Jogging is good for you – 16 benefits of a slower pace

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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 making new friends, there’s many reasons why jogging is good for you.

The health benefits of jogging (and more)

  1. Is open to all fitness levels
  2. Improves overall cardio fitness
  3. Builds stamina and endurance
  4. Improves your brainpower
  5. Weight-loss and lower body fat
  6. Transforms your mental health
  7. Makes you more creative
  8. Boosts your happiness
  9. Gives you more energy
  10. Takes you on countless adventures
  11. Lifts you out of depression
  12. Promotes stronger bone health
  13. Improves your memory
  14. Strengthens your immune system
  15. Speeds up your recovery
  16. Jogging helps you to live longer

Let’s dive into each of those…

#1: Jogging is Open to All Fitness Levels

The reason why jogging is such a great exercise is its universality, regardless of the fitness level you’re at. There’s no financial burden either. Own a pair of sneakers and you’re able to unlock the physical, mental health, and emotional benefits of jogging.

#2: Helps With Better Cardiovascular Fitness

Jogging, no matter how far or how fast, works wonders for your cardiovascular health.

Research publishes in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggests that any amount of jogging 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. Low intensity exercise for the win.

Regular jogging also brings more immediate health benefits, including healthy weight loss and reduced body fat (if that’s your goal), reduced blood pressure and better sleep. Alongside jogging, many of us also develop a newfound enthusiasm for eating and drinking more healthily.

#3: Jogging Pace Builds Stamina & Endurance

Jogging is a great entry level way 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. marathons or the Hadrian Wall ultra). In turn, there are two components of endurance: muscular and cardiovascular.

The health benefits of jogging can be felt relatively quickly. It usually takes 4-6 weeks to notice changes in your aerobic ability and for the actual training effect bedding in.

#4: Boosts Your Brainpower

Jogging or moderate aerobic exercise are trusted allies in fighting mental fatigue. Researchers found that slow and steady aerobic exercise can boost neuroplasticity and protect against neurodegeneration. The daily benefits of improved cognition will be borne out in how you:

  • Think
  • Read
  • Write
  • Reason
  • Remember

In short, everything from learning to decision making and communication. The cornerstones of any successful relationship or career.

#5: Lose Weight and Body Fat By Jogging

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 and balanced diet, jogging works wonders for positive overall weight management.

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

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#6: Puts You in a Better Mood

One of the biggest health benefits of jogging is actually mental health. Jogging provides a respite from life’s dramas, acting as a holiday if not a cure.

Putting on your sneakers and opting to immerse yourself in nature takes you to an otherwise unreachable place of happiness. One of the many benefits of jogging I can personally vouch for.

The restorative qualities of jogging sessions also stay with you, long after you’ve physically recovered.

So, get out there and run your best life.

#7: Unlocks Your Creative Potential

Another benefit of jogging is it’ll repay itself with clarity and inspiration.

There’s no better way to move beyond writer’s block or work through a difficult issue.

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 run 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’re embarking on solo exercise.

#8: Jogging is a Shortcut 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 30-minute jog will make all the difference.

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

#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

#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. Embracing detours. Chasing magical sunrises. 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.

#11: Works Wonders for 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

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: 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

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 journal Frontiers in Immunology. Another study in the British Medical Journal found reduce 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: 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.

#16: 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

> Suggested reading: Benefits of Jogging Daily

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