fbpx

Running 10 Minutes A Day: Health Benefits + How To Do It Sustainably

Our personal trainer and running coach shares how a simple, short daily running practice can level up many aspects of your well-being.

Getting started on a running routine can seem daunting, especially if you have a poor cardiovascular fitness level and do limited physical activity.

While all forms of exercise provide various physical and mental health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, helping support weight loss, lowering blood pressure, and improving mood, running is one of the best forms of exercise due to its accessibility and efficiency.

Even short runs can positively affect your overall health and wellness, and all you really need to get started with a few minutes of running a day is a good pair of running shoes.

In this guide, we will discuss the health benefits of running 10 minutes a day, the potential risks of running 10 minutes a day, how far a 10-minute run is, and tips for new runners who want to establish a daily running routine.

A person jogging in the park.

How Far Is 10 Minutes of Running?

Before we look at the physical and mental health benefits of running 10 minutes a day and how to start with a daily running routine, let’s cover the basics: how far is a 10-minute run?

Of course, the distance you will cover in 10 minutes of running a day will depend on your running pace or running speed.

The faster you run, the more kilometers or miles a day you will cover. For most beginner runners, running for 10 minutes will be approximately 1 mile

Advanced runners or those with a higher cardiovascular fitness level may cover closer to 1.5 or even 2 miles in 10 minutes of running, if you are approaching 5 minutes per mile pace.

However, this is quite fast; even elite runners probably should not be running 10 minutes daily at such a fast pace!

According to Strava,1How does your training stack up against the pros? (2017, October 30). Stories.strava.com. https://stories.strava.com/articles/how-does-your-training-stack-up-against-the-pros#:~:text=The%20average%20run%20on%20Strava when it comes to training runs, the average running pace for a logged run is 9:53 per mile. 

This is around a 10-minute mile pace, so a 10-minute run with a little warm-up and cool-down might be just about 1 mile daily for the average runner. 

As your fitness level improves, you will be able to run at a faster pace, and you can also work on your endurance for longer runs if you decide that you would like to take on longer runs a few times per week rather than just running 10 minutes every day.

A group of people running and smiling in the park.

Is Running 10 Minutes a Day Good?

Per the physical activity guidelines for Americans set forth by the Centers for l Disease Control and Prevention, 2(CDC)Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 2). How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. adults should accumulate either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio exercise per week.

Therefore, if you are doing a daily run of 10 minutes a day as your only form of exercise during the week, you will fall just shy of the physical activity guidelines for Americans.

The good news is that unless you are purposely doing very easy slow jogging, running typically qualifies as vigorous or high-intensity exercise.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any type of exercise that increases your heart rate to 50-70% of your maximum heart rate falls under the umbrella of “moderate-intensity aerobic exercise,”

Cardio exercise that raises your heart rate to 70-85% of your max heart rate is considered “vigorous aerobic exercise.”

Thus, as long as you are elevating your heart rate to 70% of your age-predicted maximum heart rate during your 10-minute runs, running 10 minutes daily will get you close to the 75 minutes of exercise per week threshold.

If your fitness routine includes some brisk walking or moderate-intensity cross-training, you will meet the physical activity guidelines to improve overall health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, all-cause mortality, high blood pressure, obesity, and a myriad of other lifestyle diseases.

A person jogging in the park.

What Are The Benefits Of Running 10 Minutes A Day?

Beginners are often aware that regular exercise can promote better physical and mental health and support overall wellness and well-being.

However, knowing the benefits of running 10 minutes a day can help new runners feel more motivated to stick with a daily running habit.

Here are some of the top physical and mental health benefits of running 10 minutes a day:

#1: Increase Your Lifespan

Research3Pedisic, Z., Shrestha, N., Kovalchik, S., Stamatakis, E., Liangruenrom, N., Grgic, J., Titze, S., Biddle, S. J., Bauman, A. E., & Oja, P. (2019). Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better? A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine54(15), bjsports-2018-100493. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2018-100493 has found that runners have about a 25-30% lower risk of death (all-cause mortality), and consistent running has been found4Lee, D.-C., Brellenthin, A. G., Thompson, P. D., Sui, X., Lee, I-Min., & Lavie, C. J. (2017). Running as a Key Lifestyle Medicine for Longevity. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases60(1), 45–55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pcad.2017.03.005 to increase your life expectancy by at least three years. Plus, a short run might be all it takes to reap these health benefits.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that running as little as six miles per week—or roughly 52 minutes total—effectively reduced the risk of all-cause and CVD mortality by 30% and 45%, respectively, relative to non-runners.

This means the positive effects are realized by less than 10 minutes of running a day!

A person jogging on the road.

#2: Improve Cardiovascular Health

For example, studies show5Lee, D., Pate, R. R., Lavie, C. J., Sui, X., Church, T. S., & Blair, S. N. (2014). Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology64(5), 472–481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058 that running as little as 5 to 10 minutes a day, even at slow speeds (6 miles per hour or 10 km/hr), significantly reduces the risk of death from heart disease and heart attacks. 

#3: Good For Your Joints And Increases Bone Density

Research6Ponzio, D. Y., Syed, U. A. M., Purcell, K., Cooper, A. M., Maltenfort, M., Shaner, J., & Chen, A. F. (2018). Low Prevalence of Hip and Knee Arthritis in Active Marathon Runners. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery100(2), 131–137. https://doi.org/10.2106/jbjs.16.01071 has shown that marathoners and long-distance runners may have healthier knees than age-matched non-runners.

Studies have also found7Mitchell, U. H., Bowden, J. A., Larson, R. E., Belavy, D. L., & Owen, P. J. (2020). Long-term running in middle-aged men and intervertebral disc health, a cross-sectional pilot study. PLOS ONE15(2), e0229457. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0229457 that running can improve the health of the spine.

A person jogging on the road.

#4: Can Support Weight Loss

Not only can running help support weight loss and weight management, but it may also decrease your body fat percentage when coupled with healthy eating habits.

Running can be helpful for building muscle in the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves, especially when coupled with strength training.

#5: Decrease The Risk Of Developing Various Health Conditions

Studies8Wang, Y., Lee, D., Brellenthin, A. G., Eijsvogels, T. M. H., Sui, X., Church, T. S., Lavie, C. J., & Blair, S. N. (2019). Leisure-Time Running Reduces the Risk of Incident Type 2 Diabetes. The American Journal of Medicine132(10), 1225–1232. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2019.04.035 have found that runners may have a 72% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to non-runners.

Daily running as part of a cardio fitness routine can be as effective9Naci, H., Salcher-Konrad, M., Dias, S., Blum, M. R., Sahoo, S. A., Nunan, D., & Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2018). How does exercise treatment compare with antihypertensive medications? A network meta-analysis of 391 randomised controlled trials assessing exercise and medication effects on systolic blood pressure. British Journal of Sports Medicine53(14), 859–869. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2018-099921 at lowering blood pressure as anti-hypertensive medications, and walking and running10Williams, P. T., & Thompson, P. D. (2013). Walking versus running for hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology33(5), 1085–1091. https://doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.300878 can lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels.

According to research,11Moore, S. C., Lee, I-Min., Weiderpass, E., Campbell, P. T., Sampson, J. N., Kitahara, C. M., Keadle, S. K., Arem, H., Berrington de Gonzalez, A., Hartge, P., Adami, H.-O., Blair, C. K., Borch, K. B., Boyd, E., Check, D. P., Fournier, A., Freedman, N. D., Gunter, M., Johannson, M., & Khaw, K.-T. (2016). Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Risk of 26 Types of Cancer in 1.44 Million Adults. JAMA Internal Medicine176(6), 816–825. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1548 one of the health benefits of a running routine is a decreased risk of 26 different cancers, independent of other risk factors.

A couple running in the park.

Studies show12Nieman, D. C., & Wentz, L. M. (2019). The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system. Journal of Sport and Health Science8(3), 201–217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2018.09.009 that getting moderate-intensity exercise can support the immune system and decrease inflammation.

Aerobic exercise such as running can improve cognitive performance13Dinoff, A., Herrmann, N., Swardfager, W., & Lanctôt, K. L. (2017). The effect of acute exercise on blood concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in healthy adults: a meta-analysis. European Journal of Neuroscience46(1), 1635–1646. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.13603 and brain health.

#6: Can Boost Your Mood

While just 10 minutes of running might not be enough to give you a full-blown “runner’s high,” physical activity can produce endorphins and endocannabinoids (natural painkillers).

As such, running 10 minutes every day can reduce symptoms of depression14Kvam, S., Kleppe, C. L., Nordhus, I. H., & Hovland, A. (2016). Exercise as a treatment for depression: A meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders202(202), 67–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.03.063 and can boost your mood, decrease stress, and improve self-esteem and mental well-being.15Mousavi Gilani, S. R., & Khazaei Feizabad, A. (2019). The effects of aerobic exercise training on mental health and self-esteem of type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Health Psychology Research7(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/hpr.2019.6576

#7: Can Improve Sleep

Although running for 10 minutes every day might not be enough, research has found16Kalak, N., Gerber, M., Kirov, R., Mikoteit, T., Yordanova, J., Pühse, U., Holsboer-Trachsler, E., & Brand, S. (2012). Daily Morning Running for 3 Weeks Improved Sleep and Psychological Functioning in Healthy Adolescents Compared With Controls. Journal of Adolescent Health51(6), 615–622. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.02.020 that running for 30 minutes in the morning can lead to better sleep at night. 

Two people running on the road.

Is It Okay to Run 10 Minutes Every Day?

Running is a high-impact activity. Therefore, running every day—even just running 10 minutes every day—can increase your risk of overuse injuries.17van der Worp, M. P., ten Haaf, D. S. M., van Cingel, R., de Wijer, A., Nijhuis-van der Sanden, M. W. G., & Staal, J. B. (2015). Injuries in Runners; A Systematic Review on Risk Factors and Sex Differences. PLOS ONE10(2), e0114937. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0114937

In fact, a 12-month retrospective study18Ristolainen, L., Kettunen, J. A., Waller, B., Heinonen, A., & Kujala, U. M. (2014). Training-related risk factors in the etiology of overuse injuries in endurance sports. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness54(1), 78–87. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24445548/ of 446 male and female endurance athletes found that athletes who took fewer than two rest days per week during their training season had a 5.2-fold risk increase of sustaining an overuse injury compared to athletes who did take at least two rest days per week.

Research19Kellmann, M. (2010). Preventing overtraining in athletes in high-intensity sports and stress/recovery monitoring. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports20(2), 95–102. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01192.x also suggests that running every day can lead to functional overreaching or overtraining syndrome. 

While only running for 10 minutes a day is probably not enough to cause overtraining syndrome, even a short run every single day can be stressful on your body. 20Videbæk, S., Bueno, A. M., Nielsen, R. O., & Rasmussen, S. (2015). Incidence of Running-Related Injuries Per 1000 h of running in Different Types of Runners: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine45(7), 1017–1026. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0333-8

A person tying their running shoe.

‌Consider taking at least one rest day per week or cross-training with biking, elliptical, swimming, etc.21McCall, P. (2018, December 19). 8 Reasons to Take a Rest Day. Www.acefitness.org. https://www.acefitness.org/resources/everyone/blog/7176/8-reasons-to-take-a-rest-day/

If you are a new runner, take your time building up to running 10 minutes a day. Start with walking and then incorporate running intervals while you build up your endurance.

As your fitness level improves, consider adding sprinting for HIIT workouts to maximize the efficiency of your short runs.22Su, L., Fu, J., Sun, S., Zhao, G., Cheng, W., Dou, C., & Quan, M. (2019). Effects of HIIT and MICT on cardiovascular risk factors in adults with overweight and/or obesity: A meta-analysis. PLOS ONE14(1), e0210644. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210644

To build up to a 5k gradually, check out our Couch to 5k training guide for non-runners:

References

  • 1
    How does your training stack up against the pros? (2017, October 30). Stories.strava.com. https://stories.strava.com/articles/how-does-your-training-stack-up-against-the-pros#:~:text=The%20average%20run%20on%20Strava
  • 2
    (CDC)Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 2). How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • 3
    Pedisic, Z., Shrestha, N., Kovalchik, S., Stamatakis, E., Liangruenrom, N., Grgic, J., Titze, S., Biddle, S. J., Bauman, A. E., & Oja, P. (2019). Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better? A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine54(15), bjsports-2018-100493. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2018-100493
  • 4
    Lee, D.-C., Brellenthin, A. G., Thompson, P. D., Sui, X., Lee, I-Min., & Lavie, C. J. (2017). Running as a Key Lifestyle Medicine for Longevity. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases60(1), 45–55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pcad.2017.03.005
  • 5
    Lee, D., Pate, R. R., Lavie, C. J., Sui, X., Church, T. S., & Blair, S. N. (2014). Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology64(5), 472–481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058
  • 6
    Ponzio, D. Y., Syed, U. A. M., Purcell, K., Cooper, A. M., Maltenfort, M., Shaner, J., & Chen, A. F. (2018). Low Prevalence of Hip and Knee Arthritis in Active Marathon Runners. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery100(2), 131–137. https://doi.org/10.2106/jbjs.16.01071
  • 7
    Mitchell, U. H., Bowden, J. A., Larson, R. E., Belavy, D. L., & Owen, P. J. (2020). Long-term running in middle-aged men and intervertebral disc health, a cross-sectional pilot study. PLOS ONE15(2), e0229457. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0229457
  • 8
    Wang, Y., Lee, D., Brellenthin, A. G., Eijsvogels, T. M. H., Sui, X., Church, T. S., Lavie, C. J., & Blair, S. N. (2019). Leisure-Time Running Reduces the Risk of Incident Type 2 Diabetes. The American Journal of Medicine132(10), 1225–1232. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2019.04.035
  • 9
    Naci, H., Salcher-Konrad, M., Dias, S., Blum, M. R., Sahoo, S. A., Nunan, D., & Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2018). How does exercise treatment compare with antihypertensive medications? A network meta-analysis of 391 randomised controlled trials assessing exercise and medication effects on systolic blood pressure. British Journal of Sports Medicine53(14), 859–869. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2018-099921
  • 10
    Williams, P. T., & Thompson, P. D. (2013). Walking versus running for hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology33(5), 1085–1091. https://doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.300878
  • 11
    Moore, S. C., Lee, I-Min., Weiderpass, E., Campbell, P. T., Sampson, J. N., Kitahara, C. M., Keadle, S. K., Arem, H., Berrington de Gonzalez, A., Hartge, P., Adami, H.-O., Blair, C. K., Borch, K. B., Boyd, E., Check, D. P., Fournier, A., Freedman, N. D., Gunter, M., Johannson, M., & Khaw, K.-T. (2016). Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Risk of 26 Types of Cancer in 1.44 Million Adults. JAMA Internal Medicine176(6), 816–825. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1548
  • 12
    Nieman, D. C., & Wentz, L. M. (2019). The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system. Journal of Sport and Health Science8(3), 201–217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2018.09.009
  • 13
    Dinoff, A., Herrmann, N., Swardfager, W., & Lanctôt, K. L. (2017). The effect of acute exercise on blood concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in healthy adults: a meta-analysis. European Journal of Neuroscience46(1), 1635–1646. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.13603
  • 14
    Kvam, S., Kleppe, C. L., Nordhus, I. H., & Hovland, A. (2016). Exercise as a treatment for depression: A meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders202(202), 67–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.03.063
  • 15
    Mousavi Gilani, S. R., & Khazaei Feizabad, A. (2019). The effects of aerobic exercise training on mental health and self-esteem of type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Health Psychology Research7(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/hpr.2019.6576
  • 16
    Kalak, N., Gerber, M., Kirov, R., Mikoteit, T., Yordanova, J., Pühse, U., Holsboer-Trachsler, E., & Brand, S. (2012). Daily Morning Running for 3 Weeks Improved Sleep and Psychological Functioning in Healthy Adolescents Compared With Controls. Journal of Adolescent Health51(6), 615–622. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.02.020
  • 17
    van der Worp, M. P., ten Haaf, D. S. M., van Cingel, R., de Wijer, A., Nijhuis-van der Sanden, M. W. G., & Staal, J. B. (2015). Injuries in Runners; A Systematic Review on Risk Factors and Sex Differences. PLOS ONE10(2), e0114937. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0114937
  • 18
    Ristolainen, L., Kettunen, J. A., Waller, B., Heinonen, A., & Kujala, U. M. (2014). Training-related risk factors in the etiology of overuse injuries in endurance sports. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness54(1), 78–87. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24445548/
  • 19
    Kellmann, M. (2010). Preventing overtraining in athletes in high-intensity sports and stress/recovery monitoring. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports20(2), 95–102. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01192.x
  • 20
    Videbæk, S., Bueno, A. M., Nielsen, R. O., & Rasmussen, S. (2015). Incidence of Running-Related Injuries Per 1000 h of running in Different Types of Runners: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine45(7), 1017–1026. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0333-8
  • 21
    McCall, P. (2018, December 19). 8 Reasons to Take a Rest Day. Www.acefitness.org. https://www.acefitness.org/resources/everyone/blog/7176/8-reasons-to-take-a-rest-day/
  • 22
    Su, L., Fu, J., Sun, S., Zhao, G., Cheng, W., Dou, C., & Quan, M. (2019). Effects of HIIT and MICT on cardiovascular risk factors in adults with overweight and/or obesity: A meta-analysis. PLOS ONE14(1), e0210644. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210644
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.