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Home arrow Fitness arrow Running arrow How to Start Running for 20 Minutes a Day and Why Should You

How to Start Running for 20 Minutes a Day and Why Should You

Written by Isabel Mayfield
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 17, 2023
6 min read 1814 Views 0 Comments
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running for 20 minutes a day

Running 20 minutes a day is a great way to lose weight, boost your mood, and improve overall health. In fact, running is a super popular form of exercise, although getting started can be a bit intimidating. 

That said, even though running has many benefits, there are some challenges you need to be aware of before you go on your first run.

This article discusses the pros and cons of running for 20 minutes per day and offers specialized advice from our experts. 

Let’s get into it!

How Many Calories Does a 20-Minute Jog Burn?

A 20-minute jog burns between 100 to 200 calories. So, running is a great way to lose weight and burn calories. Plus, it also has health benefits, which we will discuss below.

To skyrocket your running and reach your running and weight loss goals, you can use running apps for beginners. Most of those apps include stretching and warm-up exercises, personalized training, and meal plans.

6 Benefits of Running 20 Minutes a Day 

Undoubtedly, running has many benefits. From boosting your mood and increasing your energy levels to reducing stress and helping you burn fat, there are countless reasons to start running. 

Let’s take a closer look at the top benefits of running 20 minutes a day: 

#1 Boosts your mood 

Running short distances is an awesome way to boost your mood, increase your motivation, and build your confidence. After you add running to your daily life, you will begin to see how good it feels to run, and, perhaps, you will be even motivated to increase your running distance. 

So, don’t lose confidence if you feel it’s a tiresome activity since, over time, you won’t believe how much your mood has improved!

#2 Increases energy levels 

It might be hard to believe, but even though running can be exhausting, it also improves your energy levels so that you continue to run. Running, or walking for that matter, as well as other forms of cardiovascular exercise, release endorphins, otherwise known as the runner’s high. These boost your energy when running and even hours after you’ve completed your jog. 

#3 Increases cognitive performance 

U.S. researchers discovered that going for a run improves reasoning ability and mental health. In reality, this holds for every cardiovascular activity, and running is one of the best exercises you can do for your heart health.

Not only does running help reduce heart disease risk and other health conditions, but it also improves learning, decision-making, and higher thinking skills. 

#4 Promotes weight loss 

One of the best benefits of running is that it can help you burn calories and lose excess weight. In fact, by jogging for 20 minutes a day, you can burn up to 200 calories. If you make this a habit and keep it up, it can add up to a significant amount of weight loss. That said, running for 20 minutes per day to burn belly fat depends on the following factors: 

The distance you run

The more and the longer you run, the more calories you burn. An average-sized runner who jogs or runs at an 8-minute mile pace for about 20 minutes should expect to burn 100–200 calories. If you have a smaller or larger body than average, or your pace is faster or slower than 8-minute miles, then the calorie estimate would be different, and you should adjust it accordingly. 

The terrain you run on

The terrain you jog on also plays a major role in your calorie burning. Running uphill might require more energy, but, in the end, it’s more rewarding. Likewise, running on sand or a treadmill affects how many calories you burn. 

Your weight

Weight is an important factor and plays a crucial role in the number of pounds you can lose when running for 20 minutes per day. A heavier person usually burns more calories per run than a lighter person, as expected. If you need to get thinner quicker, whether you’re a heavier or lighter person, you’d need to consider other forms of exercising apart from running. 

Your diet

If you’re a fast-food regular, don’t expect to maintain or lose weight, even if you stick to your 20-minutes-a-day run. What you eat impacts the number of calories you burn. Besides, when eating more than you need, maintaining or losing excess weight seems like a futile effort. However, if you stick to your running routine and follow a good diet, you will burn more calories!

#5 Reduces stress 

Exercising is a fantastic way to reduce your stress levels and help you relax after a tough day at the office. And running is no exception. 

Why is that?

Because when stressed, your body releases cortisol hormones, also called stress hormones, that can be potentially harmful to your health. By running on a day-to-day basis, you keep these hormones under control. 

#6 Strengthens your immune system 

Daily running has many health benefits, including burning weight and increasing your motivation. According to studies, people who run regularly seem to live longer than those who include running in their daily routine. Possibly, this is due to the health benefits running has, such as those listed above. 

Drawbacks of Running for 20 Minutes a Day 

Sure, the benefits to running are undeniable, yet, there are also a few cons you should be aware of. Here are the main drawbacks to everyday running:

Possible injuries

Running could be dangerous if you’re not careful and don’t take precautions. Similarly, if you’re not in great shape, the chances of injuring yourself are high when running. 

Keep in mind that even if you’re in good shape, you still might get injured. To minimize the chances of injuries, take time to learn about running techniques and warm up before a run. 

Not suitable for everyone

Most people love running, but that doesn’t mean all find it a suitable form of exercise. And that’s OK. If running isn’t your thing, don’t push it. Find a form of exercise that works better for you, and if you have physical limitations or joint pain, running is a no-no. 

Can be uncomfortable

Running can be uncomfortable if you’re not wearing the right shoes or jogging in harsh weather conditions, such as snow or rain. So, avoid running when the weather’s bad. Wait until it gets nicer. 

Now, if you really want to run, even when the weather conditions are poor, you can use a treadmill. This way, you will never miss out on your 20-minute jog.

You might need time to adapt

People out of shape find their first few runs challenging if they haven’t run before. If you find yourself in such a case, you should adjust and work your way up slowly. Begin with a 3-minute jog and increase it by 1 to 1.5 minutes every day until you reach your ideal goal distance.

How to Start Running 20 Minutes a Day? 

A 20-minute daily jog can make a difference in your life, increase your motivation, and improve your overall health. 

But how do you get started? 

All you have to do is be prepared. That means getting the right running shoes (e.g., standard sneakers won’t cut it) and an outfit, like a sports bra, nylon shorts, and a shirt made of wicking material to pull the sweat from your body and dry faster than cotton. 

Additionally, don’t underestimate the importance of warming up before running. A dynamic warm-up increases the movement of your joints and activates your muscles, reducing your risk of injury and enabling you to run better. Also, having a water bottle close by is a smart idea since, when running at a moderate pace, you don’t want to get dehydrated. 

And courage. Lots of it, especially if you’re a beginner!

A Word From Our Coach

Running is a great way to burn calories and boost your immune system. On top of this, it can make people happier as it releases endorphins.

However, running is not a form of exercise for everyone. Some people react differently to running and the number of calories they burn when running. That’s normal and expected.

If you find yourself in such a situation or you don’t like to run, consider adding alternative exercises to your daily life. Workouts, like weight training, can still help you burn thigh fat, even when they don’t involve running. In addition, following a nutritious and balanced diet is also recommended for a healthy lifestyle.

For people who love running at a moderate pace, here are some pro tips to follow before you begin your first run:

  • Warm up before running.
  • Strengthen your whole body, so you have more energy and endurance.
  • Run on hilly terrain to burn more calories.
  • Remember to hydrate.
  • Make it a routine and stick to it. Otherwise, running won’t contribute to daily burn fat.
  • Don’t get crazy if you find running challenging in the beginning.
  • Learn running techniques.
  • Avoid a poor diet.

If that’s not enough, feel free to speak to your doctor about developing a healthy running routine and implementing a healthy diet in your lifestyle.


Running for 20 minutes per day is a fantastic way to burn body fat and begin your fitness journey. And even though it might seem overwhelming, if you stick to it, results are on the way.

Above all, make sure you are well-prepared, get good sleep, follow a healthy diet, and warm up before you run. Also, don’t forget to remain hydrated and positive. 

You can do it!

Written by Isabel Mayfield
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Isabel Mayfield
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 17, 2023
6 min read 1814 Views 0 Comments

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