Running is probably one of the oldest and most accessible forms of exercise. Anyone, young or old, can do it virtually anywhere. It doesn’t need sophisticated equipment or years to master. Plus, it comes with a wide range of health benefits, from reducing stress to weight loss.
That said, people are either running too often or not often enough. So, we turned to the experts for advice.
The first thing they all agreed on is that each person is unique in their training regimen. They also agreed that, on average, running 3 times a week will benefit people the most when it comes to their overall health
Keep reading to find out more.
The Benefits of Running 3 Times a Week
Since the dawn of time, running has been part of almost every athlete, either amateur or seasoned. It has multiple physical, mental, and emotional health benefits.
As with everything, moderation is key. Experts agree that three 30-minute runs a week are ideal to keep you fit without risking injuries.
Studies show that too much running over a long period can be bad for you, which is the exact opposite of what we want. So, we decided to listen to the experts.
To help get you motivated, we put together a list of the 10 major benefits of running 3 times a week.
1. Improve Memory
You probably didn’t think this would be the number one benefit of running, did you? We wanted to start with something unexpected! This goes to show you just how much running helps maintain both our physical and mental health.
So, what does running have to do with memory? Well, when you run, you engage the part of your brain responsible for storing memories.
Known as the hippocampus, it also plays a vital role in learning and emotional awareness. By running regularly, you boost your endurance and give your brain a nice workout in the process.
2. Shed Fat
Make a habit of running 3 times a week for 15 – 30 minutes and you’ll be amazed at the results! The science behind it is that regular runs give your metabolism a kick-start. Consequently, you keep burning fat for several hours after you’re done running.
It also speeds up the digestion process. The more you run, the more your body will use fat as its main power source.
Most runners find that they eat more once they start running more regularly. Yet, there’s no weight gain. Why? Because the carbs they eat are quickly burned off even before they’ve had a chance to get stored as fat cells.
So, here’s how it works: you eat right, you exercise, you burn fat. Experts call this fascinating process excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
EPOC mode can last from 15 minutes up to 48 hours! In other words, when done right, running can help you burn fat for up to two days straight!
3. Burn Calories
Calories are directly proportional to fat loss. So, the more fat you burn, the more calories you shed.
In a 30-minute run, you can burn anywhere between 200 and 500 calories. This may not seem like much in the beginning. Nevertheless, by running 3 times a week, you’ll start noticing the changes.
You’ll feel lighter and faster. The runs will no longer feel tiresome and your joints will complain less and less.
There’s a catch, however. For those calories to disappear, you have to put in the effort. Running by itself won’t get you those toned legs or sculpted abs. It has to be combined with strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Both these types of intense training workouts boost metabolism. So, you end up burning calories even when you’re not training.
4. Release Happy Hormones
Studies show that when we exercise for no less than 20 minutes, our brains release ‘feel-good’ hormones. When released, these chemicals find their way into our bloodstream. They can make us feel less anxious and more refreshed.
They also affect your mood, as well as reduce symptoms of anxiety and even depression. Whenever you’re feeling down or in a funk, put on some music and hit the treadmill.
If you can run outside at the park or on a trail, even better! Being outside in nature and feeling the warmth of the sun are triggers for the release of happy hormones. So, you’re getting double the benefits! How can you say no to that?
5. Support a Healthy Lifestyle
Running by itself won’t create a healthy lifestyle. Yet, combine it with a balanced diet and some quality sleep, and you’ll start to see positive changes
First, you’ll notice you’re looking slimmer. Combining a healthy diet with running 3 times a week is a foolproof way to lose weight and keep it off.
This means eating more vegetables, fresh fruits, and lean meat. It also means you have to cut back on sugary snacks, junk food, and soft drinks.
We know that changing your eating habits can be difficult at first. Remind yourself you’re doing it to stay healthy and live longer.
By changing your relationship with food for the better, you can find the joy of eating healthy. It won’t feel like punishment or something you’re forced to do! Given time, your brain will start to adapt to your new, healthy lifestyle.
Once you make running 3 times a week one of your weekly habits, everything will soon fall into place. So, give yourself anywhere between four to six weeks before you get on a scale or measure your waistline.
Thus, running is the final cog in the machine. It boosts both your mental and physical health while allowing you to enjoy a balanced and stable way of life.
6. Look and Feel Amazing
Running 3 times a week is a terrific way to get a lean, fit physique. Your legs, especially, will start to get a nice, sculpted look. Here’s why: when you run, your lower body works in unison.
For example, the hip flexors and calf muscles provide you with the stability and balance you need. Then, there’s the hamstrings and quads, which give you the power to do speed runs or go for long distances. The ankles and feet also become stronger and less likely to get injured.
It also helps boost cardiovascular health. The more you run, the more your heart rate goes up. This forces the lungs to pump out larger doses of oxygenated blood.
The cardiovascular system will be able to keep up with your intense, long-distance runs. You won’t be standing on the side of the road gasping for air. Instead, your aerobic capacity increases, along with your endurance and overall strength. This allows you to run longer, but with minimal recovery time.
7. Build Denser Bones
When you pummel the ground with your feet several times, you force your bones to adjust to the pressure. To be able to keep up, bones quickly adapt by becoming stronger and denser.
This has to be in conjunction with a low-fat, high-protein diet. Make sure you’re eating foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium.
Likewise, moderate exposure to sunlight plays a major role in enhancing bone strength. This is why many runners prefer running outside.
Another way runners boost bone density is via wearable weights. While some like strapping on ankle or wrist weights, the best accessory for runners is a weighted vest.
This added weight helps develop endurance and strength. It’s also a great way to become a stronger, faster runner.
8. Give You a Runner’s High
As we mentioned above, exercise triggers the brain to manufacture and release happy hormones. Endorphins are one specific group of hormones, in particular, stand out.
In the medical world, endorphins are known as the body’s natural sedatives. They reduce pain by acting on the opiate receptors in the brain.
Although, that’s not all they do! When you work out, these chemicals make you feel euphoric during your runs. Stress levels go down and feelings of pleasure go up.
This state of bliss is known as a runner’s high. You’ll start to feel it about 20 minutes into your run, and it can be pretty addictive.
Runner’s high is also responsible for clearing your head and seeing things in a more positive, hopeful light. As a result, your mental health gets a nice boost as well.
9. Improve Core Function
You probably don’t think of running as a full-body workout. After all, it’s just your legs that are doing all the work.
Yet, that’s not entirely true. Running is a complete training regime for your entire body. It boosts your endurance and stamina.
The core muscles support your weight and improve your stance and balance. The more frequently you run, the sooner you’ll start seeing results in your core and abdomen muscles.
That said, running by itself isn’t going to give you a sculpted six-pack. For that, you have to do resistance, or strength, training once or twice a week.
10. Accessible to Everyone
This is our favorite benefit of running! If you don’t need to have a pricey gym membership or own fancy exercise gear. You don’t even need a treadmill. Just find a safe place to run, get out there, and start hitting the pavement.
Not only is it free, but anyone can do it! It doesn’t have a steep learning curve. Nor does it require hours of long hours of exhausting training sessions.
The one thing we feel is essential for all runners is to invest in some sensible shoes. They’ll help protect your feet and ankles against sprains and injuries. In addition, a well-made pair of running shoes can improve your performance and make you a better runner.
Who Shouldn’t Run 3 Times a Week?
Despite all the health benefits, running isn’t without flaws. Like many workouts, there’s a chance you may overtrain. This can result in chronic pain or severe injuries.
Moreover, anyone suffering from predisposed joint issues shouldn’t run regularly. They should also never run on off-road terrain. The unevenness can cause further damage to ankle ligaments and knee cartilage.
If you do have joint problems, avoid running for long distances, especially on hard surfaces. Also, make sure you have suitable footwear with padded cushions to alleviate the stress. This goes for all your training, not just running.
Final Thoughts On Running 3 Times a Week
Running is a fast and effective way to shed stubborn fat, tone your body, and boost your overall well-being. Set up weekly goals to keep you motivated. By having something to strive towards, you get a sense of empowerment. Plus, it makes running that much more enjoyable.
More importantly, running 3 times a week helps carve a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle. Despite all our high-tech gadgetry, running remains to be one of the best ways to exercise your body and mind. So, start today and take advantage of all the perks running has to offer.