There are so many benefits of running a mile a day. Regardless of your reason for getting started, the body and mind receive incredible benefits from consistently running a mile, without having to deal with the risks that are associated with higher mileage or more intense workouts.
What does running a mile do for your body?
Running a mile without stopping might be a far-off goal for some, while for others it doesn’t seem like much. However, regardless of your current fitness level, running a mile actually does quite a bit for the body.
Check out just some of the benefits of running a mile.
- Burns calories
- Helps strengthen the heart and lungs
- Mood-boosting rush of endorphins
- Strengthens the muscles
- Motivates you to try again
Are there health benefits of running a mile?
Aside from simply improving your fitness or helping you hit your goals, there are a number of health benefits that come from running a mile. Running itself is a great way to improve your overall health, and here are some of the specific ways in which running even a mile has been proven to do so.
- Boosts the strength of the immune system
- Lowers risk for many chronic illnesses
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Improves muscle strength and bone density
- Increases cardiovascular capacity
If running one mile has the potential to improve physical and mental health so drastically, imagine all of the benefits that can result from running a mile every day.
16 Benefits of Running a Mile a Day
Running a mile a day results in so many benefits for your health, physical well-being, mind, mood, motivation and more. The simple act of incorporating physical activity each and every day can help reframe your mindset and motivate you to make other healthy changes.
Here are some of the most profound benefits of running a mile a day – and the top reasons why you should consider giving it a try.
Helps maintain a healthy weight
Running is a form of exercise – regardless of how slow or fast you go. It is estimated that running a mile burns around 100 calories for the average person, give or take some depending on body shape, size and speed.
Consistently running a mile every day increases your calorie burn by about 100 calories per day. While this calorie burn might not sound like much at one time, over time it can really add up. Completing this aerobic activity every single day can help maintain or achieve a healthy weight over time.
Reduces stress levels
Much like all other forms of physical activity, running acts as a great stress-reliever. The act itself encourages a release of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that result in that notorious “runners’ high”.
Endorphins, combined with uninterrupted time each day and the release of sweat, can help control anger, stress and other negative emotions. According to Harvard Health, exercise also helps reduce levels of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
Boosts mood to help prevent depression
Just as running a mile a day has the potential to reduce stress levels, it has also been shown to help prevent or reduce depression. Endorphins have a powerful effect on the brain, and when they occur consistently every single day, they can actually begin to change the makeup of your brain and thoughts.
The Mayo Clinic refers to exercise as “meditation in motion” – a surefire way to help shed your daily tensions.
Increases the strength and function of the immune system
Running, along with other forms of exercise, have the potential to boost the strength of the immune system when completed on a regular basis. The activity strengthens the heart, muscles, bones, joints, arteries, mind and more to improve your body’s overall function and strength when fighting against illnesses such as the common cold.
In addition, exercise such as running, can help increase the circulation of cells that fight off infections and protect the body from illness.
Supports healthy blood pressure and cholesterol
Daily exercise and physical activity have been shown to help maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Running a mile every day is a great way to meet the daily aerobic requirement and prevent an increase in blood pressure or cholesterol.
May reduce the risk of chronic illness and cancers
Simply put, running a mile a day is a great way to improve your overall health. Improving your overall health helps lessen your risk of developing many chronic illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. According to the CDC, daily exercise such as running is a great way to help reduce your risk for chronic health conditions.
Daily dose of endorphins
Running a mile provides many physical health benefits, but it also just seems to make people happier. Fitting in that mile every single day means that you’ll have a daily dose of endorphins, a mood-boosting chemical that leaves most runners on a “high” that can sometimes last for hours.
Has been shown to help improve memory and cognitive function
It might sound too good to be true, but many studies are finding that runners who get moving consistently actually have the potential to improve their memory and overall cognitive function. In an article from the American Physiological Society, exercise was found to profoundly change the brain in a positive way. Running a mile, repeated consistently over time, could help boost your brain power.
Can be completed anywhere, for free!
Most other forms of exercise have the potential to provide similar health benefits, but many of them can’t be completed anywhere, at any time, and for no cost.
One of the specific benefits of running a mile a day is that it is accessible to anyone, in any place and at any time. You can fit in your mile during bad weather, when traveling, and without cost.
Strengthens bones and joints
People used to speculate that running might be harmful for the joints, especially the knees – but luckily, this has been proven not to be true, time and time again. In fact, studies have shown just the opposite – the repeated act of running can actually help improve bone density and strengthen joints throughout the body.
Encourages other healthy habits
Committing to running a mile a day is a great way to hold yourself accountable for completing a healthy habit every single day. While it might be hard to stay motivated at first, most runners find that once they settle into the routine, running a mile a day begins to feel natural and normal.
As you start to feel better over time, running your daily mile might then motivate you to make other healthy changes as well. You might discover that you are suddenly eager to make healthy changes to your diet, to wake up early, or prioritize other forms of self-care.
Keeps you motivated and accountable
Once you start experiencing the benefits of running a mile a day, it’s likely that you’ll be even more motivated to continue. Before long, it won’t take much to motivate yourself to get out the door and complete that daily mile. The longer you stick with it, the easier it will be to stay accountable even when no one is watching or keeping track.
Daily aerobic activity regardless of circumstances
Deciding to run a mile every day means that you’ll be physically active at least once throughout the day. On days when you might otherwise be sedentary, this obligation can be a great way to break up the day and help ensure you hit that daily requirement for aerobic activity.
Sticking to running a mile every day even when traveling, during long work days, when the weather is bad, or when you’ve had a bad day means that you’re always bound to fit in some exercise.
Doesn’t require a lot of time
Even for the slowest runners, completing a mile won’t take much time out of the day. Running a mile may take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes depending on your pace, which isn’t too much time to account for each day. Even on the busiest days, you’ll be able to wake up slightly earlier, run during a lunch break, or squeeze in that mile between meetings without throwing off the rest of your day.
Avoids risks associated with overtraining and high mileage
Long distance runners and those training for a specific goal often find themselves battling injuries or burnout as their mileage and intensity increases. Running a mile a day, on the other hand, will keep you consistent without setting you up for potentially having to deal with these issues.
Repeating a mile every single day still allows for plenty of recovery time, for both the mind and body.
Encourages time outdoors
Many runners find that their run is the only opportunity they have to spend time outside and in nature every day. When you’re otherwise stuck inside with family or work responsibilities, taking a break to run outside can do wonders for the mood.
Running a mile a day will help you experience all of the seasons, encourage you to pause and get some fresh air, and help provide a dose of vitamin D when the sun is shining.
Committing to running a mile a day might not sound like a lot all at once, but this action repeated consistently over time will help strengthen your mind and body. The benefits begin to add up, leading to even more positive changes as time passes.
Just about everyone will feel better if they decide to run a mile a day – so why not give it a try? With so many benefits, it’s worth taking on the challenge to see what all your body and mind can accomplish.