running in place

Running in Place: How to, Variations, Benefits and More

Ever gone on a run on a cold winter day? I have, and boy, did it suck! Breathing got harder by the minute, and my hands were numb. Now, running in the heat of summer is a story for another day. In both cases, I gave up and went back home. The solution I found and that has worked perfectly for me is running in place.

What is running in place? Jogging on the spot or in-place running is where you run within a set space. There are two ways you can do this form of running: one, using a smart home treadmill and, two, the traditional cost-free way without any equipment.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the variations of the jog-in-place and more. If you are looking for a good cardio to do within the comfort of your home, read on.

How to Run in Place Safely

If you are a beginner, here are some tips to help you jog in place safely.

running in place

Proper form: To start off, wear the right shoes and clothes, something breathable. Your shoulders should align with your ears and your neck with the spine. This prevents stress on the shoulder and neck.

Warm up: You can start with a slow march for 3 – 5 minutes. Also, warming up helps protect your joints and muscles from strain, injuries, and tears.

Arms: Raise your arms to the sides and ensure they are at a 90 degrees angle.

Run in place for at least 30 minutes per session. According to this CDC study, an adult should exercise at least 150 minutes every week. This means that a 30-minute jogging session every day for 5 days a week is okay.

Speed Minutes
Walk in place 3  (warm up)
Jogging 3
Run fast 3
Jog 1 minute
Run fast 3
Jog 1 minute
Run fast >3
Jog slowly 3  (cool down)

March in Place

How to:

  • Stand with your feet apart and hands lifted on your side (90 degrees) and knees apart.
  • Raise your right foot (bended at 90 degrees). Your right foot should move with your left hand, and vice versa. Also, moving your hands trains your upper body.
  • Repeat this exercise for about 20 minutes. Do the march exercise at least twice a day for a good workout.

Mountain Climbers

How to:

  • Start by standing with your legs slightly apart.
  • Raise your right knee to slightly above your waist (close to your chest).
  • Raise your left hand high and mimic climbing motion. Switch to your left foot and right hand and repeat.
  • Repeat the exercise 10 – 15 times then switch back to a jog.

High Knees

How to:

  • Stand up straight with the balls of your feet and knees apart and hands on your side.
  • Bring your right knee close to your waist and tap it with your hand.
  • Switch to the left foot and repeat the movement.
  • Repeat at least 20 times and switch to spot jogging.

Running in Place: Calories Burned

How many calories does running in place burn? According to a study by the Wisconsin Department of Health, a 130-pound person can burn up to 470 calories per hour running in place, a 155-lb person burns up to 563, while a 190-pound person will burn calories up to 690.

A pound is made up of 3,500 calories. So, if you weigh 130 pounds, it’ll take you around seven 1-hour sessions to lose a pound, while a 190-lb person would take five 1-hour sessions to lose a pound.

jogging in place benefits

In our recent article of running three miles a day, we recommended various exercises to add intensity. In addition to running on the spot, you can include:

  •  Squats
  •  Jumping jacks workouts
  • Dumbbell presses

Health Benefits of a Jog-in-Place

Running in place helps your cardio-respiratory system work better. Your heart, lungs, and vascular system become more effective at delivering oxygen to the working muscles and also throughout your body.

This exercise is low impact compared to running uphill. So, if you have joint problems or want to prevent injuries, this is the exercise to do at home.

Running in place burns excess fat. What’s your target this year? To lose 50 pounds? Well, as stated above 1 hour of on spot-running can burn up to 670 calories. In a recent post of 1000 steps per day, we discussed how heavier people burn more fat compared to petite people.

spot running

Another reason you should exercise is for your bone health. This study shows that jogging in place impacts bone health in a good way. It helps strengthen your bones, but, as a smart workout buff, do not ditch strength training, of course.

Running in place works abdominal muscles, improves your posture, burn calories, boosts confidence, and increases lung capacity.

Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when spot running.

  1. Wearing wrong clothes and shoes
  2. Holding your breath – Don’t forget to breathe. If breathing with your nose is challenging, it’s okay to breathe through your mouth until you build endurance.
  3. Not taking enough water – Remember to take water before, during, and after running in place.
  4. Wrong form especially with the hands

Final Thoughts

Is jogging in place for you? If you are looking for safe low-impact workouts to do at home, this is the perfect exercise. Is running in place a good workout? Of course, it is. You’ll burn up to 500 calories for every 1-hour session. However, we recommend that you gradually add strength training to tone your muscles.

Running in place engages your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core muscles. Always remember to maintain proper form for stability, and do not overtrain your body.


1. Does running in place count as steps?

Yes, it counts as steps. If you use the best fitness tracker to track your 10,000 steps a day, it’ll count the steps while running on the spot.

2. How long should you run in place to increase your heart rate?

Is running in place a good workout? Will it increase your heart rate For a good workout you should run at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. A one hour session can burn anywhere from 400  to 690 calories. You can add interval training to your routine to burn more per minute and up your heart rate.

3. Running on the spot vs running


  1. Both workouts work the same muscle groups. Jogging outdoors and jogging in place recruits the quads, calves, glutes, and hamstring.
  2. With both exercises, you can increase intensity per your needs. For running in place, you can lift your knees higher and switch to interval training. When running outside, you can run uphill.


  1. When running outside, you can easily change the terrain to work more muscle groups. Unfortunately, when spot-running you cannot change the surface because you need a flat surface for stability. Running outdoors burns up to 600 calories per hour for a 150-pound person, while running in place burns about 480 lbs.