The advantages you gain can be influenced by your pace.
In 2019, 17.6 million people registered for running events, according to data collected by Running USA. While that figure is remarkable, it is down 2.7 percent from 2018 and has been steadily declining since 2013, when 19 million runners completed races of all sizes around the United States. Experts predict that owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, data gathered in 2020 will indicate a sharper fall.
However, these figures only reflect the number of people participating in running competitions like runs or endurance challenges. There is little evidence to indicate the percentage of people who exercise or jog solely for the fitness and wellbeing benefits it offers.
Many people laced up their running shoes and took to the streets, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, to improve their health and mental well-being.
Running vs. Jogging: Which Is Better?
Some people may ask if the advantages of running are the same regardless of speed. To put it another way, if you sprint, do the health benefits of running always apply?
The pace differential between running and jogging is significant. Hard-core runners may use the term “jogger” to refer to those who run at a slower speed, or they may refer to running slowly as “jogging” (for example, during a warm-up or cool-down). A lot of jogging is done by extreme, hard-core, and elite athletes. They’ll jog on recovery runs or in-between intervals, for example.
So, is racing better for you than jogging? There is some evidence that adding pace to your weekly routine will help you achieve your goals. Running at a higher level has been linked to a lower risk of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes in at least one study. Speed was used as a proxy for strength in this analysis. The authors of the report, however, stated that their findings did not prove the cause. Furthermore, the problem of running at a high pace was not discussed.
Other experiments on time, especially speed intervals, have been conducted.
As the popularity of high-intensity interval training has grown, more research has been conducted on the advantages that this type of training can offer. High-intensity exercise for athletes typically entails going harder (rather than jogging).
For example, in 2017, the Journal of Sports and Health Science published a brief overview of running speed and its benefits. According to the source, sprinting (sprint exercise) has been shown to boost running ability and have other benefits such as improved oxygen intake capability and a lower risk of running-related injuries due to the reduced practice intensity and training time.
However, just because (fast) running has health benefits does not mean that jogging does not. Indeed, as you read through the list of health benefits of running below, you’ll see that some of them are more common in joggers who keep a slow to moderate speed.
What’s the bottom line? There’s no need to be concerned with moving quickly if you want to pursue a running program for health reasons. Consistency is crucial in any fitness regimen. Make a plan that is feasible for you. Regardless of how well you progress, you’re sure to reap the rewards.
Running’s Health Advantages
Any exercise has the potential to be beneficial to one’s wellbeing. According to the National Institutes of Health, regular physical exercise will help you sustain a healthier weight, sleep well, and age better.
However, a study has shed some light on how jogging or running, in particular, can impact your fitness.
Body Composition Improvement
Running expends a lot of calories. According to a calorie calculator, a 150-pound individual burns about 357 calories in 30 minutes while running a 10-minute mile. The same person would burn roughly 447 calories if they ran an 8-minute mile in the same amount of time.
Running for 30 minutes burns 357–447 calories or more for a 150-pound male, depending on speed. When the same person goes on a brisk stroll, though, he or she just burns 147 calories in 30 minutes.
When combined with a well-balanced diet, this significant calorie intake will help runners sustain a healthier weight. It will also help people achieve and maintain balanced body composition, according to reports.
Another research looked at body mass metrics in 49-year-old long-distance endurance athletes. These runners have been involved in the sport for an average of 23 years and used to do around 28 miles a week. According to the researchers, the running party had a lower average BMI (21.4 vs. 23.7) and had 10% more lean mass than the control group.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Like many other types of daily physical exercise, a running program can increase heart and lung capacity. Exercise raises cardiac activity and blood pressure in the short term, but as the body adjusts to exercise, it is more likely to have a lower resting heart rhythm and a healthier heart.
Any experts are concerned about the long-term effects of strenuous running (such as marathon training). The “right dosage” of intensive running (the most appropriate pace and duration) and its impact on heart health are unknown. However, several scientists have discovered that modest running has significant cardiovascular benefits.
For example, even after controlling for confounding factors such as the fact that runners were more likely to be men, younger, and leaner; were less likely to smoke and participate in other types of physical activities, and had lower rates of chronic disease, researchers discovered that runners had a 45 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
The Death Risk is Reduced
When it comes to mortality risk, joggers can have an advantage over runners. Researchers point out that high-intensity exercises, such as cyclists, have been linked to health problems such as myocardial fibrosis, arrhythmias, and coronary artery calcium. Moderate exercises, on the other hand, face fewer threats.
According to epidemiological research, people who exercise have a lower chance of death, with mild physical activity providing the greatest advantage in terms of mortality. A dosage of 1 to 2.5 hours of running a week at a medium to moderate speed has an added advantage for running directly.
Researchers have discovered that running for only 5 to 10 minutes a day at slow speeds (10 minutes a mile or less) is linked to a significantly lower risk of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease.
However, the study’s authors point out that there is little evidence of a survival advantage at higher racing stages. Although at least one other literature study found that marathon runners, elite cyclists, and Olympic athletes benefit from routine, rigorous endurance exercise training to prevent cardiovascular disease and premature death.
Enhances Bone Health
Running and other weight-bearing exercises have been shown to increase bone density and help improve bone health. When bones are stressed, bone cells (osteoclasts and osteoblasts) remodel and restructure themselves, according to Wolfe’s rule, so that the bones are better able to handle potential forces of equal magnitude and direction.
However, this may be another instance in which the dosage makes a difference. According to some reports, athletes who specialize in running have poorer bone mineral density than athletes who compete in ball and power sports. In reality, according to some studies, it could be lower than their inactive peers.
However, experts have discovered that endurance athletes, such as runners, are at a greater risk of undereating and overexercising, all of which can damage bone health. According to the National Institutes of Health, if these symptoms persist and become severe enough, you can experience osteoporosis, a disorder in which bone density is reduced, leaving the bones susceptible to fracture.
When researchers looked at long-distance running at the club level (rather than elite-level professional training), they discovered that it could improve bone formation while negatively affecting bone properties.
And research looking at various ways to boost bone health in people who have already developed osteoporosis has discovered that jogging (especially when mixed with other behaviors like stair climbing or tennis) brings the body under just the right amount of tension to keep the bone mineral density from deteriorating.
Running Has Mental Health Benefits
Those who race and those who mentor athletes can find out that running has significant therapeutic benefits. The “runner’s high” is, in reality, a well-known phenomenon.
The runner’s high is described as “a sudden good feeling of euphoria, anxiolysis (reduced anxiety), sedation, and analgesia (the inability to feel pain),” according to published research. The disease is said to be caused by the body’s secretion of endorphins. The release of anandamide, a naturally occurring endocannabinoid, may also play a part.
Of course, not every run can leave you in a state of euphoria. During runs, even the most well-trained runners are likely to feel any mental and physical pain. However, studies have shown that a successful running schedule can provide significant therapeutic benefits in the short term and over time.
Self-esteem has been related to body appearance and perceived physical health in studies. People who are comfortable with their skin and feel physically fit are more likely to have high self-esteem.
Physical exercise has also been shown to increase self-esteem, body appearance, and perceived physical health in adults, both directly and implicitly. As a result, psychologists recommend that people with poor self-esteem participate in a physical exercise program.
Many who prefer running or jogging as a form of exercise can reap even more benefits. According to one survey, 96 percent of 424 non-professional athletes who raced more than 28.8 miles a week reported mental and emotional gains from running. Sixty-four percent of them clearly said that running had increased their self-confidence.
Another research contrasted non-elite marathoners to those who jog regularly. According to the survey, marathoners were more self-sufficient and assertive, while joggers (who did not complete marathons) were more happy-go-lucky. However, the sample was small, with only 68 male runners participating.
Finally, running has been related to higher levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy in many trials. Self-efficacy is the confidence in one’s abilities to succeed at a particular mission. It is a type of self-confidence that is situation-specific and affects how people think, behave, inspire themselves, and act.
Better Mood Running has also been related to the increased mood in the general public and people with mood disorders.
A 2018 report, for example, looked at the impact of a 12-week running regimen on adults and children that had been diagnosed with a complex mood disorder. 46 participants met twice a week for the research and moved from mainly walking to mostly running. They completed a 5K run as a school after the program. Motivational talks about mental illness, running techniques, diet, and mindfulness were all part of the weekly workshops.
Researchers discovered that participation in the running program increased adult and youth participants’ mood symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and stress. The authors of the study have presented evidence that even a single bout of running would boost mood. However, the researchers noted the study’s limited reach and recommended further research.
Running’s challenge will offer an impetus for personal growth. Coaches that accompany runners to athletic challenges are frequent witnesses to this.
Precision Run, a method-driven treadmill class available in Precision Run studios and on the Equinox + app, was created by David Silk. Rolling, according to Silk, forces you to confront physical and emotional pain in a very true and raw way. He states that there is no way to stop it or make it easier, except for experienced runners.
On the other hand, rolling will lead to mental breakthroughs and a greater sense of success if you face the emotional block. In reality, Silk claims this is a common occurrence among the new runners he mentors in his classes.
“When someone can get uncomfortable with something so blunt and raw when there are no real shortcuts, they end up facing the mental wall of running…like it’s a kind of wake-up call,” he says. It’s a complicated feeling that brings a lot of realities and realizations about one’s physical (and mental) well-being to the surface.”
In addition, exercise has been shown to increase sleep quality without the adverse side effects of taking a sleep aid.
This advantage has been observed in both adults and teenagers.
In one sample, 51 teenage boys and girls were randomly allocated to a running or control group to see how running could increase sleep efficiency. For three weeks, the athletes trained for 30 minutes at a low pace every morning throughout the week. Compared to the test group, the runners had greater sleep and social functioning after the experiment.
Running has also been found to change sleep habits in older adults in some trials.
If you’re concerned about the effects of running before bedtime, some research suggests there’s no need to be concerned. Researchers discovered in 2020 that early-evening high-intensity training may not disturb and can even increase subsequent sleep in endurance-trained runners.
Running has been linked to lower stress levels in a variety of studies. One study found that men who engaged in a daily jogging program had greater social endurance and lower stress levels compared to sedentary men. According to other reports, marathon runners and joggers experience less stress, frustration, uncertainty, and exhaustion than non-exercisers.
When people begin to engage in Silk’s running courses, he notices a stress-relieving mechanism. And he talks about how it’s helping them deal with the stress of the pandemic in 2020.
“I see so many runners gain a feeling of positivity, clarity, focus, and happiness when they turn to run. I describe it to runners as a sort of emotional purge that leaves you feeling so much better than when you started. I experience it myself all the time. This benefit, I continue to believe, is one of the most powerful tools to combat depression. I don’t think it was just the lack of gym access that led so many people to run in 2020”, David says.
Exposure to nature can also have stress-relieving benefits to those who run outside. Natural conditions are effective in lowering both physical and psychological stress levels, according to studies.
On the other hand, indoor treadmill running can be beneficial because it is accurate and entertaining, according to David Silk. He claims that the “least boring style of running” is the dynamic and complicated treadmill exercise since you can control anything, including pace and incline, to make the run both successful and personal.
Improvements in the Management of Mental Health Issues
Exercise is beneficial in the management of depression in general. While the authors note that the results were based on a limited number of studies, a broad-scale Cochrane study conducted in 2013 concluded that exercise could be somewhat more successful in minimizing symptoms of depression than other psychiatric or pharmacological therapies.
Many who have been diagnosed with a physical or mental illness may find that running, in particular, may aid in the management of their disease. Running has been compared to psychotherapy in the treatment of mental wellbeing. It has been seen to have favorable outcomes, in addition to the improvements in mood problems and poor self-esteem already mentioned. According to the authors of one study, Rolling can be used to treat a variety of adverse psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, anger, mood swings, and low self-esteem.
Long Distance Running has a few words for you.
Although it is clear that running has a variety of mental and physical health advantages, running should not use it to supplement any medical or psychiatric therapy without consulting the healthcare provider. If you want to start running to better your fitness, talk to your doctor about your expectations and see any special conditions or changes you should be aware of. For advice and encouragement, you may also enlist the assistance of a running club or a mentor.
Then, when you begin your running journey, keep in mind that increasing your stamina and mileage will take time. If you’re new to running, David Silk recommends focusing on the length of the race, whether it’s on a treadmill or outside. For the first week, do 15-minute runs, then attempt 30-minute runs for a couple of weeks.
He further emphasizes the significance of remembering that the challenge is worthwhile. He declares, “The awkward moments of starting will lead to fresh emotions, a happier body, and a potential in you that few things will match. You were born to do this.”