Study: Moderate Jogging is Healthier Than Intense Running

Running more than three times a week could almost be as harmful as not doing anything.  A new study by researchers in Denmark, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, says that you actually get the best health benefits by running just 1 to 2.4 hours a week and no more than three days per week.

According to Dr. Peter Schnohr, one of the researchers, "If your goal is to decrease risk of death and improve life expectancy, jogging a few times a week at a moderate pace is a good strategy. Anything more is not just unnecessary, it may be harmful."

You Don't Have to Push Yourself

This study is great news for anyone who wants to run for weight loss or other health reasons, but who worries that doing it in moderation isn't effective. If you've thought about giving jogging a try, use the study as motivation. You don't have to start right off with one-hour sessions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that just 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week - such as running or jogging - makes you healthier.

Need Help Getting Started?

If you need an easy start to your running program, download a C25K app (iTunes | Android) that takes you through the process of preparing to jog 5K at a steady, moderate pace by the end of nine weeks. For added motivation, you can set your sights on a local 5K run to give you a specific goal. Not only will you have the satisfaction of finishing the C25K program, but you'll also get a finisher's medal as a tangible reminder of your health lifestyle change.

Of course, you don't have to do a formal program to reap the benefits of jogging. You'll feel better both physically and mentally, and your risk for heart disease and diabetes will drop.

When you're out jogging at a comfortable pace and the hard-core runners go flying past you, you don't have to feel inadequate any more. Just think back to the Denmark study and remind yourself that it's not about speed or distance. Your slow and steady pace will give you optimal health benefits.