18 Benefits of Jogging Everyday – on Sleep, Stress & Mood

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By Stuart

Avid runner. 10x marathons. Daily 10kms. Award-winning journalist when not moving (about me)

From improved cardio fitness to better heart health and a healthier outlook on life, get ready to enjoy the many benefits of jogging. The results can be insane.

The Life-Changing Benefits of Jogging Everyday

  1. Boosts your cardiovascular health
  2. Builds stamina and endurance
  3. Improves your brainpower
  4. Strengthen your lower-body muscles
  5. Transforms your mental health
  6. Unlocks your creative potential
  7. Running makes you happier
  8. Lose weight and body fat
  9. Gives your more energy
  10. Satisfies your sense of adventure
  11. Reduces depression
  12. Assists stronger bone health
  13. Sharpens your memory
  14. More efficient breathing
  15. Aids active recovery
  16. Strengthens your immune system
  17. Forces you to try different routes
  18. Helps you to live longer

Let’s dive into each of those…

#1: Works Out Your Entire Cardiovascular System

It’s no secret that jogging or brisk walking everyday can have many health benefits.

Physical exercise, no matter how far or how fast, works wonders for your cardiovascular health – that is, the health of your heart and blood vessels.

This isn’t a one time hit. Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggests that jogging everyday delivers lifelong health benefits.

It found that participants had a 30% lower risk of early death from heart and circulatory conditions and a 27% lower risk of early death from any cause.

Jogging everyday also brings more immediate health benefits, including healthy weight loss and reduced body fat (if that’s your goal), and better sleep. Alongside jogging, many of us also develop a newfound enthusiasm for healthier nutrition and lifestyle habits.

#2: Jogging Pace Builds Stamina & Endurance

Running Flamborough Head at sunrise

One of the biggest benefits of jogging all-year round, including in winter months, is to prepare the body for more intense exercises. This takes hold on two fronts: stamina and endurance.

While stamina is key for sprinting events, endurance is required for longer distances (e.g. the Lisbon Marathon or running Hadrian’s Wall ultra I recently undertook). However, building endurance requires discipline and patience. It can take 4-6 weeks of regular exercise to notice changes in your aerobic ability and for the actual training benefit to be felt.

Varying your training with more challenging trail terrain can build strength in your legs and VO2 capacity for flatter road running races.

#3: Jogging Boost Your Brainpower

Brain fitness needn’t be limited to Sudoku puzzles.

A slow jogging pace and moderate aerobic exercises are trusted allies in fighting mental fatigue. Researchers found that slow and steady aerobic exercise can boost neuroplasticity and protect against neurodegeneration. Ask any Stoic athlete and they’ll tell you daily exercise works wonders on your focus and decision-making too.

I like to run with a few themes in mind:

  • Exploring (no set agenda, immersing myself in the run)
  • Expanding (listening to podcasts and audiobooks)
  • Engaging (in a specific question or challenge)

#4: Strengthens Your Lower-Body Muscles

Your upper body muscles might not get much of a workout but your lower body will thank you. This is because running enlists so many leg muscles for speed and technique.

Form follows function when you run more often.

The gastrocnemius and soleus, power the calves and are responsible for lifting the heel and pushing you forward. Meanwhile, the quads and gluteal muscles act as an anchor for your pelvis to stabilize movement, particularly during the float phase when both feet are off the ground.

The quadriceps (or thigh muscle) dictate your stride and ability to run uphill, while your hamstrings are responsible for force production in the push-off phases. Running also works core muscles like the obliques and rectus abdominis, to help stabilize the lumbar spine and reduce compressive forces in the spine.

Jogging everyday does put strain on these muscles, so to prevent injury it’s important to strengthen and stretch them before and after every outing.

#5: Why Jogging Makes You Happier

Physical activity is not only great for your body, it is kind on your mind.

Regularly putting on your running shoes and opting to immerse yourself in nature takes you to an otherwise unreachable place of happiness. You’ll reduce stress, depression and anxiety, get more fresh air, and work through problems faster than ever. The day’s stresses will bounce off you.

What’s more, the restorative mental wellbeing benefits of jogging sessions can stay with you long after you’ve physically recovered.

Related reading: 10 Ways Running Makes You Happy

→ Related reading: Running As Therapy to Process Emotions

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#6: Jogging Unlocks Your Creative Potential

Another benefit of jogging is how it’ll repay itself with absolute clarity and a daily dose of inspiration.

There’s no better way to move beyond writer’s block or work through a new challenge – hence the growing popularity of the lunch run.

It’s only when we relieve ourselves from high-pressure situations and allow our minds to wander can we do our best thinking. You’re blessed with countless visual stimulation when immersed in nature.

We’ve all had that epiphany when on a lunch run away from the office or in the shower. Our subconscious mind has been searching for that killer idea or solution all along, but it’s only able to enter your conscious mind when there’s sufficient room.

Research shows a 60% boost in creative output when you lose yourself in solo exercise. Getting outside matters too: 100% of those who exercised outside generated at least one novel high-quality idea compared with 50% of those seated inside.

#7: Jogging is a Path to Happiness

One of exercise’s most extraordinary functions is to release endorphins. The brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters otherwise known as a ‘runner’s high’.

When achieved through jogging, this short-lasting, deeply euphoric state is also low impact on the rest of your body. So, whenever you’re feeling a bit lost or down, a the benefits of a morning jog can be significant.

The transcendence a good jog brings becomes addictive. It becomes part of you. Your identity. Your being.

Parkrun UK - runners get ready to start in York - rundure.com

#8: Lose Weight and Body Fat by Jogging

Running is an insanely efficient calorie burner.

One 30 minute jog kickstarts your metabolism and burns between 200-500 calories. Excuse the running pun, but that’s a fantastic step forwards to any weight loss goal. Coupled with a healthy diet, jogging works like a dream for positive overall weight management.

As the pace picks up, so too calorie burning —up to 10 more calories per minute per mile.

#9: Jogging Regularly Energizes You

The paradox of jogging is the more often you do it, the more energy you have. The will and means to living a healthy life.

Jogging also makes you fall asleep faster and improve the quality of that sleep. Proper rest brings its own benefits:

  • Better moods
  • More productive
  • More present
  • More engaged
  • Improved stamina
  • Facilitates weight loss
  • Better overall health

#10: Satisfies Your Sense of Adventure

To wake up early and jog is to live two lives. Escaping in nature or exploring your city before others are awake will reveal more than you ever imagined.

I love nothing more than being a home tourist when jogging. Finding new routes. Mixing up your usual jogging routine, for example with a few night jogs. Embracing detours. Chasing magical sunrises. Cleaning up your local area by plogging. Stumbling upon dolphins on the St Ives to Carbis Bay coastal path. Running is not a passive experience and a slow and steady pace allows you to take it all in.

Jogging is also a great way to get to know a new holiday destination. You’ll uncover the best eateries, parks, photo opps and street art. All when they’re at their quietest too.

Running mental health benefits, running through woods © rundure.com

#11: Lifts You Out of Depression

Putting one foot in front of the other and moving forwards is proven to have dramatic anti-depressive effects.

The mental health benefits of jogging start with even low does of physical activity. This could be as little as a 30-minute burst or a 10-day walking streak on a treadmill (Knubben et al., 2007). A jogging partner or new jogging group can provide further mood boosts.

Whether it’s a way to switch off or to feel more connected with what matters most, jogging is often a step closer to feeling better.

#12: Assists Stronger Bone Health

Hiking Cinque Terre Blue Trail markers
Hiking Cinque Terre Blue Trail markers

A surprising benefit of maintaining cardiovascular fitness is a boost to muscular and bone strength, according to a study published in the journal Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews.

Skeletal muscle mass can take two forms. A slower pace or steady-state running builds strength in the slow-twitch muscles in your legs, while sprinting develops the fast-twitch fibres. Exercise training also leads to an increase overall bone density. By comparison, cycling actually decreases bone density.

#13: Regularly Jogging Sharpens Your Memory

You might be jogging on autopilot, but it’s a great source of brainfood.

Regular jogs increase the size of your hippocampus – a brain area which plays a critical role in memory. It also might slow the shrinking of your hippocampus that can lead to memory loss as you get older.

The onset of effects of aerobic exercise on the brain and behavior is rapid and is increasingly being prescribed by medical professionals to prevent, delay, or treat cognitive decline.

#14: Strengthens Your Immune System

Awe Walk - Love is the Running Towards artwork in London

There’s a myth that working out wears you down and makes you more susceptible to getting sick, but that’s not true of moderate exercise.

Frequent exercise (1-5 days per week) actually strengthens your body’s response to illnesses and viral infections, according to research published in the journalFrontiers in Immunology. Another study in the British Medical Journal found jogging helps to reduce the risk of cold and other respiratory infections by up to 50%. Upper respiratory symptoms were also 32-41% less severe among those who engaged in frequent exercise compared to those who rarely exercised.

The optimal workout session for immune-boosting benefits is said to be 60 minutes or less. Momentum is important too. Undertaking moderate exercise daily, your immune and metabolic systems grows, building on previous gains before they’re lost.

So, start jogging and let its many health benefits roll in!

#15: Your Breathing Gets More Efficient

Jogging every day helps you to breath more efficiently.

When you run, your muscles and cells depend on the constant delivery of oxygen and expulsion of carbon dioxide to propel movement. Good breathing also ensures proper muscular function of the diaphragm , which is key for stabilizing your core for better running form, and regulating your nervous system for staying cool under pressure.

Taking time to do exercises that strengthen the diaphragm and train you to breath correctly will increase your oxygen levels while jogging.

#16: Jogging is a Useful Active Recovery Tool

Active Recovery Jogging can speed up recovery from intense exercise sessions or longer distances when muscles can experience delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS). This stiffness will otherwise often prove debilitating for a few days post-training. All it takes is a gentle jog at 30-60% of your maximum heart rate.

Other active recovery activities include walking, swimming, cycling, yoga or light stretches.

#17: Forces You to Find New Routes

Road running is where most of us begin – it can be done anywhere, anytime, and is a convenient way to stay active. However, it can get repetitive.

Injecting trail running into your training plan can help you to better connect with nature and have more fun while running.

I find running apps like Strava a huge help when it comes to discovering new routes in your area.

With millions of athletes all over the world, Strava’s is the world’s biggest database of road and trail running routes. If it’s been run before, it’ll be on Strava. The self-proclaimed “social network for athletes” is wonderfully gamified too, with lots of in-built kudos. I personally find the process of cheering people on and being cheered yourself to be a great motivator.

#18: Jogging Helps You Live Longer

It’s official: a sporty lifestyle can also add up to 10 years to your life.

The Copenhagen City Heart Study (CCHS) measured the varying improvements in life expectancy associated with participation in various sports.

The 8577 participants were followed for up to 25 years or until they passed away, with all sports tracked seemingly helping you to live longer. Jogging giving you an extra 3 years, although sporting activities that were more social reported even better results – another reason to join a local running club or head to parkrun every Saturday!

The breakdown:

  • badminton 6.2 years
  • soccer 4.7 years
  • cycling 3.7 years
  • swimming 3.4 years
  • jogging 3.2 years
  • calisthenics 3.1 years
  • gym? 1.5 years

What are the Side Effects of Jogging Everyday?

Be careful: running can be addictive and the repetitive impact of jogging everyday can take a toll on your lower-body muscles and joints. Rest days are encouraged to reduce the stress on your body and prolonged fatigue.

A good warm-up and cool-down is key to preventing injuries. It’s also a good idea to mix up your sports or exercises to work different muscles. Lower-impact cardio like swimming and cross trainers can help to build muscle and stamina to aid your running. Even switching between road and trail running can reduce your vulnerability to picking up stress injuries.

It’s also a good idea to properly fuel your jogs and stay hydrated before, during and after.

> Suggested reading: Reasons Why Jogging is Good For You

> Suggested reading: How Much is a Running Coach?

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