Running Just a Few Miles Makes a Big Difference

Article posted in: Fitness

Boy, is this good news for those of us who want to feel healthy but have neither the time nor the inclination to put in tons and tons of miles on the track or treadmill. According to a review of studies which was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, trotting just five or six miles a week can substantially improve your health.

According to the review, even with such relatively low mileage—Olympic marathoners, by comparison, regularly log 130 miles a week in training—those who run five to six miles a week generally weigh less and have lower risks of becoming obese than people who run less than five miles per week, or not at all. Low-mileage runners were also less likely to have diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, arthritis and diabetes, and to be at a lower risk for stroke.

So how do you reap this great benefit? Just one to two jogs, or three to six miles a week, seem to do the trick. In other words, your weekly time commitment can be less than an hour, and you can still experience the benefit. Of course, this is advice for people looking to be healthy and control weight. If you’re thinking about being competitive, or entering long races, you’ll need to train more.

So how do you get started? Simply and slowly. If you’re just beginning an exercise program, consult a doctor first. Once you’re cleared, start slowly, even by walking. Then, increase that walk to a jog. If you’re outdoors, pick an object in the distance like a telephone pole or a hydrant, and pick up your pace until you reach it. Walk until you catch your breath, then look for another object, until you’ve reached a mile or so. Over time, you’ll develop the ability to move at the same speed for the entire outing.