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Benefits of Running a Mile a Day

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Let’s Talk about the Benefits that can come from Running a Mile a Day

Running has long been associated with a host of health benefits, ranging from decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease to aiding weight loss and fighting depression. There’s no debate about these benefits, as many established regulatory health bodies have since recommended aerobic activities like running a for the healthy functioning of the human body. 

The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activities or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activities like running per week to stay healthy. This is in addition to doing muscle-strengthening activities for at least two days a week.1 If you are not sure about what ‘moderate’ and ‘vigorous’ in this context mean, there is a simple test to help you find out. Any activity that allows you to hold a conversation while breathing hard is regarded as moderate-intensity activity. But when you can only say a few words before you have to take a breath, that is a vigorous-intensity activity.1

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Why People Choose to Run for Just a Mile a Day

Many might be wondering why people choose to run just a mile in a day when they could easily follow a standard training plan that can feature at least 3-4 days of intense exercising. Well, there are several reasons why people love running for just a mile. Some of them include:

Tight Schedule

This is probably one of the reasons why running just a mile a day has become so popular. When work and family matters take the bulk of your time, you can hardly have enough left for 2-3 hours of exercise. But with just a mile’s run, you can be done and dusted in less than 20 minutes.

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You are a Newbie

When you are just starting out, it’s easier to run for just one mile daily than having to go distances of over 20-30 miles in a week. Generally, long-distance running tends to scare off beginner runners.

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You are Back From a Break

When a seasoned runner goes for a break, probably as a result of an injury, health concern, or whatever reason it may be, it’s only logical to resume running at a slow pace. A mile run daily can help one regain their form and confidence before going long again.

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The True Benefits of Running a Mile a Day

Now that we are aware of the reasons that may compel one to run for just a mile a day let’s proceed to look at some of the benefits you can derive from such an endeavor. 

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Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

There are numerous ways running can help improve your overall cardiovascular health, ranging from lowering your blood pressure to improving the amounts of cholesterol in your blood. 

  • Lowers your BP: Research-based findings have shown that running regularly can decrease your resting BP.2

  • Improves blood cholesterol levels: Studies have shown that exercises like running can help improve the levels of HDL (beneficial) cholesterol in the blood.3 If you are not aware, HDL cholesterol protects the body from cholesterol buildup in the arteries — a condition that can make the inside of arteries get narrow, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In general, running forces the muscles of your heart and lungs to work harder than normal, which in turn strengthens your heart and increases your lung capacity. To cap it off, research has found that running for just 5 minutes per day can lower your risk of stroke and heart attack by 45%.4 That’s even less than the amount of time it will take for a mile’s run. So, a mile’s run daily may even ramp up the benefits further than simply promoting healthy blood pressure.

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Relieves Stress and Depression

There’s evidence that running can help lower the amounts of stress hormones in your body, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It can also stimulate the production of endorphins, which are chemicals found in the brain that act as the body’s natural pain reliever and mood elevator.5 They are produced during activities like laughing, sex, exercise, and dancing. 

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Aids Weight Loss

Running a mile a day can help you lose those stubborn extra pounds of fat. According to CaloriesBurnedHq, an average runner will burn anywhere between 80 to 140 calories per mile. If you run a mile every day, that’s around 2,400 to 4,200 calories burned in a month. And according to science, to lose one pound of weight, you need to burn around 3,500 calories more than you take in.6 This means by running just a mile a day, you can easily lose one pound of fat every month, provided you watch your calorie intake.

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Builds Your Endurance

When it comes to building endurance, running a mile a day can help. By gradually increasing the distance you run each day, you can build up your endurance levels so that you can eventually run long distances without getting tired. This is especially beneficial for people who are looking to improve their cardiovascular health.

One of the best things about running is that it’s a very accessible form of exercise. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and some motivation. If you’re just starting out, you may want to start with a shorter distance and work your way up to a mile. Once you’re able to run a mile without stopping, you can begin to increase the distance gradually.

In addition to helping you build endurance, running can also help to improve your overall fitness level. It’s a great way to get some cardio in and burn some calories. If you’re looking to lose weight, running can be a great addition to your fitness routine.

So if you’re looking for a way to improve your endurance and fitness level, consider adding a mile run to your daily routine. You may be surprised at how quickly you see results.

Strengthens Your Bones

It is normal for our bones to lose their density as we age. A condition that can cause osteoporosis, which is characterized by weak and porous bones. Fortunately, exercises like running can exert some stress on our bones, which can help improve their density.7

Improves Your Mental Health

We all know that physical activity is good for our health. But did you know that running a mile a day can also improve your mental health?

A recent study found that people who ran just one mile a day saw greater mental health benefits than those who didn’t exercise at all. And the benefits were even greater for people who ran three miles a day.

So why is running so good for our mental health?

For one, it helps to reduce stress levels. When we run, our bodies release endorphins, which are hormones that help to alleviate stress and make us feel happier.

In addition, running can also help to improve our sleep quality. This is important because poor sleep can lead to increased stress levels, anxiety, and depression.

Finally, running can help to boost our self-esteem. When we exercise, we feel better about ourselves and our bodies. This can lead to increased confidence and a better outlook on life.

Other Benefits

There are numerous other benefits one could derive from running just a mile in a day. After a mile’s run, one may get an elevated mood (feel relaxed and happier) that’s popularly known as “runner’s high,” which is a result of an increase in endocannabinoid production.8

A mile run may also strengthen the knee joints, improve sleep and cognitive function, and reduce the risk of cancers.9 

The Conclusion: What are the Actual Benefits of Running a Mile a Day?

Sure, running a marathon is an impressive feat, but you don’t have to be a world-class athlete to reap the rewards of this simple exercise. In fact, all you need is 30 minutes and a pair of comfortable shoes, and you’re good to go!

So, what are the benefits of running a mile a day? For starters, it can help you lose weight. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, running is one of the most effective exercises out there. It burns calories quickly and helps you build lean muscle mass.

Plus, it’s great for your heart health. Running on a regular basis can help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. And if that’s not enough to convince you, running has also been shown to boost your mood and improve your sleep quality.

So what are you waiting for? lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement! You might just be surprised at how good you feel after a mile-long run.

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References

  1. https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2021-02/PAG_MYW_FactSheet_Adults_508c.pdf

  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31677122/

  3. https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-511X-2-3

  4. https://www.acc.org/about-acc/press-releases/2014/07/29/09/32/leisure-running-jacc-pr

  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax

  6. https://www.nal.usda.gov/legacy/fnic/i-want-lose-pound-weight-how-many-calories-do-i-need-burn

  7. https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/exercise-can-help-you-keep-your-bones-strong

  8. https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.1514996112

  9. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet#

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