The Benefits of Running 5 Miles a Day

Natalie Cecconi
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Why Should I Start Running?

You love running!

Running is a sport that you just can’t get enough of. Whether you run short distance or long distance, whether you compete or just run for fun, running is your sport of choice. No matter how many miles you’ve run and how many races you’ve won – there is something about running that makes you want to go out and do it all over again. And that’s great news, but for now you want to know what else you can do to extend your running years.

Running is not only a great form of exercise but it also leads to a more physically and mentally healthy life. Regardless of your running experience and goals, there are many benefits of running that you should know. This article covers the top 6 benefits of running and includes illustrations and images to help keep the information simple and accessible.

Running improves health

Running can help you to live a longer and healthier life. It is a low-impact activity that puts less stress and strain on the body than other forms of exercise.

Improve Your Cardio Fitness

Running not only strengthens your muscles but also tones your stomach muscles and improves your cardiovascular health.

Overall, running can lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis by helping you lose weight. It also improves blood pressure, decreases blood glucose, reduces the risk of stroke, and can even increase your life expectancy.

With all of these benefits being available, you would think that anyone would want to do this, but there is one main reason why people hate running so much…

It’s really, really hard.

Well, this is the main reason why running can seem so much more difficult than it really is. You think of all of the things that could possibly go wrong, and it just makes it seem like such a hassle.

Improve Your Health

Running is a great way to maintain a healthy heart, keep your joints moving, and reduce your risk of diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Running even helps you to fight age-related cognitive decline.

Running 5 miles per day can help you burn calories at a steady rate, allowing you to slim down gently. Running is a faster and more efficient alternative to walking and jogging. It burns more calories and helps to fight obesity.

While running, the body releases natural chemicals that are beneficial to the brain, known as endorphins. These chemicals give a feeling of pleasure and energy. Hence, the more you run, the more endorphins you get, and the more your body wants to run. Running thus becomes a force that feeds on itself. This is why many people are able to run longer distances than they initially planned to.

The best part about running regularly is that you can do it anywhere. You don’t need to join a club, buy the right gear, or get expensive equipment to help you start running. A pair of sneakers and a good pair of running pants is enough. You can even run in your everyday clothes.

Burn Calories

When your workout routine involves exercise that is continuous in nature, such as running, you can burn more calories per minute than you can during other exercises, such as using a treadmill or an elliptical.

The calories you burn can really add up if you work out for an hour or longer and are interested in dropping excess body fat.

For example, if you weigh 200 pounds and are 15% body fat, you can burn up to 990 calories in an hour if you run a five-minute mile and weigh 200 pounds.

Also, running burns calories, plain and simple. So if you’re not tracking calories or running and you just run, you’re still burning off calories.

If you’re tracking calories and running, you’ll start to see a real variety of calorie numbers. This is because all the calories you burn off faster (exercise) get added to all the calories you burn off slower (resting).

For example, you may burn off 1,000 calories during your class but only burn off 300 calories doing the rest of your day.

Begin tracking your calories now using a calorie tracking app or a food journal.

Improve Your Daily Mood

During exercise, endorphins, which are naturally occurring neurotransmitters, are released into the blood stream. These endorphins can act as natural painkillers and ease any feelings of tension. The more intense your exercise, the greater the boost in endorphins. Running, in particular, has been shown to produce a huge boost.

If you suffer from mild levels of depression, regular endurance exercise can help you get out of it.

An even better idea is to combine the two (exercise and depression). Depression, especially the severe cases, can be treated using a combination of medication and therapy.

This treatment, often called a multidisciplinary approach, is routinely successful, especially if it is undertaken at an early stage.

Why Should I Run Five Miles a Day?

Running 5 miles a day is a breeze if you�re a seasoned runner. Beginners may find it quite a challenge, especially if they lack the proper training and preparation.

Here are some of the perks of running 5 miles a day.

Improves the cardiovascular system

Running consistently affects the heart and its ability to pump blood and oxygen through blood vessels at a higher capacity with less effort. On top of the improved heart function, the heart rate is also more regulated, which reduces the risk of heart disease.

Makes you a healthier person

Running 5 miles a day burns a significant amount of fat if done regularly. And since fat is stored calories and fat increases the risk of metabolic diseases, you are reducing the risk of life-threatening diseases. With less fat comes a smaller waistline. Exercise also helps you make healthier food choices.

A good appetite control

When you exercise regularly, it takes longer for your body to digest the food you ate due to the increased blood flow. Combined with the increased metabolism rate, this means you won’t have a voracious appetite.

Helps you sleep better

A good night’s rest is one of the most important benefits of running 5 miles a day. Increased blood circulation lowers stress level, which in turn helps lower blood pressure.

Challenging But Achievable Goal

Running 5 miles a day might seem like a challenging run, but it is definitely achievable. Believe it or not many people are able to complete the distance on a daily basis.

When you have decided to run 5 miles a day, there are going to be days when you don’t for one reason or another. You can make those excuses all you want, but if you truly want to increase your health and inspire others, overcome your excuses and get out there and run.

There was a point in my life when I was overweight. I was going through a lot of stress with my job, the hours I was working and my overall health. I decided it was time for a change. I joined a gym and began working out. I found a trainer who helped me with my diet and workout plan. After a few months, I lost around 30 pounds. I then decided to challenge myself and set the goal to work out five miles a day. This in addition to eating healthy foods, I lost an additional 30 pounds.

These were the best changes I have ever made to improve my health. You can do this too. The challenge of running five miles might seem daunting. All you have to do is get started. Once you have started, it will be easier to keep going and you might even find yourself looking forward to that running time each day. And be encouraged to know that so many people before you have done this and more.

Benchmark Distance for Runners

What is the best distance to run for a beginner? How long should I run each time?

Are you a beginner?

You shouldn’t concern yourself with questions like this until you have achieved some consistency. In other words, once you have reached the point where you are running 4 days a week, you are there.

Understand?

When you first begin to run, you need to determine where you stand, and get a base-level running program going. How do you know when you are ready to move on to longer distances?

The Typical Runners’ Question about 5 Miles per Week

Is it an Appropriate Distance?

That’s a common question among many beginners, and it’s a very legitimate question.

The answer is YES it is appropriate. Not only is it appropriate.

It’s Optimal in a number of ways.

The best reason I have found for why 5 miles is the optimum distance a runner should strive for is this:

If you plan to run at least 5 miles a week consistently, then you are someone who is most likely to reach your goals.

Why? Because most of us are not willing to do what it takes to reach our goals.

A Great Workout Without Being Too Long

There’s tons of great reasons why a good run is great for you:

You probably already know that running can make you feel happier, healthier, and more energetic. And it can definitely help you lose weight. But did you know it also helps improve your brain’s function? In the past few years, researchers have shown that just 30 minutes of running a day improves the brain’s structure and folds, especially in the areas that are linked to mood regulation and memory.

Apparently, the more you run, the better your brain’s connectedness.

Running can also help you beat stress, which is something that almost all of us can use more of. And it can decrease your risk of depression and anxiety. It’s true that distance running can be highly efficient for bringing up your mood.

Regular running also helps protect your heart and improve your cardiovascular health. And it’s a great way to lose weight, with health benefits that really kick in after just a month.

Will I Lose Weight Running Five Miles a Day?

The simple answer to this is yes, if you do not replace any of the extra calories you burn from running. In fact, you can eat a doughnut a day and lose weight if you run five miles every day, as long as you burn off the calories.

Many people find that running gives them a greater sense of well-being. The exhilaration after completing a training run is euphoric. The endorphins released by the body after a run help to relax the mind, release stress and boost the immune system. It is no wonder running has become so popular with more and more people joining marathons and half marathons.

However, initial enthusiasm soon wears off for many and they stop running. Unfortunately, they often start eating more calories and lose training. This is the time to make a real and lasting commitment to become a runner. Serious enthusiasts will have a training plan to follow.

A training plan will have key targets and factors to monitor for each session. A typical training plan will have key targets for distance and time. Typically, a beginner should be able to run three to five miles in 30 to 60 minutes. The plan should gradually progress towards the targets over a number of weeks or months.

A key target to monitor is the heart rate. Cardiovascular training is important for runners to build endurance and it keeps the heart healthy.

How Many Calories Will I Burn If I Run Five Miles?

While it’s commonly accepted that running will burn more calories than walking, the exact number can vary based on several factors.

An active person is going to burn more energy (read: fat) than one who has a more sedentary lifestyle.

The longer and faster you run, the more calories you will burn.

Your weight comes into play. If you’re heavier, you’ll burn more calories than someone who is lighter.

The type of running also makes a difference. Running uphill will burn more calories than flat land running.

To put a number on it, let’s say you weigh 150 pounds, are very active, run five miles and have a moderate pace; you will burn 466-586 calories in that time. If your pace is quicker, you’ll burn more calories. If you weigh 100 pounds, you’ll burn approximately 330 calories in the same amount of time.

To calculate the number of calories burned doing your favorite type of physical activity, use this handy calculator.

How Do I Start Running Five Miles a Day?

If you can already run five miles at one time, running five miles a day is a piece of cake for you. For others who just started, this may seem quite difficult.

If you can walk five miles at one time without feeling worn out, you can manage to walk that same distance comfortably daily.

This way, you’ll run five miles in no time.

Also, you should remember that it’s better to walk for 10 minutes, three times a day than running five miles once a day.

If you’re planning to run five miles a day, consult your doctor first for a physical check-up. There’s a chance that you may be able to skip the check-up if you’re a very active person who already exercises quite often, or are pretty healthy, or are taking other medications in place of a check-up.

Next, you should start running five miles a day gradually. Start by adding a mile or two to your regular running route every day or two.

If you allow yourself to adjust to the increased distance, you’ll find it a lot easier to work up to your goal of running five miles a day.

Build Up Mileage Slowly

If you are a beginner, aim to run five miles at first. Be patient and be consistent. Work up to it gradually. If you go from zero to five miles every day, you are not going to have a good time!

Instead, run at least five miles every week for several weeks before stepping on the gas. You will also want to work on your form, breathing, and speed before you take on the ultra marathon distance.

The best way to do this is to run at least three days a week, mixing in a variety of distances, and running on a variety of terrain.

Running on varied terrain will help strengthen your ankles, improve your endurance, build your speed, and almost inevitably improve your running technique.

Run/Walk as Needed

While I’m not a huge fan of running, and most people don’t actually enjoy it and actually do it because it’s good for you, I’ve come up with a way to enjoy running.

I run for 5 minutes, and I walk for 5 minutes. It’s a great alternative to actual running. You get all the exercise of actually running, but you don’t have the risk of injury because you’re walking more often.

I like to think that I run when I feel like it or when I’m happy and want to chase after someone or something. I walk when I am tired or when I’m bored or angry or sad. So, that’s why I run/walk for protein.

If you’re interested in increasing your protein intake through running, that’s a great alternative to actually running. Run/walking is a great remedy to combat boredom and stress or for muscle gain if you’re in a weight loss or calorie-reduction program.

Why? Because you can go as slow as you want. You can take one minute of rest for every three minutes of running and it will still be effective.

Run at a Comfortable Pace

If you could set one goal for your fitness success, you would want it to be something you can achieve and maintain in the long haul.

Since you won’t be building endurance for a race but instead creating a new lifestyle, it’s more important to think about being healthy over being fast.

5 miles per day is achievable for anyone. Whether you are a couch potato or a seasoned athlete, it is a great goal to get started with.

You don’t need awful weather, a large amount of free time, or any special equipment to get started. You only need some willpower and the right advice to lead you down the right path.

Running is considered to be one of the best fat burning exercises around. It’s perfect for weight loss and for optimal cardiovascular health.

Unlike other forms of exercise, running uses all of the major muscle groups in your body to perform simple motions over and over again. It increases your body’s efficiency and helps it get the most amount of energy from your fuel source, whether it’s fat or carbohydrates.

If you are eating the standard diet you find many people eating in the Western world today, you are very likely to be making your body work twice.

Do a Good Warm-Up

When it comes to your workouts, a proper warm-up is more important than you might think.

For shorter runs, a good warm-up is deeper than a casual jog.

As far as intensity goes, your goal should be to raise your body temperature a bit and increase your heart rate to the maximum of 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. That means you should raise your heart rate to about 120 beats per minute by running at 60 percent of your max.

Your warm-up should also prepare you for the specific movements you’ll be doing in your run. If you’re doing some running plyometric drills, then you’ll want to increase your body temperature and get your heart rate up, but you won’t want to overdo it.

The same article from the New York Road Runners also recommends doing cooldown stretches after your run. These are your last exercises to ready your body for the day. A good cooldown should be easier than your warm-up.

The bottom line is that stretching and warming up are your friend. You can run more consistently and avoid injuries and aches and pains if you build them into your workout routine.

How Do I Make Running a Habit?

Think of your new running habit as a business and you will be successful as 75 percent of all new businesses fail within 24 months. The reason 75 percent fail is because people do not plan for success, there is no business plan involved. With out a business plan your new business will fail.

Plan to be successful and you will be successful. The most important part of my plan to be successful with running was to make it a habit.

Lets look at how to make your running habit successful:

Schedule your running habit for another day.

Set a time limit for the habit creation phase.

Set a goal that is easily accomplishable and maintainable.

Set small achievable goals.

Set a time schedule for how long you are going to run.

Do something every day that will lead you to be a runner. Example: wear running clothes, set out running shoes.

Visualize yourself enjoying yourself when your mind starts thinking negatively.

Start to use naturally occurring thoughts to turn them around to positive results.

Make yourself aware of negative thoughts. In reality, it is usually not that bad. Listen to how you talk to yourself.

Remove negative thoughts when they pop up.

Schedule It Into Your Day

Scheduling workout time on your calendar is the best way to help you keep up with it.

Since people tend to value the appointments they put on the calendar, they feel compelled to stay on track. And if you can’t stay on track, the importance of the meeting can give you the motivation to work on those days where you don’t feel like working out.

As far as going to the gym goes, I do understand the appeal of convenience.

You can drop in, get your work done, and generally avoid the hassle of dealing with traffic or inclement weather. But there are a few problems with this line of thinking.

The first is the whole issue of convenience. Is it really convenient to spend extra time driving and find a parking spot at the gym?

When you consider all that extra time, it becomes pretty obvious that it isn’t that convenient at all. Working out at the gym is actually quite a hassle.

If the gym is really inconvenient for you, then get a gym membership with a dedicated workout schedule.

Usually, these types of gyms are not open 24/7. Instead, their doors are locked when no one is there, and you have to schedule your work out ahead of time.

Don’t Worry About Missing a Day

If you read my message below, you caught me with my pants down. I’d skipped Monday, so I was running five days behind. Yesterday, I had to run four miles. How was I going to make up that one missed week? I decided to go with the flow.

My original run schedule hadn’t left me with two days to work with, so I said to myself: “You have five runs to do, regardless of how you do the work.” I could do five miles Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday plus a two-mile run on Tuesday or Thursday. There was a full day of rest and then my weekend.

I love it when my body gets caught up. It’s a sign that I’m doing more right than I am wrong. When your body is responding, you’ll start to feel like you’re on top of your game again.

Here’s my point. If you miss a day running, just keep on with the five-day schedule. You’ll be back on track in no time.

Keep a Running Log

If you just go out and run, there are a lot of questions you might have about your session. Did you go the right distance? How fast did you run? How many calories did you burn?

Those questions can be hard to answer if you don’t keep track of things when you’re in the middle of a workout.

If you’re just starting to get into fitness, tracking your runs is a great way to keep motivated and to see if you’re improving your times or speed over time.

Most of the apps and fitness trackers can be synced to a computer to help you keep track of your runs. If you’re not buying a new device, download an app that can help you keep a running log.

Even if you’re not timing your workouts, you can start off by recording the distance and maybe your pace or heart rate so you have your first sets of data. The cool thing about keeping a running log is that it lets you have the historical data you need to see if you’re improving and to help you set the right goals.

Sign Up For a Goal Race

If you like the idea of running a race, sign up for a race that’s at least eight weeks away. That’s enough time to get yourself in good enough shape to tackle a 5K (3.1 mile) race.

If you aren’t the competitive type, sign up for the race for the sense of accomplishment, strength, and the joy of crossing a finish line.

Final Thoughts

For Americans, running is firmly within the province of the gym. It’s something you do on a treadmill … if you do it at all … and potentially even as part of a class. But to the rest of the world, running is much more of a staple.

The fact that the health benefits. You have no more excuses to give for not running.

So take it slow, and figure out a pace that you can’t help but maintain.

Reward Yourself!

Set a goal time to run 5 miles in 30 minutes or less, and reward yourself upon completion.

Setting a concrete goal like this creates a sharp focus from the very beginning, which helps you get moving.

Along the way, make your reward something that makes it even more enjoyable to go the distance.

These are just some of the possible ways to make 5 miles easier to cover each day.

Take the first steps towards your goal.

What’s the easiest way for you to get started running?

What is it that motivates you?

Using fun and humor goes a long way in changing the way you look at your health.