Consistency is key to everything. If you run a mile one day, then stop doing it, you’ll hardly notice a difference. When you persist on it and run a mile every day, you’ll see some real, tangible benefits.
Running a mile may not be challenging, especially for athletes or professional runners. But running a mile every day is better than running five miles once, then bidding the sport goodbye.
Here, let’s see the benefits of running a mile a day.
1. Better Cardiovascular Health
One of the best-known benefits of running is improving your cardiovascular health. Many studies have shown that people who run more have fewer chances of dying due to cardiovascular disease. The difference isn’t minor, either. Running has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality by a substantial percentage of 45%.
As you probably already know, there’s a considerable number of people dying every day in the US because of cardiovascular conditions. It’s hard to grasp the reasons or know for sure what causes these diseases, but we can understand what prevents them.
Physical activity is your best bet if you want to protect your heart health. Even if you run for only five minutes per day, you’ll still reduce your risk of developing such diseases.
2. Healthier Cholesterol Levels
A regular runner will typically have a healthier cholesterol level than someone who doesn’t indulge in any physical activity. Daily workout increases your body’s HDL level, which is good cholesterol. It replaces LDL, often called bad cholesterol, and lowers its levels in your body.
Aside from its weight gain effects, bad cholesterol is the number one reason for strokes and different heart diseases. Meanwhile, HDL cholesterol keeps your heart healthy.
If you’re not convinced, you may find it relieving that a lot of studies were actually carried out to test this. A particular study in 2013 found that a runner has a much lower risk of getting high cholesterol levels—precisely 36%.
3. Stronger and Healthier Bones
It’s a no-brainer that running can significantly improve the strength of your bones. In fact, the bones are the most affected organs by any physical activity since your movements put direct stress on them.
Stressing on your bones constantly will eventually increase their density, getting them stronger and healthier. In turn, your risks of developing osteoporosis become much less.
There’s a common misconception that only endurance training can get your bones stronger, like lifting weights or doing push-ups. However, that’s not the case. High-impact exercise can equally improve your bones, especially running. Plus, you have less risk of injuring yourself if you run every day. Resistance training increases the risk of muscle cramps and other injuries.
4. New Brain Cell Growth
If someone told you before that running will make you smarter, you’d probably laugh in their faces and go about your day. However, that’s not actually far from the truth.
Running every day won’t make you smarter per se, but it’ll encourage new brain cell growth. That’s because exercise raises your heart rate, which, in turn, delivers more oxygen to your brain. Your brain then starts releasing hormones, encouraging the growth of new brain cells.
Not to mention, running and aerobic exercises stimulate your brain to build new neural connections, improving your brain health and keeping you focused. In simpler words, running expands your brain!
5. Better Insulin Sensitivity Levels
If you don’t know about insulin sensitivity and resistance, let me give you a hint. Both are dependent on each other. If your insulin sensitivity is low, you probably have insulin resistance. Likewise, if your body’s sensitivity is high, this means you don’t have resistance, which is good.
People who have insulin resistance have higher chances of getting type 2 diabetes in the future. That’s simply because their bodies stop reacting to insulin, which leads to higher levels of the hormone. In turn, this raises their blood sugar levels, putting them at risk of developing diabetes.
So, where does running fall in all that?
Well, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) states that a runner has better sensitivity levels than a non-runner. That’s simply because running increases your body’s glucose uptake, even when you’re resting. As a result, your insulin sensitivity improves.
6. Healthy Blood Pressure
Irregular blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular diseases, leading to death in severe, untreated cases. Living with unstable blood pressure is also a bit of a nuisance, and you can avoid it with something as simple as running every day.
The American Heart Association claims that consistent running can help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels. The experts say that 150 minutes of daily running or any kind of cardio physical activity can be enough to protect your health. That duration may amount to a mile, depending on your pace.
This benefit is somehow related to the better-cardiovascular-health topic. When you maintain your blood pressure, you have a lower risk of suffering a stroke. In the end, what we’re sure of is that running does wonders for your heart health.
7. Weight Loss
Well, here’s the most obvious of them all! Exercise helps you lose weight; it’s a no-brainer, really. If you want to shed off some extra weight off your hips or glutes, lace up your runners and get on the running track.
But wait a second; running for some miles and then resting for the rest of the week will do you no good. One of the main benefits of running a mile a day is proper weight loss. Consistency in running will stimulate your body to become a calorie-burning machine. You’ll be burning calories even when you’re resting because of the daily physical activity.
If you don’t work out at all, starting by running a mile a day won’t be convenient. You can start with walking, then increase your pace. Then, run more distance every day until you reach a mile. After that, it’ll be easier to run the mile because you ease your body into it. You can also add some inclines or run faster on some days to keep your body challenged.
There’s one last thing to say here. Don’t expect significant weight loss at first. As you lose weight, you’ll also grow muscle mass. In terms of weight, muscle mass is heavier than the fat you’re burning, so the number on the scale may not be moving by large leaps, but you’ll still be getting lean.
8. Better Sleep
If you have difficulties sleeping at night, running every day may show better results than you think. You may think it’s because of physical activity, but it’s not that simple. It’s true, high-impact exercises tire you out and may help you sleep better at night, but being tired isn’t the only reason you sleep well.
Running a mile a day, or daily exercise in general urges your pituitary gland to release endorphins. The endorphins then start working, lowering the effects of stress and triggering a relaxation feeling throughout your body, which helps you sleep better at night. Endorphins have a couple of extra benefits, as well, such as alleviating pain, but that’s a story for another day.
When you stimulate your brain every day to release endorphins, you’ll notice your stress is much less than before and that you’re sleeping better at night.
One more benefit of running is maintaining your body temperature. When you make an effort, your body’s temperature increases, and then you start to cool off after taking a shower and resting. The cooling off relaxes your muscles and prepares you for rest; that’s why many people are convinced running at night is better.
9. A Lower Resting Heart Rate
Your resting heart rate can tell a lot about your health. If your rate is higher than average, it means your heart is working harder than it should. The average person should have a heart pace of 60-100 beats per minute. Meanwhile, a runner or an athlete will have a lower rate, rounding up to 40 minutes or so.
A lower heart rate is associated with a longer life expectancy, and regular workouts, be it running or aerobics, can lower it.
10. Better Productivity
Some studies carried out on employees claim that regular workout accounts for better productivity. The study tested days with running and days without any form of exercise. As it turns out, days with no running left the employees with less productivity and more stress. Meanwhile, days when they ran showed better productivity.
This may not apply to all people, but it’s been proven that running improves your focus and prevents brain fog. So, it’s always worth a try.
11. Better Calories Burning
If you persist in running long enough, your body will become a calorie-burning machine. You won’t only burn calories when exercising, but you’ll burn them while resting as well. That’s because running raises your metabolic rate, and keeps it raised for a lot of hours after you’re done, so your body keeps serving as a calorie-burning machine. A study was done to test that, and it turns out that 45 minutes of workout can keep your metabolic rate high for 14 resting hours.
12. Healthier Joints
Contrary to common misconceptions, running can actually get you healthier joints. Many people think that running harms your knees in the long run, but that’s not true—at least if you run correctly.
Scientists carried out a study to back up this fact, and it turns out that nearly 18% of non-runners develop arthritis at some point. The percentage goes down to 8.8% for runners, which means they have healthier joints.
These results are because running decreases cytokine levels, which is a protein that causes inflammation inside the knees. So, you have a better chance at healthier joints if you run a mile every day.
It’s worth noting, though, that runners who attempt to raise their mileage substantially can cause themselves injuries. It’s better to stay on the safe side and increase your capacity gradually until you’re ready to take on longer distances.
To Wrap Up
As you can see, the benefits of running a mile a day are invaluable. You get healthier joints, better sleep, and better cardiovascular health. Not to mention, you’ll burn a lot of calories and lose weight, which is definitely a bonus