The benefits of exercise have been widely studied. From weight loss to improved memory, getting your body moving daily can bring fantastic results.
Running is an effective form of cardiovascular exercise that has all the benefits of other types of exercise. Running two miles a day is enough to reap the rewards of cardiovascular exercise, without any of the drawbacks of too much running.
Fat Loss and Weight Maintenance
Running is an excellent way to lose fat or maintain your current healthy body fat percentage. It's a pretty demanding activity and so it burns a lot of calories -- typically about 100 calories every 10 minutes, depending on your weight and how fast you run.
Running two miles a day will help you burn about 200 calories, which can help you lose a pound of fat in a little over two weeks if your diet remains consistent. Combining 2-mile daily runs with a reduced-calorie diet can help you lose weight even faster.
Muscle and Bone Strength
Running is a weight-bearing exercise. Your body has to work against gravity to propel you forward. To adapt to the challenge, your bones and muscles get stronger. More muscle mass improves your quality of life, increases your metabolism and can even help you beat illness, according to an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Building bone strength helps counteract the natural bone loss that occurs after age 35. It also helps protect you against osteoporosis and arthritis.
A study published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that running even 5 or 10 minutes a day significantly lowered the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and all other causes in 55,137 adults, 18 to 100 years of age over a period of 15 years.
In another study, published in American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that joggers lived longer than non-joggers over a 35-year-period of study. On average, female joggers lived 5.6 years longer than female non-joggers, and male joggers lived 6.2 years longer than male non-joggers.
You've probably heard of "runner's high." It's that feeling of elation runners get on the trail, track or treadmill due to endorphins released in the brain during exercise. Running 2 miles a day can help lift your mood and give you a more positive outlook on life.
Doing something good for yourself each day, like taking time out for a run, can make you feel more accomplished and increase feelings of self-worth. Setting and achieving small goals, such as running two miles in under 20 minutes can reinforce your ability to achieve what you set out to do.
- Canadian Medical Association Journal: Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: The underappreciated role of muscle in health and disease
- Life Extension: The Importance of Bone Health
- Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk
- American Journal of Epidemiology: Longevity in Male and Female Joggers: The Copenhagen City Heart Study
- ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal: Is Exercise a Viable Treatment for Depression?
- Harvard Health Publications: Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills
- The New York Times: Yes, Running Can Make You High