Is It Safe To Jog When Overweight? Okay For My Knees?

February 22nd 2020

If you are overweight, you might be wondering if your knees will suffer any damage from running.

You’ve heard it a million times: 

You’ve got to exercise, and you’ve got to do it now. 

But, likely, if you’re overweight, you’ve also heard that it might not be the smartest thing to simply head out the door on a casual run. 

Is there a way you can balance your need to exercise with the needs your over-burdened joints also tend to have? 

In this article, we’ll look at the reasons you should or shouldn’t jog when overweight, as well as a few of the other solutions which might help you get to a place where jogging can totally be your jam. 


Is it safe to jog if you are overweight? 

Unfortunately, the consensus among experts seems to be that if you’re overweight (as defined by a 25 BMI or above), then jogging might not be the best weight loss activity for you to pursue. 

According to the expert Dr. Melina Jampolis at CNN Health, “many people who are overweight or obese probably avoid it due to fear of joint injury”—and that’s probably a safe idea. 

Especially if you have a bad knee or typically experience joint pain even when you’re walking, there are probably other avenues to safe weight loss before you start to run.

You’ve probably heard that the best ways to begin your weight loss journey are with cardio and strength training. 

Let’s start with the first.

Starting Cardio While Overweight 

While jogging is a fantastic way to get your cardio in, there are lots of other ways to make sure that your heart’s pumping while you get your sweat on. 

Here are a few ideas from people who know what they’re talking about: 

  • Charlotte Hilton Andersen at The Healthy emphasized that in the beginning, you should try your best to think about the health benefits you’re getting from starting an exercise program, not necessarily the numbers on the scale. 

Those will shift in time, but it’s not the best plan to fixate on that! 

  • Laura Williams at Thrillist took it a step further and made a very practical suggestion: 

If you’re not ready to work with a personal trainer, download some Youtube exercise videos and concentrate on getting your Burpees, mountain climbers, and jumping jacks in. 

In the beginning, the moves don’t have to be perfect—you’re just doing them to get your heart rate up! 

  • Finally, do go and find a gym you feel comfortable in and consider working with a personal trainer. 

They’ll help you take care of your joints as well as the rest of you and help strategize with you the best ways to see the results you want as quickly as possible. 


As you lose weight, you might feel like you’re able to start jogging. 

Here are a few tips for how to jog safely as you lose weight: 

  • According to Christine Luff at Verywell Fit, one of the best ways that you can ease yourself into the running experience is to literally work your way into it slowly. 

Whenever you set out on a run, start by walking (quickly) for the first ten or fifteen minutes to get your heart rate up and your muscles warm.

  • Checking in with your doctor to see if he or she has any qualms about your embarking on a cardio routine is never a bad idea, Luff says. 

He or she will have more specific knowledge about your body and whether or not you’re in a good place to start upping the intensity of your workouts. 

Follow whatever advice your doctor gives you! 

  • Make sure that you’re wearing the right shoes. 

Running shoes these days are specifically engineered to carry the load as best as possible, rerouting the repetitive force of hitting the ground away from your joints. 

You don’t have to spend a fortune, but visiting a running store and getting properly sized, then buying a shoe that was actually made for running, will definitely help. 

  • Try interval training! 

As they’re often the best for keeping your heart rate elevated and burning fat anyway, an interval training routine is fantastic for those just jumping into running. 

You can find any number of interval training guides online, but the basic premise is simply to run as fast as you can for a set (short) amount of time, then break for a set (short) amount of time; and then repeat as many times as your training program recommends that you do. 

However, all experts agree: one of the best ways that you can slim down and get ready to do more cardio isn’t a cardio move—it’s strength training.

The Benefits of Strength Training

The benefits of strength training are incredible! 

Often touted as the exercise wherein you ‘get the most bang for your buck’, you can work out with weights for far shorter than you can almost any other kind of workout and see results far greater (especially in terms of muscle definition). 

This makes it an incredibly efficient workout routine! 

If you’re looking for a way to increase your overall strength while losing fat, strength training could definitely be the way to go. And, the good news is that it’s relatively simple! Gym memberships don’t cost that much, and all you need to begin is a set of dumbbells and the determination to go far. 

Staci Ardison at Nerd Fitness, in fact, says that strength training is one of the best ways to go if you’re looking to lose weight fast—while keeping up your quality of life. 

She points out that life gets easier when you’re stronger by simply letting you do things like carrying groceries, children, and getting your car out of a snowbank without worrying too much about it, having to make multiple trips, or calling in professionals. 

However, that’s just the icing on the cake! 

Strength training also strengthens our skeletal muscle, helps prevent a lot of diseases and accompanying degenerative conditions, and can improve the quality of life for people who already have those kinds of conditions. 

Really, if you’re thinking about getting started with strength training, there’s a whole host of good reasons to make it happen. 

If you are looking for a beginner routine, then look no further.

Starting Strength is one of the simplest general strength training programs for beginners.

You will find that, (key point) under a controlled diet, you will be able to lose fat and gain muscle.

Sounds too good to be true?

Then, you do not have to believe me.

Instead, I invite you to try to program for 1 year.

Give the program 1 year of dedicated effort and diligence. 

What do I need to start?

Bring yourself, gym attire, water, your program in mind and a positive attitude!

In the beginning, your workout can take anywhere between 30-60 minutes.

As you become more efficient at resistance training, your workouts can extend up to 90 minutes or even 2 hours.

But that will not be the case early on.

Warming up is optional in that you can choose to warm up with the barbell.

You can choose to do some mild walking, jumps, etc.

But your main priority at the gym will be to perform your compound movements and complete the day from start to finish. 


While you’re continuing your health journey—and especially if you’re just getting started!—it’s very important that you take the time to listen to your body. 

If something hurts—especially if it’s a sharp, jolting sort of pain and not a muscle ache from working out properly—there’s probably a reason for that: 

It’s your body telling you to stop doing whatever you’re doing! 

Take the time to take care of yourself; 

Your body will thank you, and it will make the rest of your fitness journey that much easier.

Tags Lifestyle

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