Can Running Every Day Make You Fit?

Running every day will make you fit, but it could also lead to injury. [Varying your routine](https://www.livestrong.com/article/195318-high-knee-exercises/) and taking days off from running will help you get fit and stay healthy. Learning more about running will help you make wise decisions about your health.
Running has many health benefits. (Image: Chris Tobin/DigitalVision/GettyImages)

Tip

Running increases your aerobic capacity. Enhancing this measure of fitness will improve your circulation and your flexibility. It will also help you better recover from exercise, according to a June 2017 article from the American Council on Exercise.

Benefits of Running

Running benefits for the body include gaining muscle mass and losing body fat. The authors of an August 2014 paper in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism had 15 women run on a treadmill every other day for six weeks. Doing this exercise increased muscle mass 1.3 percent and decreased body fat 8 percent. It also increased their aerobic capacity and running speed.

Running also improves your mental health. The writers of a December 2012 report in the Journal of Adolescent Health tested 51 teenagers and showed that 30 minutes of daily running improved concentration and mood in a few weeks. These positive effects have clinical utility, according to a June 2018 article in BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine. Running twice a week for 12 weeks improved the mental health of 46 patients with mood disorders.

Most importantly, the authors of an August 2014 paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology studied thousands of cases and found that runners had a much lower risk of dying. These researchers showed that runners were 30 percent less likely to die than non-runners during a 15-year period. Interestingly, running slowly for only a few minutes a day can decrease your risk of mortality.

Risks of Running Every Day

The authors of a July-August 2012 article in Current Sports Medicine Reports stressed doing just the right amount of running. If you don't run enough, you won't increase your aerobic capacity. If you run too much, you might sustain an acute injury. Running increases your risk of having a heart attack — especially in people just starting to train. Annually, more than 7 million people have to seek medical attention for an exercise-related injury.

Running every day also puts you at risk for chronic injuries like iliotibial band syndrome, Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis. Identifying the risk factors for these overuse injuries can help you prevent them, according a September 2017 review in the Montenegrin Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. These risk factors include having excess ground reaction forces, too much foot pronation or an internal hip rotation.

Your past injury history and your weekly distance are the best predictors of injury, according to an August 2014 review in Sports Medicine. If you have a history of injuries, take extra precautions. Working with a physical therapist or personal trainer can help you find anatomical issues and improper form.

Decreasing your work load can also help you avoid injury. Hypergravity training offers you an easy way to reach this goal. Walking with a weight vest increases the intensity of your workout, but it adds very little additional burden to your ligaments and tendons. Stay vigilant for a serious injury, and seek medical attention when you get hurt.

How Much Should You Run?

The authors of a May 2019 report from the Mayo Clinic recommended doing 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week for most health women and men. It's wise to allow sufficient time to recover in between bouts of intense exercise to prevent injury and avoid burnout. Putting a 48-hour break between sessions should give you enough time to recover.

Thus, running every other day for 40 minutes at a moderate intensity offers you a great way to get fit. Doing this routine will also lower your injury risk. However, being healthy means doing more than just running. According to the American Council on Exercise, you also need to do resistance and mobility training. You can catch up on these activities on your days away from running.

You shouldn't neglect your diet either. The writers of an August 2016 report in the Journal of Physiology suggested combining exercise and diet to fight disease and slow aging. They believe that the exercise-diet combination can also improve cognitive abilities like learning and memory.

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