Whether you don’t have access to gym equipment like dumbbells right now or just ~need~ a break from everyday life and looking for a form of solo exercise, there has never been a better time to set a running goal, like running a mile a day.
As long as you have a pair of sneakers and a safe place to put one foot in front of the other, you’re only minutes from basking in all the endorphins (and hopefully the sun) that accompany a good race.
Even if running was never your thing, working towards a daily kilometer is quite feasible. “Most people, including children, could run or walk safely a mile a day with little to no risk of injury,” said Steve Stonehouse, CPT, USATF trainer and director of education for STRIDE. (Yes, walking breaks are totally acceptable, guys!)
Even seasoned runners should consider running a mile every day. “If you already have a regular running routine, increasing your daily runs could also improve your endurance and mood,” adds Rebecca Kennedy, CPT, Platoon Master Tread Instructor.
So if you needed a little extra help to get moving, that’s it. But before setting this daily reminder to go out and record this kilometer, it are a few things the pros want you to keep in mind.
First, what are the benefits of running a mile a day?
As long as you do it safely (more info soon), running a mile a day is a great way to support your overall health and fitness.
“You get all the benefits of running in general, like supporting cardiorespiratory fitness and bone health, without the volume of mileage that can potentially cause injury,” says Stonehouse.
It’s also a great way to ensure you spend time outdoors every day – and exercising outdoors has been shown to have greater psychological benefits, such as a boosted mood and a feeling of calm, that sweating inside, according to research from the American Psychological Association. (If you record your mile on a tread, however, even watching nature scenes on a screen improves the happiness-inducing effect of your run, found a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.)
Can you lose weight by running a mile a day?
The average 150-pound person burns about 370 calories in 30 minutes of running at a rate of 10 minutes / mile, according to Harvard Medical School. Run a mile at this pace and you will burn approximately 123 calories.
Although it is definitely Something, this will probably not allow you to progress towards your long-term goals. “Your body is an incredibly adaptive machine and will adapt to the constraints of running a mile a day fairly quickly,” says Stonehouse.
If weight loss is your ultimate goal, you will want to focus on training that helps you burn fat effectively and to build up muscle. This is why, in the end, running a mile a day won’t do much to move the needle toward your long-term weight loss goals; it just doesn’t burn enough calories. (Need some inspiration? Try one of these best calorie-burning exercises instead.)
Will running a mile a day build muscle?
While recording one kilometer a day can be a great way to get active and support your health and fitness goals, whether or not it supports muscle growth, How? ‘Or’ What you run it.
“Low intensity cardio does not lead to muscle gain like hypertrophy,” says Kennedy. If you run a mile at an easier or more moderate pace, you rely on Type I muscle fibers (a.k.a. slow-twitch), which support endurance exercise. (Imagine a marathon runner.)
However, “sprinting is a great way to focus on muscle gain,” says Kennedy. The sprint recruits more muscle fibers, especially type II muscle fibers (a.k.a. fast-twitch), which support energy production.
A foolproof way to build muscle? This training without equipment sculpts your lower body from home:
That said, sprinting just a total of one mile a day is probably not enough to make any noticeable muscle gains, says Kennedy. “To really gain muscle, you have to lift weights, eat enough to help break down muscle tissue and protein synthesis, and get adequate recovery.”
In the end, can sprints support your progress? Totally. But will they do the work alone? Not really.
What if I run a mile a day … if I’m not already a runner?
Before you promise to lace up your running shoes seven days a week, think about this: “If you don’t run regularly and start running every day, the sharp increase in stress and impact puts pressure on your joints and ligaments. It could lead to potential injury, “says Kennedy. So, if you don’t have an active running routine, start with just one day of running per week and work out yourself for several weeks every day, she recommends.
Yet “running every day is not for everyone, just as the lifting of power every day is not recommended,” said Kennedy. So don’t feel like you haven’t tried running a mile a day that you miss. There are many other ways to reap similar benefits.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that, although you can totally develop a tolerance for daily errands, changing the way you move every day can keep you cool, both in your mind and body .
But if you do decide to get started, these are the best ways to add running a mile a day to your fitness routine.
Kennedy says his ideal way to incorporate a mile run into daily exercise is as a finisher. “It’s an amazing way to feel accomplished at the end of a workout,” she says. Whatever gas you have left in the tank, burn it in that kilometer.
Or, if you take your daily mile at an easier pace, it also works well as a warm-up.
The bottom line: running a mile a day can support your overall fitness and cardiovascular health, but don’t expect it to build important muscles or eliminate the need for other types of exercise.