Running 2 Miles a Day: How To Start and Health Benefits

athletic couple running 2 miles a day
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Running 2 miles a day offers several health benefits, such as improved joint health, better brain health, lower risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.

Running is one of the most popular physical activities and practiced sports around the globe. In the USA alone, around 60 million people participate in running, trail running, or jogging. Science claims that running 2 miles a day offers plenty of health benefits. Running not only helps you lose weight but also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Apart from being a health booster, running boosts confidence and transforms your life. Scroll down to know the benefits of running 2 miles a day in great detail, what transformation to expect, and how to get started. 

9 health benefits of running 2 miles a day

Running 2 miles a day brings about some significant physical and mental transformations in an individual. Some of the major health benefits you can expect include:

1. Weight loss

Running 2 miles a day offers an impressive calorie burn and consequent weight loss. If you are wondering how many calories are burned running a mile? The answer is – an average-sized runner will burn nearly 100 calories per mile. However, it also depends on your other factors, such as your weight, gender, diet, how fast you run, etc. 

2. Improved knee health and stronger legs

Running is a physical activity that targets your leg muscles, including glutes, hamstrings, and quads. That means running 2 miles a day ensures stronger leg muscles. Running regularly also reduces the risk of knee pain or osteoarthritis due to improved leg muscle strength. 

3. Better heart health 

Running boosts heart health by improving blood flow to the heart. This ensures blood and oxygen flow throughout the body, eventually engendering optimal organ function. According to research [1]American College of Cardiology: Running Reduces Risk of Death Regardless of Duration, Speed, runners have a 45% lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke. Running 2 miles a day also lowers blood pressure. 

4. Prolonged life

Running lowers the risk of developing several chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. Runners have a 30% lower risk of death from such causes. That means runners may have a better shot at living a longer life than those who don’t run.

5. Better sleep 

Past research [2]PubMed: Daily morning running for 3 weeks improved sleep and psychological functioning in healthy adolescents compared with controls has found that a 30-minute morning running session during weekdays for three consecutive days leads to improved sleep quality. Therefore, if you have sleep problems, take up running to positively impact your sleep patterns and enjoy a good night’s sleep every day.

6. Stress buster

Running produces endorphins that help ease stress and lowers depression and anxiety. Moreover, this physical activity makes you feel good about your body as well as the environment and eventually helps your brain cope with stress. 

7. Mood enhancement 

Running releases “feel-good” hormones and lowers stress levels. This ultimately boosts your mood and has long-term effects on your overall well-being. Running 2 miles a day might thus entail a natural mood boost.

8. Great self-confidence

Setting a goal of running 2 miles a day and striving to accomplish it considerably boosts one’s self-confidence. At the end of the day, you will feel more confident and proud of your achievement. Completing a successful 2-mile streak will also allow you to aim for higher. The greater your achievements, the better will be your level of confidence. 

9. Social skill building

Running regularly, especially in groups, gives you an opportunity to meet new people and make friends. This eventually boosts your social skills. 

How to start running 2 miles a day?

If you are a beginner and want to start running as a habit, follow these tips to make it easier for you to start running 2 miles a day: 

Set goals 

Set short-term or long-term goals. It can be either running 2 miles a day or planning your first half marathon. Setting a goal will not only allow you to stay focused but will also keep you motivated through setbacks.

Start small

Initially, start with shorter, 1-mile runs, 2-3 times a week. Over time, you can increase it to 2-3 miles and 4-5 times a week. This way, you won’t experience burnout soon after you start running.

Plan ahead

To develop a long-term habit, you need to plan your fitness routine ahead of time. Plan in advance about the time and duration of your running, the balanced diet you will eat before and after runs, what developments and milestones you will track, and so on.

Be consistent 

You need to practice and stay consistent to develop running as a habit. Chalk out a routine and stick to it. This will include going for a run at the same time of the day, keeping your gear and running shoes ready beforehand, and so on. 

Run with a friend or join a club

Running with a friend or in a group will allow you to build your support system and social circle. Pairing up with someone will ensure accountability and offer active social time. You can join a running group, take a gym membership or simply run with a group of friends to achieve this.

Listen to your body

Always pay attention to the signals of your body. If you experience pain or discomfort while running, do not ignore it. Consult a healthcare provider and take a break before resuming.  

Track your progress

Tracking your progress will help you stay motivated and to make changes to your current routine to achieve your fitness goals faster. Use a fitness tracker or a training logbook to record your time, distance, pace, and other stats. 

Create a reward system

Treat yourself to something you enjoy once you accomplish your short-term goal. This could be giving yourself a piece of chocolate or going for a movie night. 

Work with a fitness coach

Regardless of one’s fitness level, working with a coach will help you get support, stay motivated and follow the best fitness plan for your body. A fitness coach or personal trainer will consider your body composition, physical health, running goals, and running habits and create a running plan that is right for you.

Does running 2 miles a day help you lose weight?

Running is a great physical activity to rely on for weight loss. Daily running engenders an impressive calorie burn and many health benefits. The data [3]Harvard Health Publishing: Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights given below shows calories burnt by weight. Remember that these are approximate averages. The exact numbers may vary depending on your body weight, gender, fitness level, pace, and so on.

Running: Speed (Time/mile)125-pound person155-pound person185-pound person
Running: 5 mph (12 min/mile)240288336
Running: 6 mph (10 min/mile)495360420
Running: 7.5 mph (8 min/mile)375450525
Running: 10 mph (6 min/mile)453562671

Precautions to take before, during, and after running

Follow these precautions and tips if you plan to run 2 miles a day:

  1. Warm-up before running and cool down after finishing your everyday run. Gentle stretching before and after runs will help activate your muscles and relax them. 
  2. Start slowly at your own pace and don’t push yourself too much. 
  3. Keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after runs.
  4. Do not eat or drink close to your running session. Always eat an hour before your run. Count on good carbs, such as oatmeal or brown rice, to fuel your body. 
  5. Grab a protein bar, protein shake, or peanut butter, 30-60 minutes after your running session. 
  6. If you wish to stretch your 2-mile runs a little and plan to run several miles, do not forget to go to void your bowels before your session. Funny as it sounds, experienced runners and marathoners will tell you that runner’s diarrhea is real. And, you definitely want to avoid such problems.
  7. Do not consume foods high in sugar or fat before and after runs as they contain empty calories and can even hinder post-run recovery.
  8. Wear proper running clothing and gear. Always wear light and breathable clothes and comfortable shoes before your running session.
  9. Run during daylight hours. If you are running during the night, wear reflective clothing. 
  10. Stay on the sidewalk of the road while running. It’s good to choose a running trail or park instead of a busy road. 
  11. Take your phone along with you. Share your route plan with family or a friend before going out for a run.
  12. Watch out for overtraining. If you are experiencing symptoms like nagging injuries, poor recovery, unusual fatigue, or poor performance, stop overdoing it.

Conclusion

Running every day is beneficial for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Running 2 miles a day will engender a better and healthier version of yourself. It burns calories, melts away excess body fat, exercises many important muscle groups, and helps maintain healthy weight and overall body mass index.

It also improves brain health to the point of having a significant antidepressant effect on people’s minds. As a  great form of aerobic exercise, running also improves respiratory and cardiovascular health. A simple two-mile run every day is all you need to enjoy these health benefits, provided you do it with care and under careful guidance.

So, grab your sneakers and start running. Just make sure to start slow, keep it consistent, and track your progress to see exemplary results.

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