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running on the spot

Running on the Spot: Benefits, Risks & More

Running on the spot is an aerobic exercise that is typically used within warm-ups, cool-downs, HIITs or agility drill workouts.  

There are various running on the spot benefits that we will outline: from promoting weight loss, enhancing muscular definition and improving cardiovascular fitness. This article will also discuss how you can begin performing the running on the spot exercise with a comprehensive guide on attaining the correct form. 

So, if you’ve ever wondered “can running on the spot help to lose weight?” or even “is running on the spot as good as running?”, then this article will provide some insight into everything you need to know about running in place. 

Contents: 

Alternatively, if you’re already aware of the plethora of advantages associated with both running holistically and on the spot, and are looking to take it to the next level, then perhaps one of our formally accredited personal training courses is the next step on your fitness journey!

Or, if you’re not sure quite yet, download our FREE prospectus, and learn more about what we offer, and how it could be right for you!

What is Running on the Spot?

Before we delve into running on the spot benefits, let’s first establish what running on the spot is.

Running on the spot is an aerobic exercise that is typically used as a warm-up or in an agility drill session. Within sessions like these, running on the spot may also be completed alongside other drill exercises such as jumping squats, high knees and butt kickers. 

With that being said, if you are using running on the spot as your primary workout, it is important that you do not disregard the importance of a warm-up. Be sure to practise some of our recommended best strestches for runners both pre and post-run.

The running on the spot exercise is performed by standing up with the legs hip-width apart and with a slight bend at the knees. First, raise the left leg and swing the right arm forward slightly. Then, with a slight bounce in the transition, switch legs so that the right leg is raised and the left arm swung forwards. Repeat these alterations consecutively until the motions begin to mimic running. 

But, is running on the spot a good exercise? Read on to find out more.

Is Running on the Spot a Good Workout?

Now that we’ve established some of the basics of stationary running, you may be wondering “is running on the spot a good exercise for working out?”.

The answer to this question is dependent upon your reasons for doing the exercise. 

If you are someone who is new to the world of fitness and/or are currently inactive in regards to your exercise routine, running on the spot may well be the ideal place for you to start building up your fitness to work towards more challenging forms of exercise. 

Conversely, if you are wanting to engage in longer cardio-based workouts and are wondering which are the most effective, engaging in regular or treadmill running might be better suited for you. 

On the spot running is good when implemented into a warm-up, cool-down or a HIIT-based workout. You can very easily increase the intensity to make it more challenging. 

When compared with regular running, running on the spot may not be as intense, but it still ultimately elevates your heart rate, circulates greater volumes of blood to working muscles and improves your cardiovascular fitness. The NHS encourages a total of 150-minutes of exercise to be done each week and running on the spot can help you to achieve this. 

Engaging in any form of physical activity has a range of benefits for your health and fitness. 

So, in summary, if you approached this article wondering “is running on the spot effective?” - this is dependent upon your purposes for incorporating on the spot running into your daily regime. It is best suited for inactive individuals to build up their fitness and/or be used in a warm-up, cool-down or HIIT.

If you’re just starting off your exercising journey and you're thinking on implementing running on the spot into your routine, check out our guide to the Best Running Gear to ensure you’re putting the right foot forward.

Benefits of Running on the Spot

“Is running on the spot beneficial?” is a question that may have crossed your mind when reading this article, which is why we’re going to outline some of the ways that running on the spot can benefit your health, fitness and daily life. 

For a more holistic overview on the benefits of running, click here.

#1 - Improved Cardiovascular Fitness

Cardiovascular fitness is a health-related component of fitness that refers to your physical work capacity. This is your lungs ability to uptake oxygen and deliver it through blood circulation to your working muscles and vital organs.

If you have ever experienced a sensation of a tight chest or breathing difficulties when doing exercise, this means that your lungs and heart are unable to operate at the same rate that you’re working your body.

So, an improved cardiovascular fitness means that this process works more efficiently. This means that over time of regularly engaging in running on the spot, your fitness will improve. 

Improved cardiovascular fitness also means that you will be able to engage in other aerobic exercises such as regular running, hiking, swimming just to name a few. If doing this sounds attractive to you, then running in place may well be the ideal place to start. To further familiarise yourself with the components of fitness, such as cardiovascular, click here.

In summary, in answer to the question “is running on the spot good for you?”, the answer is yes. Regular running on the spot can improve your health and fitness. 

#2 - Reduces the Risk of Developing Heart Disease

Running on the spot benefits you by improving your heart health. 

The heart is a muscle that gets stronger through regular exercise. This means that the heart will be able to support working muscles and vital organs more efficiently since it is capable of pumping greater volumes of blood around the body. 

Those who engage in regular aerobic exercise, such as running in place, reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease and experiencing heart attacks. 

Coronary heart disease can be developed as a result of the heart’s blood supply being blocked by fatty substances in the coronary arteries. It is one of the major causes of death in the world.

Regular exercise helps to reduce the risk of this happening. 

A 2003 scientific journal states that those who engage in aerobic exercise regularly are less likely to develop heart disease such as coronary heart disease. Conversely, those who live a sedentary lifestyle have an increased chance of developing such diseases. 

You can further reduce the risk of heart disease by combining running on the spot with drinking green tea, which is also said to be highly effective for heart health.

Running on the spot is an easy, cost-effective form of exercise that you can engage in wherever. You do not need a gym membership to do such exercises - anywhere that you have enough room to fit your person is enough room to engage in running on the spot. 

By implementing running in place workouts into your regimen means that you’re reducing the risk of developing heart-related diseases - who wouldn’t want this for their body? 

#3 - Promotes Weight Loss

If you’ve ever asked yourself the question, “can running on the spot help to lose weight?” then you’ll be happy to know that it can. 

Running in place is an aerobic exercise that elevates your heart rate and pumps blood around the body to your working muscles. The more that you engage in aerobic exercises, the greater your calorie expenditure will be. 

If you’re wanting to lose weight by running on the spot, then calories play a large role in the process. You must ensure that your calorie expenditure is greater than your calorie intake. 

Your calorie expenditure refers to how much energy your body requires to perform an activity. The food and drink you consume are converted into energy.

Running on the spot regularly puts you closer to attaining a calorie deficit - this is where your body refers to fat stores for energy which in turn, facilitates weight loss.

Many people believe that in order to lose weight, you have to either seriously restrict your diet and go for intense hour-long runs each day. Whereas in actuality, as long as you are maintaining a calorie deficit by exercising frequently and having a balanced diet, you can lose weight. Please note, when we say balanced diet, we must emphasise this does not include the plethora of fad diets that exist in the fitness world!

But, does running on the spot burn calories, and if so, how many?

According to the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services, approximately 563 calories are burned by running in place. This refers to the average 155 lbs person for 1-hour of in place running. 

The greater the intensity and duration, the greater the calorie burn. 

So, if these running on the spot for weight loss effects are attractive to you, why not consider implementing the exercise into your daily routine? 

#4 - Works a Range of Muscle Groups

Running on the spot workouts are great since they work a range of muscle groups. 

On the spot running requires you to keep your upper body held upright and arms swinging in a rhythmic motion, which simultaneously engages your back, shoulder and arm muscles. Moreover, your core muscles also work hard to keep your body upright and strong. 

Additionally, your leg muscles, particularly the calves, must keep engaged with each bounce. 

However, while each of these muscle groups is working hard to facilitate your stationary run, it is important that you maintain the correct form. Incorrect form, such as hunching your shoulders over or bouncing with your whole foot rather than on the balls of your feet increase the risk of injury.

If you need more assistance in nailing the perfect form, be sure to follow up this read with OriGym's tips to improve your running technique.

With this point in mind, let’s outline how on the spot running can enhance your muscular definition. 

#5 - Enhances Muscular Definition 

While the exercise is good for working many muscles, is running on the spot beneficial for attaining a toned physique? 

Running on the spot benefits you by unveiling muscles to make them appear more toned. 

This is because regular stationary running can improve your muscular strength.  Over time, your muscles will grow and your body fat percentage may reduce. Together, this presents the appearance of a more defined physique. 

In order to attain muscular definition, any fat that surrounds your muscles must be reduced. It is difficult to see your muscles when body fat surrounds them. 

However, it is noteworthy that as well as regular participation in exercise, a balanced, nutritious diet plays a significant role in attaining muscular definition.

So, if you are someone who would like to take advantage of this benefit, in order to unveil the underlying muscle, men must have approximately 10% body fat and women 15% body fat to see muscular definition. 

If you’re still wondering “is running on the spot effective?”, recognising that you can attain these amazing weight loss and muscle definition benefits makes engaging in the exercise all the more attractive!

#6 - Improves Balance 

Next up on the list of running on the spot benefits is that it can improve your balance.

But, how does this happen? 

When completing on the spot running, you’re alternating your leg movement with your arm movement, which in turn improves your balance. An improved balance means that the various muscle groups at work are able to coordinate together to keep your body in a strong position at all times. 

But, why is having a strong sense of balance important?

Good balance reduces the risk of you experiencing injuries caused by falls or ankle injuries. Your body will become accustomed to maintaining strong, balanced positions through regularly running on the spot. 

So, if you would like to reap the improved balance benefits that on the spot running provides, then why not consider implementing some exercise into your fitness regime? 

#7 - You Can Work Out Anywhere

For many people, one of the primary factors preventing them from exercising regularly is lacking the space to do so. Not everyone feels comfortable attending the gym or working out in public, and having minimal space in their home can put a full stop to exercising entirely. 

Another one of the great running in place benefits is that it can be done anywhere! You don’t need to invest in a gym membership to do it, as long as you have a space big enough to fit your person, it is enough space to run on the spot. 

This is also beneficial for those who may need an extra push in finding the motivation to do a workout. Since there is no need to plan your workout around the weather, nor is there a commute to the gym, this makes it easier to engage in a running on the spot workout. 

Whether you wish to do your workout in the living room, bedroom or even the bathroom, as long as you find enough space for you to fit, it is enough space to get going. 

Now, while engaging the exercise is great in that it can be done anywhere, is running on the spot beneficial for all fitness levels? 

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Before we move on however, if you're enjoying this articles, here’s 3 more we think you’ll find useful:

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#8 - Accommodates For All Fitness Levels

Last but not least, running in place benefits many as it accommodates all fitness types. 

Whether it be that you are new to the world of fitness or consider yourself experienced, running on the spot accommodates for a range of fitness levels.

If you are a running in place novice, do so at a moderate pace for 15-minutes before building up the duration. It starts you off steadily without risking feeling too tired and giving up. 

For those who want something more challenging, doing HIIT running on the spot workouts may be preferable. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. You are to perform the exercise at a high intensity but for a short period of time before having a short break and carrying on. 

An example of how you could implement this into your routine is by running on the spot as fast as you can for 30-seconds and then at a moderate pace for 15-seconds to recover. Doing this for 15-minutes altogether will certainly elevate your heart rate and get your muscles working. 

Either of the above examples may even be preferable to be done as a warm-up or cool-down exercise. 

Ultimately, running on the spot workouts accommodate all fitness types. So, if you’re someone who would like to engage in regular running on the spot workouts, then what better time to start than now? Whatsmore, there are a plethora of mental health benefits of running that everyone can take advanatage of!

We’ve now covered some great benefits of on the spot running that you could reap with regular participation. You may now be wondering “is running on the spot the same as running outside?” and want some clarification into which running form is best. Read on to learn more. 

Running On The Spot vs. Running Outdoors

Now that we’ve covered some of the key running in place benefits, you may now be wondering “Is running on the spot as good as running?”

For your benefit, we’ve broken this section down into two main parts: running on the spot vs. running & running on the spot vs. treadmill running so you have all the necessary information available.

Firstly, regular running is more physically demanding than running on the spot. This is why running on the spot is often used as a warm-up, cool-down or implemented into a HIIT workout as opposed to done solely as a workout. 

The muscles operate differently in running in place compared with regular running. This is because regular running requires you to propel your body forwards with each step; the place your foot pushes off from is different to the place it lands its next step.

Also, the regular running motion means that you land more on your toes compared with running on the spot, which helps to build strength in your ankle and lower legs. Regular running activates your hamstrings and glutes more so than running on the spot in order to facilitate the propelling motion. 

There is a greater demand upon the heart and lungs to operate with regular running since the muscles are working more intensely which has greater benefits upon your cardiovascular system.

So, is running on the spot the same as running outside? 

No, running outside is more strenuous on your working muscles and respiratory system compared with running on the spot. 

However, while this is the case, it is not to say that stationary running is ineffective. 

If you are currently an inactive person but wish to engage in more physical activity, running on the spot may be preferable for you to build up your fitness and confidence before attempting regular runs. 

If you’re wanting to engage in running on the spot for weight loss effects, doing so with the intent of building up to outdoor runs will optimise weight loss. 

So, to answer the question “is running on the spot as good as running?”, while regular running has more calorie-burning benefits, running on the spot is still a great place to begin your running journey. 

Let’s now look into the differences between running on the spot vs treadmill running. 

Running On The Spot vs. Treadmill

Now that we’ve identified the differences between regular running and running on the spot, you may now be thinking “is running on the spot the same as a treadmill then?” 

Again, both exercises work your body in different ways. 

One of the main differences between regular running and treadmill running is that with treadmill running, you’re always protected from the weather. Equally, this may be another reason why running on the spot is favourable to you. 

While treadmill running requires the same motion as regular running, some fitness fanatics argue that the propelling motion isn’t as strenuous on a treadmill as the machine does some of the work for you. In short, some believe that treadmill running is less physically demanding compared with regular running. 

So, does running on the spot work in the same way as treadmill running? 

No - running on a treadmill still requires you to propel forwards even if less intensely as regular running. 

Furthermore, out of all 3 forms of running, running in place is considered the least strenuous, treadmill running being more strenuous and regular running the most. Despite running on the spot being the least physically demanding, this is not to say it is ineffective. 

No one form of running is any ‘better’ than the other as your purposes for engaging in any form is circumstantial. As long as you are getting active, increasing your heart rate and contributing toward your 150-minutes of exercise per week, you will reap fitness improving benefits. 

So, in answer to the question “is running on the spot the same as a treadmill?” - the answer is no. Your body works differently in the completion of either exercise. 

You can always treat treadmill running as the next stage of your fitness journey once running on the spot becomes easier, before eventually feeling confident in going for regular, outdoor runs. 

How to Run on the Spot?

In this section, we will outline how you can perform the running on the spot exercise. 

Before we get into the step-by-step guide, should you have approached this article with “does running on the spot work”, the answer is yes, but only with the correct form. 

As with any exercise, correct form is paramount. Poor form carries the risk of you getting an injury, muscle soreness or joint pain. Paying close attention to the correct form will reduce these risks, meaning you can engage in the exercise more frequently.

Set-up: 

  • Wear supportive trainers when engaging in the running on the spot exercise. 
  • Before starting, also ensure that you have enough space to perform the exercise. Ensure you are at least 1 meter away from any objects before beginning. 

Execution: 

  1. Stand in a tall position. Look straight in front of you while keeping your neck and shoulders in a neutral position. Ensure that your feet are hip-width apart. 
  2. Next, lift your right forearm in front of you by bending at the elbow. Ensure that the elbow remains close to the side of your body, with your hand situated more toward the centreline of your body. 
  3. Next, lift your left leg approximately 20cm from the floor. 
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3, alternating the leg with a slight bounce to your step and alternating the arm with a slight swing. Make sure that each step comes down in the same location that it left. 
  5. Keep alternating these arm and leg movements consecutively until you mimic a running movement. 

To make the running on the spot exercise more difficult, increase the intensity and/or duration of the exercise. 

To change the intensity, try to run on the spot as fast as you can for 30-seconds before coming back to a moderate pace for 15-seconds to recover. Repeat this for however long you feel you can.

Alternatively, try and increase the time you perform the running on the spot exercise each day by adding on an extra minute per workout until you can do it for 30-minutes. 

Risks of Running on the Spot

As with any form of physical activity, there are risks involved which are to be taken with the utmost caution. 

Consider the following risks before beginning your running on the spot workouts.

#1 - Joint Pain

If you are someone who experiences joint pain, then running on the spot may not be an appropriate exercise for you to engage in. There is a lot of pressure put upon the ankles, knees and hip joints, and so if not careful, you may risk worsening your symptoms. 

#2 - Incorrect Form Could Result in Injury

 As mentioned previously, the correct form with running on the spot is very important. If performed with the incorrect form, then you are increasing the chance of injury. Refer back to the step-by-step guide to get in the know before beginning.

#3 - Muscle Soreness 

If you are inactive in terms of exercise before you begin running on the spot, there’s a chance that you may experience muscular stiffness after performing the exercise. This is very normal when beginning to work your muscles in ways that they aren’t familiar with. Muscular stiffness occurs less frequently the more that you engage in physical activity. 

FAQs

Is It Better To Walk Instead Of Running On The Spot?

If you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness, then either walking or running on the spot is a good starting point.

They are both aerobic exercises that increase your heart rate, engage a range of muscle groups while improving your lungs ability to uptake oxygen to supply to your muscles. 

Neither is necessarily better than the other. You may prefer to go for a walk to get some fresh air and experience being outdoors. Or, you may wish to engage in a workout from the comfort of your own home.

If the latter is favourable, then a running on the spot workout, warm-up, cool-down or HIIT session can still provide ample benefits. 

How Many Calories Does Running On The Spot Burn? 

According to the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the number of calories burned by running in place per 155 lbs person is 563 calories. This is achieved in a 1-hour session.

If you are wanting to engage in running on the spot to lose weight, this may be a suitable option for you. 

If you want to lose weight by running on the spot, then calories play a large role in any weight loss process. You need to ensure that you’re burning more calories than you're consuming. 

The more calories that you burn in exercise, the closer you are to being in a calorie deficit which results in weight loss. 

The more physically demanding that a workout is, the more calories that you will burn in the process. 

So, if you approached this article wondering “Does running on the spot burn calories?”, the answer is yes. Increased intensity and duration increase the number of calories burned to help facilitate weight loss. 

Is Running In Place Better Than Regular Running? 

The answer to this question is dependent upon your reasons for engaging within running on the spot exercises. 

Regular running is more physically demanding than running on the spot and may often burn more calories. If you want to lose weight then regular running may help this process occur more quickly than running on the spot. 

But, this isn’t to say that it is necessarily ‘better’, as you may want to engage in running on the spot for different reasons. 

If you want to improve your fitness after being inactive, running on the spot may be favourable to you. It may seem daunting to go for a run if you aren’t confident in your fitness yet. Running on the spot can certainly help to gradually build your cardiovascular fitness and confidence before approaching regular runs outside. 

Each has its own set of benefits, making neither ‘better’ than the other. It is down to your personal preference and your purpose of engaging in exercise. 

Before You Go!

So, there we have everything you need to know about running in place with workout ideas, benefits and a correct form guide on how to get started.

If you approached this article wondering “is running on the spot good for you?” then hopefully by now you know that the answer to that question is yes! Any form of exercise that increases your heart rate to circulate blood to all your working muscles has many great health benefits that you ought to take advantage of.

Additionally, if you’re wondering “can running on the spot help to lose weight?” - yes! Running on the spot has calorie-burning qualities that contribute to weight loss. So, if you’re someone who is mindful of the number on the scales, then engaging in running on the spot for weight loss effects may sound attractive to you.

Interested in changing your career path and persuing a role in the fitness industry? Then one of our REPS and CIMSPA accredited personal training courses could be the right fit for you. 

Alternatively, you can download our FREE prospectus and learn more about us, and what we offer.

References

  1. Myers J. Cardiology patient pages. Exercise and cardiovascular health. Circulation. 2003 Jan 7;107(1):e2-5. doi: 10.1161/01.cir.0000048890.59383.8d. PMID: 12515760.
  2. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p4/p40109.pdf?utm_content=buffer5c03e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer.

Written by Emily Evans

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Emily studied English Language and Literature at the University of Sheffield, graduating in 2021 with a 2:1 BA honours degree. Alongside her degree, she also gained experience in student publication as Forge Press’ Lifestyle Editor and Deputy Editor for Post-Production. This is where her love for content writing stemmed from, which also led her to OriGym. Outside of her work, Emily will either be found on a long hike, at the gym or making a mess trying new healthy recipes in her kitchen!

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