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Running 20 Minutes A Day: Health Benefits And Tips To Get Started

You don’t need to be a marathon runner to reap the benefits of running and improve your overall health. In fact, you don’t even need to run very far or very fast. Just 20 minutes of running or jogging every day can have a profound impact on your health, both physically and mentally. When it comes to cardiovascular health running is one of the best forms of exercise.

running 20 minutes a day

Jogging Or Running 20 Minutes A Day

Here are 8 reasons why you should consider adding daily jogging or running to your routine.

Related post: What is the difference between jogging and running?

#1 Jogging is great for your mental health. 

If I’m having a bad day, getting out for a run makes all the difference. Jogging has been shown to reduce stress, ease anxiety, and improve moods. It’s one of the many health benefits of running. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or down in the dumps and need to relieve stress, a quick run can do wonders for your mental state

#2 Running is an excellent form of aerobic exercise. 

Aerobic exercise is any physical activity that gets your heart rate up and makes you breathe harder. When you run, your body requires more oxygen, so your breathing and heart rate increase. This type of exercise routine strengthens your heart and lungs and has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and high blood pressure. 

#3 Running can help you reach your weight loss goal. 

If you’re trying to lose body weight, running for weight loss can be a great way to help burn calories. Just 20 minutes of daily jogging can burn around 100 calories. The faster you run, the more calories you’ll burn. Some people will run 2 miles in 20 minutes and burn around 200 calories.

Just make sure you combine jogging with a healthy eating plan. It’s all too easy to treat yourself to a sugary high-fat treat after a run and undo all the good work!

#4 Running 20 minutes a day can help reduce body fat. 

It’s a bit of an oversimplification but weight loss is mainly about calories in versus calories out. Run for 20 minutes and you’ll cover about 2 miles burning approximately 200 calories. Aim to create a calorie deficit and lose body fat by burning more calories than you consume.

You could do this just by following a healthy diet and when it comes to weight loss, what you eat is the main contributor to losing weight.

So is diet more important than exercise for losing weight? Yes and no.

If you lose weight through dieting alone, you’re more likely to lose muscle along with body fat. But, when you add running 20 minutes a day (or other forms of exercise) into the mix, you’re more likely to maintain or even improve your muscle mass. Running is great for building strong leg muscles and you’ll love your new runner’s body!

Why is this important? Apart from all the benefits of good muscle mass, muscle burns more calories than body fat even at rest, so maintaining muscle mass helps support long-term weight loss goals. 

running 20 minutes a day

#5 Long runs aren’t necessary (and may even be harmful). 

You don’t need to run mile upon mile to reap the benefits of running and be in good shape. There’s some evidence that running excessive mileage may be harmful to your health. Endurance runners can have enlarged hearts and the implications for long-term health are inconclusive.

Running further may make you fitter and stronger but there’s also the extra risk of injury. So being time-poor and sticking to short runs and jogging 20 minutes a day could help you avoid injury. For good health, shorter runs are often best.

#6 Running is good for the immune system

There’s some evidence that regular aerobic exercise like running can help boost the immune system. One study found that frequent moderate-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise for less than 60 minutes enhanced your immune defense activity. That’s good news for fighting off colds and viruses.

#7 Running reduces cholesterol levels

HDL cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol that helps remove LDL cholesterol from your arteries.

Physical activity like jogging has been shown to increase HDL levels and reduce LDL levels, improving your cholesterol profile. It’s a good way to keep your doctor happy and improve your cardiovascular system. 

#8 Exercise improves your energy levels

Who doesn’t need more energy? With the high demands of daily life finding the energy to go for a run can be quite a challenge. It’s far easier to slump into a cozy armchair when you get home from work.

But dragging yourself out for a run can make you feel better and give your energy levels a lift.

A moderate-intensity run will give you more sustained energy throughout the day than a cup of coffee. It’s one of the many benefits of running! And it won’t give you the jitters or make you feel worse when it wears off like caffeine can.

jogging 20 minutes a day

How To Start Jogging For 20 Minutes A Day

If you’re an experienced runner, running or jogging for 20 minutes a day might sound easy. But I know for a lot of people the thought of running makes them break out into a cold sweat.

Trust me, I get it. I was once where you are now. I wasn’t always a runner; in fact, I used to HATE running. It may have been a long time ago but I once skipped school to avoid running in a 1500m race. It was sports day and I just knew I couldn’t make it around 4 laps of the track with the whole school watching.

But I changed. One day I made a commitment to myself to start running for just 20 minutes a day, and eventually, I not only got into shape, but I actually started ENJOYING running! If I can do it, so can you. Here are a few tips for how to start running for 20 minutes a day.

Check In With A Doctor

Before starting to run every day, get the all-clear from your doctor. If you haven’t exercised for a long time and your fitness level is low, it’s best to start with a walking for weight loss program. Brisk walking burns nearly as many calories as jogging.

Start Slow

If you’ve never been a runner before, it’s important to start slow for your 20 minute run. It takes time for your body to adjust to the impact of running, so ease into it by starting with a walk/jog interval program.

For example, you can jog for one minute and then walk for two minutes. Run at an easy to moderate pace. You should be able to talk easily while you run. Repeat this interval for 20 minutes total.

As your body gets used to running over the first few weeks, you can increase the amount of time you jog and decrease the amount of time you walk. Soon you’ll be running 20 minutes a day without any walk breaks!

As you get stronger try running further. Here’s what happened when I ran 5 miles a day!

Related post: Couch to 5K Plan

run every day

Rest Day

While just 20 minutes of exercise a day is ideal, some people will benefit from taking rest days. Give yourself enough time to recover between training sessions.

Find a Good Route

One of the best things about jogging is that you can do it anywhere, anytime. However, if you’re just starting to run, find a route that feels safe: 

  • How far away is it from your home? The last thing you want is to run further than you intended just to get back home! 
  • Is the route well-lit? If not, try and stick to exercising during daylight hours. 
  • Are there sidewalks or paths available? If not, choose a route with little car traffic. 

It’s best to find a route you’ll enjoy jogging daily. Running for twenty minutes in nature even if it’s just the local park can be an uplifting start to your day!

Invest in Good Running Shoes 

Your shoes are THE most important piece of gear when it comes to jogging, so don’t skimp on them. It’s best to go to an independent running store for advice to get shoes that fit you properly.

Related post: Best Running Shoes For Overweight Runners

jogging with friends

Join a running club or find friends to run with.

It’s great to have friends or family members who also like to run – they can help push and encourage you when things get tough! Not only will having people to run with make running feel easier, but they’ll also keep you accountable so that you stick with your new exercise habit! 

Conclusion: Jog Or Run 20 Minutes A Day

The positive effects of jogging or running are considerable. Whether you’re trying to improve your mental health, lose weight, or just get some exercise, jogging is a great option that comes with plenty of health benefits.

And the best part is that it’s easily achievable – all you need is 20 minutes and a good pair of shoes! So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start jogging!

Related post: How To Start Running (5 Step Guide For Complete Beginners)

how to start running 20 minutes a day
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