weight and improve your health, no matter what your size.

a person running with a dog

How to Start Jogging When You Are Overweight

Jogging is a highly effective exercise when you’re carrying extra weight. It burns calories, strengthens your cardiovascular system, and improves overall health. However, getting started with jogging while overweight can seem daunting. You may worry about injury, embarrassment, or simply not knowing how to begin. But with the right approach, an overweight beginner can safely start jogging and reap all its benefits. Here are practical tips to help you gradually work jogging into your routine.

Understand the Benefits of Jogging While Overweight

Jogging provides many excellent benefits, especially for those carrying extra pounds:

  • Burns more calories per minute than walking. Jogging at 5 mph burns about 567 calories per hour for a 160 lb person.
  • Strengthens the heart and lungs to improve cholesterol, blood pressure and cardiovascular fitness.
  • Helps manage blood sugar levels and lower diabetes risk.
  • Reduces stress hormones and elevates mood through endorphins.
  • Maintains and may even build muscle mass through resistance.
  • Boosts metabolism through increased muscle tone.
  • Can aid weight loss when combined with proper nutrition.
  • Requires no equipment or facility membership to get started.

Jogging is an exercise you can do anywhere, anytime. By starting a jogging routine, you’ll be taking steps toward better health even as the pounds come off.

Get Medical Clearance First

Check with your doctor before embarking on a new exercise program, especially if you have existing health conditions or are very overweight. Your doctor can screen for any issues that could make jogging risky. They can provide personalized advice on how to get started safely based on your health profile. Getting medical clearance gives you peace of mind that you can begin jogging without harm.

Invest in Quality Running Shoes

Properly fitted, high-quality running shoes are crucial when you’re jogging with extra weight. A running specialty store can analyze your gait and recommend shoes to provide the right support, cushioning, and stability. Replace shoes every 300-500 miles as cushioning breaks down. Proper footwear helps prevent injury to knees, hips, and ankles which take a pounding during jogging. Don’t attempt jogging in non-supportive everyday shoes.

Start Slowly with Walking

Trying to jog from day one could lead to painful injuries and quick frustration. Build an aerobic base with regular walking first. Start with short, 10-15 minute walks and gradually increase your time. Walking strengthens muscles, connective tissues, and bones to prepare them for the impact of jogging. Once you can walk comfortably for 30-60 minutes at least 3-4 days per week, you’ll be ready to progress.

Begin with Jogging Intervals

Interval training alternates jogging and walking intervals. For example, jog for 60 seconds then walk for 90 seconds. Repeat this for 20-30 minutes. Intervals allow recovery between jogging bouts, decreasing the risk of injury. Start with more walking than jogging. Over time, lengthen the jogging intervals and shorten the walking recovery intervals as your fitness improves. Avoid jogging continuously until you establish an aerobic base and lose initial weight.

Focus on Time, Not Distance or Speed

When first starting out, forget about tracking mileage or pace. Simply focus on total time on your feet to build endurance. Aim to jog-walk for a set time like 30 minutes then gradually increase total session time to 45, then 60 minutes over several weeks. Pushing too hard too soon trying to run fast or far will quickly lead to burnout. Be patient and let your body adapt over time.

Start on Softer Surfaces

Jogging on soft surfaces like grass, trails or the beach puts less stress on joints compared to pavement. The added cushioning of softer ground decreases impact forces. Asphalt and concrete send more jarring forces through overweight legs and hips. Once established, you can transition to jogging on roads as your body strengthens and adapts. But stick to softer surfaces in the beginning.

Pay Attention to Your Form

With extra weight, maintaining proper jogging form is crucial yet challenging. Stand tall with a slight forward lean from the ankles (not the waist). Quick, light steps with feet under hips lessen the impact. Increase cadence and shorten stride rather than overstriding. Keep shoulders relaxed and look ahead, not down. Do form drills like high knees, butt kickers, and skipping to improve technique. Poor form leads to injury.

Incorporate Strength Training

Building muscular strength provides critical support for overweight jogging. Squats, lunges, planks, and other bodyweight exercises strengthen joints and muscles worked during running without adding bulk. Aim for at least two strength sessions per week in addition to jogging. Building lean muscle mass also helps rev up your metabolism. Weightlifting combined with jogging equals greater fat loss.

Stretch After Every Session

Stretching keeps muscles long, supple, and injury-free when carrying excess weight. Be sure to stretch major running muscle groups like calves, hamstrings, quads, and hip flexors for at least 10 minutes post-run. Yoga provides excellent active stretching. Inflexible, tight muscles are more prone to strains and tears. Regular stretching reduces muscle stiffness and soreness.

Consider a Weight Loss Program

Embarking on a structured diet and exercise program designed for weight loss can provide valuable guidance as you begin jogging. Joining programs like Weight Watchers or working with a personal trainer teaches healthy eating habits to complement jogging while losing weight at a safe, steady rate. Gradual weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week prevents injury. Continued weight loss supports easier, longer jogs.

Find an Accountability Partner or Group

Jogging with a partner or group provides motivation, safety, and encouragement essential when you’re just starting out. Having someone depend on you to show up makes it harder to skip workouts. An exercise buddy also ensures you won’t be alone if you experience an injury or health issue while running. Joining others with similar fitness levels keeps goals realistic and camaraderie high.

Listen to Your Body

Pay close attention to any pain or discomfort before, during or after jogging. Don’t try to push through nagging pains. Stop jogging and take a break if something doesn’t feel right. DISCLAIMER for joint pain and age-related pain medication. Ongoing or worsening pain signals a need for medical evaluation. Learn to distinguish between muscle soreness and more serious joint pain or injury. It’s better to take an extra rest day than be sidelined for weeks.

Stay Hydrated and Fueled

Carrying extra weight leads to increased thirst and perspiration. Dehydration elevates heart rate and core temperature to dangerous levels. Sip water before, during, and after jogging. Fill up on fluids well before you feel thirsty as thirst indicates existing dehydration. Also, fuel up with carbohydrates like a banana an hour before jogging to provide muscle energy. Low fuel means early fatigue and discomfort when jogging overweight.

Set Small, Achievable Goals

Big visions like losing 50 pounds or running a half marathon may seem daunting when first starting out. Instead, set small, incremental goals to enjoy regular success. Goals like completing a 20-minute jog-walk thrice weekly, jogging a full lap around a track, or running one mile without stopping are attainable. Every mini-goal meeting builds confidence and forms new healthy habits. Small victories add up to big accomplishments.

Track Your Progress

Monitoring your workouts with a journal or fitness app helps quantify your improvement. Recording details like workout duration, intervals completed, total miles and weight loss provides satisfying evidence of your progress. Review your running log regularly to see how far you’ve come. Concrete proof of fitness gained and pounds lost keeps motivation high when starting to jog while overweight.

Reward Yourself

Positive reinforcement in the form of rewards makes the challenges of learning to jog while overweight more enjoyable. After reaching certain milestones, treat yourself to something special like new running shoes, a massage, or a day trip. Pick rewards that reinforce healthy behaviors, not undermine them. Having goals to look forward to adds incentive to lace up when you’re lacking motivation. Just don’t use food as a reward.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Changing your body composition and fitness through jogging takes time and consistency. Expect ups and downs in your enthusiasm, performance, and rate of progress. Sticking with jogging through the highs and lows leads to great benefits over time. Be patient and focus on the overall positive trend. Even small improvements or enjoying your jogging routine just 3 days a week brings big health payoffs. Persistence and patience pay off.

Make It Fun

Finding ways to add enjoyment to your jogging routine helps make it sustainable. Go sightseeing on new routes. Recruit a buddy to jog with. Listen to upbeat music or podcasts. Time your jogs around sunrise or sunset. Explore local parks and trails. Jog to meet friends for healthy post-run snacks or smoothies. See each jog as an opportunity to unwind and explore rather than a chore. A fun fitness habit is one you’ll stick with.


How often should an overweight beginner jog?

Start with jogging just 2-3 days per week. Allow a full day of rest between jogs for recovery. Too much too soon increases injury risk. Build gradually.

What if I have to walk in the middle of my jog?

Walking when you need to is perfectly fine! Take walking breaks as needed, then resume jogging once you catch your breath. Over time, you’ll need fewer walk breaks as fitness improves.

Will jogging exacerbate knee issues if I’m overweight?

Jogging with good form on soft surfaces along with strength training can actually improve knee health. Losing excess weight also reduces knee joint loads. But get medical guidance if you have existing knee problems.

How much weight should I lose before I start jogging?

You don’t need to lose weight first to start jogging. Just be sure to get medical clearance, take it slow and use interval training. Jogging and weight loss go hand in hand.

What should I eat before jogging overweight?

Eat a carb-rich snack about an hour before jogging such as oatmeal, toast, or banana. Carbs provide the muscles energy to jog. Stay well hydrated too. Avoid high-fat or protein foods which can cause GI distress.

Jogging provides tremendous benefits, especially for those carrying extra weight. But getting started while overweight requires patience, smart training, and medical guidance. Use interval jogging, focus on time not speed, run on soft surfaces and gradually increase total workout duration from 10 to 30 to 60 minutes. With consistency, jogging can transform your fitness, health, and body composition. Soon you may learn to love hitting the road. Just take it one step at a time.

How much weight can I expect to lose by jogging?

The amount of weight you can expect to lose by jogging depends on a number of factors, including your current weight, your fitness level, and how often you jog. However, you can expect to lose a few pounds per week if you jog regularly.

What are some other benefits of jogging?

Jogging has many other benefits, including:

  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Reduced risk of obesity
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved cholesterol levels
  • Stronger bones and muscles
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced stress levels

Leave a Comment