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Is Running The Best Exercise (Yes But Only If You Enjoy It)

When it comes to “is running the best exercise”, I’m biased. Lacing up my running shoes and heading out the door is my favorite time of the day.

Granted it doesn’t always feel like the best time, at least not until I’m a mile or two into my run. When I’ve warmed up and got into a rhythm. Yet if I miss this little bit of me-time, I’m grouchy by the end of the day.

Running helps me sleep at night, puts problems in perspective, and keeps the weight off. I’ve made solid friendships through running and explored places I’d only dreamed of. Yet I’m the first to accept it’s not for everyone.

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why running is the best exercise

Running Is The Best Exercise If You Enjoy It

I think everyone hates running when they first start. It’s just so hard!

It takes a while to get your breathing right. To build up those running muscles instead of everything hurting all the time. To run at the right pace, with good form so you move forward effortlessly.

(If you’re a beginner runner reading this – please believe me – running can start to feel easy!)

So if your starting to run for the first time, you need to think “Am I prepared to put the work in?” Some of you may be hooked on the first run, but for others, it’s going to take a few weeks of hard slog before you start to enjoy the results.

If you’re not prepared for this, it’s better to pick an exercise that suits you. The “which is the best exercise” argument is meaningless unless it’s something you can commit to.

You need to find your thing. It could be salsa, cycling, working out in the gym, open water swimming, tennis, climbing – there are so many different sports to choose from.

Okay, some might be better than others for burning calories but all forms of exercise are better than excitedly buying your first pair of running shoes, going out for one run, hating it, and returning to the couch

Benefits of running

From catching up with friends to losing inches, these are some of the best reasons to run:

Running will help you live longer

In most people’s books, this has got to be a good reason to run. A study of runners of middle to older age groups over a 21 year period found they lived longer than non-active peers and had fewer disabilities in later life.

You can run anywhere, anytime

Running is an easy option to exercise. Just lace up those shoes and away you go. There’s no driving to the gym or booking a squash court. If you have half an hour to spare, you can always squeeze in a run.

You can run in the rain, heat or snow. Severe weather and unsafe streets are best avoided, but the rest of the time, running is the best way to exercise.

It’s A Great Way To Burn Calories

Want to lose inches off your waist? Give running a try! Compared with the gym and most other types of exercise, running burns a huge amount of calories.

The amount of calories you burn relate to your weight, running intensity and efficiency. In general, 100 calories per mile is a good rule of thumb but you can calculate more accurate results here.

Follow my plan for running for weight loss to make sure you continue to burn calories as your weight drops and your running efficiency starts to improve.

Running is the best mood booster

The runner’s high is a real thing not just a mythical invention. Running will get your body pumping out endocannabinoids boosting your mood and reducing anxiety.

Runner’s Have Envious Bodies

I’m not saying running will make you look like a model but running will change your body. Most of these changes are good.

If you’re aiming for a perfect gym body, by all means, add some strength training to your regular routine. Running may leave you with weedy arms but you’ll have an envious butt.

It’s affordable

Running can be the most accessible form of exercise. You don’t need a ton of equipment, just a pair of running shoes and clothing you can move in.

Of course, just like any sport, you can choose to splash the cash. Top of the range trainers, expensive race entries… but if you’re on a budget, running is a good way to start exercising.


These are my top picks for why running is good for you. Is running the best exercise? Yes, but only if you build a regular running habit. Just accept it’s not the only way to exercise. It’s better to try out different activities and find something you love…

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is running the best exercise?

Running is one of the best types of exercise for burning calories and losing weight. Most people will burn 100 calories a mile. There are no guarantees you will lose weight through running – it’s still important to eat a healthy balanced diet if you want to lose weight. Running is easily accessible for most people – you just need a pair of running shoes, it’s a good mood booster, excellent for good cardio and you can run just about anywhere, anytime.

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