The first time I tried running, I hated it. It was only two miles, but I was positive I would never, ever run again.
Sure, I understood the many benefits of running like improved heart health, weight management, and better moods. Yet, like many people who initially swear off running, I believed you had to run for many miles and many hours on a regular basis to make it worthwhile.
How much running adds up to benefits?
It turns out my thinking about running and health was all wrong. Research suggests that you don’t have to run far, fast, or even that often to reap the rewards from running.
For instance, a meta-analysis published online Nov. 4, 2019, by the British Journal of Sports Medicine looked at 14 studies involving more than 232,000 people, and found that running only once a week for less than 50 minutes has significant health benefits, such as a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and death from all causes.
Even if you are a complete novice, or the idea of running sounds off-putting, you should still give it a try. “Many people think running is not for them, or they can’t do it well, but running is a simple skill and an easy activity to get into,” says Michael Clem, a doctor of physical therapy at the Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Outpatient Center. “After all, we’ve been running since we could walk.”
Run then walk
An easy way to ease into running is a run/walk program. With run/walk, you run for a brief period at a comfortable pace and then take a walking break until your body recovers. You repeat this back-and-forth cycle for a certain amount of time or distance. The goal is