If you make a habit of hitting the pavement (or the treadmill), it's normal to begin to crave the calm, relaxed feeling that you get when you finish a tough run. While running is a fantastic exercise that can boost your health and help you feel great, there are some things you'll want to consider before you set a schedule of running every day.
Maximum workout time per day: What's the limit?
While there's no upper limit on the amount of exercise you do each day, it's important to know your body and make appropriate decisions for your fitness level. If you're just getting started with running, checking in with your doctor to learn more about your starting point can give you an idea of how hard you'll want to push each day.
Slow and steady wins the race (literally) when it comes to building a daily running habit. If you've decided that you want to run every day, and you aren't already in the habit of regular running, it's a good idea to start small. Running a mile--or even half a mile--on a daily basis can help you build up a solid foundation that will prepare you to run longer distances.
If you decide that you're going to run every day, every workout should not be an all-out, 100% effort sprint. Following a running plan that offers both challenging days and easy run days can help you pace yourself so that you're able to keep up with your daily runs without succumbing to injury (more on that shortly).
Physical benefits of running
Running can go a long way in boosting your physical and mental health. Give yourself time to notice the benefits of your daily runs--checking in with how you're feeling once a month or so can help you notice positive changes from your new habit.
- Cardiovascular health boost: When you get started with running, you'll notice that your chest and lungs have to work hard to carry you just a few blocks. Over time, your cardiovascular system will become stronger and more efficient, allowing you to run for the same distance at the same pace while expending a lower amount of energy.
- Stress reduction: Stress isn't just a mental issue--it's also physical. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your bodily systems, and getting out for regular runs can help provide your mind with the support it needs to lessen the physical effects of stress on the body. Running can lower your body's stress hormone--cortisol--which can help you experience less anxiety, get better sleep, and experience a lower resting heart rate.
- Improved muscular strength: While your body doesn't look like a dumbbell, carrying yourself on two legs is hard work. When you're running, your body isn't just absorbing the shock that you feel each time your foot hits the ground. Your quads are working to pick your foot back up, your hamstrings are working to draw your foot back, your arms are powering you forward, and your core and back are working to stabilize your body throughout the process. If you really want to maximize the muscular strength benefits of running, add hill training to your routine once a week.
What are the benefits of running every day?
If you're ready to make a serious commitment, penciling a run into your schedule every day can offer myriad health benefits, including:
- Lower risk of cancer
- Lower risk of neurological disease (like Parkinson's disease)
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
- Lower risk of dying from a cardiac event or stroke
- Increased lifespan
- Improved sleep
- Enhanced mood
- Enhanced concentration
Creating a new habit
When you're running every day, you aren't just giving your body physical benefits--you're also creating a new habit. While the endorphins you can expect after your run will be enough to get you going once your new habit is established, setting a solid routine can help you get consistent. Planning when you're going to run, knowing your route, and having your clothes and shoes prepared the night before you head out for a run can help knock out excuses that make it easy to skip out.
While running every day can carry many benefits, it's also important to be aware of the risk of injury that comes with a serious increase in movement. Overuse injuries are common in people who run every day. Recovery from an overuse injury can set you on the sidelines for weeks, so it's important to give your body a chance to relax if you're beginning to feel joint pain, extreme soreness, shin splints, or muscle fatigue that doesn't go away within a few minutes.
Rest days: When it's time to take a break
When it comes to running, it's possible to have too much of a good thing. There's nothing wrong with taking a rest day. You may even want to schedule rest days into your new habit--for example, taking a rest day on the last day of each month, or on one day each week. This doesn't mean you can't get your blood pumping--a brisk walk can provide many of the benefits of your regular run while also giving your body a chance to relax.
- You've noticed that your once-improved sleep has taken a hit
- You're no longer excited to get out for your run
- You're experiencing an illness
- You're experiencing mood swings
- Your muscle soreness is interfering with your ability to perform normal daily tasks (like going up the stairs)
As we mentioned, listening to your body is key when you decide to run every day. Pay attention to changes. Keeping a note of how you feel on each run can be helpful, as it allows you to look for trends over time.
Take charge of your health with Evidation
When you're working hard to boost your health, it's important to understand the health data that can help you make the most out of your hard work. Download the Evidation app today to start tracking your health data.