Many people who want to get in shape or lose weight choose jogging as their form of exercise. It is simple and requires no fancy equipment or gym memberships. And while jogging can effectively help people lose weight and get in shape, it can also lead to injuries, especially among people just starting to jog.

A 2013 Danish study found that runners who only recently started training suffer more running-related injuries than do runners who average more than 40 miles per week. Among the risk factors for these injuries were a body mass index (BMI) over 30 kg/m2, age between 45 and 65 years, and previous injuries not related to running.

Therefore, if you are starting to jog, whether you want to eventually run a marathon or you just want to lose 10 pounds, make every effort to decrease your chance of suffering a bone or joint injury.

Avoid injuries when starting to jog

Have all prior musculoskeletal injuries evaluated by your doctor or orthopaedic surgeon.

If you have suffered injuries of the bones and joints in your lower body, consider seeing your doctor to ensure you aren’t at risk for making a problem worse by repeatedly putting stress on that area with jogging.

Lose weight.

While the goal of many new joggers is to lose weight, obesity is thought to be a risk factor for musculoskeletal injury. Take steps to decrease the stress on your bones and joints. Maybe you can lose a few pounds eating fewer calories each day and performing non-impact exercise, such as using an elliptical trainer or stationary bike, several times a week.

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Increase your training slowly.

Instead of doing too much too soon, you should increase training in a way that doesn’t overly stress your body’s ability to heal and get stronger. If you run 20 miles per week now and want to increase that amount, aim for 22 miles next week. That’s a 10 percent increase. If you want to run a marathon, determine the mileage you need to reach. Then use the 10% rule backwards to figure out when you need to start training.

Jogger with leg pain

Get aches and pains that develop from jogging evaluated.

Most aches and pains result from the repetitive stress of the activity. Take a day or two off and see if the pain improves. Or change your exercise routine for a couple of days. If pain persists, consider seeing your doctor or surgeon to ensure that you aren’t making the problem worse. Often some simple changes can help you avoid a stress fracture or other injury that could sideline you for many weeks.