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Jog or Run Your Way to Health

senior woman jogging outside with earphones

Regular physical activity and keeping a healthy weight are 2 proven ways to help reduce your risk of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. If you’re looking for a new exercise to keep you active, consider jogging. You don’t need a lot of expensive gear to get started and stay with it: Good shoes and a place to move, like a sidewalk, track, or treadmill, are all that’s required.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting regular physical activity during the coronavirus pandemic as long as you practice social distancing guidelines. It’s best to check with your local authorities to see if your area has specific guidelines about wearing a face covering when running or jogging outdoors or in a gym. You could keep a clean one tucked into a pocket so it’s ready to use, just in case.

These activities can be hard on certain parts of the body, so once you’ve cleared your exercise plan with your doctor, set a strategy.

  • Start slowly: Begin with a brisk walk, then jog maybe 5-10 minutes at a time. Once you can do that more easily, gradually add more time.
  • Take breaks: If jogging becomes too hard, slow down or walk for a few minutes, then start jogging again.
  • Turn on some tunes: If you need a little boost, consider listening to some of your favorite songs. Before you know it, you’ll be off and running. Be sure to practice social distancing and stay aware of your surroundings and traffic.

Some people find it easier to get into shape if they have a goal. Consider signing up for a 5K run (about 3.1 miles) or a charity distance event to give yourself added purpose as you train. Many organizations are setting up virtual running events during the pandemic that allow you to track, log, and report your participation online or using an app. According to Mayo Clinic, a 5K run is an appropriate distance for a beginner. Get started with a 5K training schedule from

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.