The Benefits Of Running For 30 Minutes - Weight Loss, Better Sleep & More!

Is the idea of an hour-long slog on a treadmill or a tedious lengthy jog in the rain putting you off running on a regular basis? The amount of time you need to run to transform your physical fitness, sleep quality and more is much smaller than you think: just 30 minutes. We’ve put together all the top benefits of running for 30 minutes to help inspire you to get that extra workout in.

Weight loss and calories burned

The rather open secret to weight loss is burning more calories than you’re putting in. On paper, this can sound intimidating - especially if you’ve spent an hour on a machine at the gym before glancing down and see you’ve got nowhere near your calorie goal. Regular short runs are an ideal choice to help get you moving towards your weight goals in a time-effective way.

Research shows a 185 lb person should expect to burn 420 calories within 30 minutes at a pace of 6 mph. Depending on the speed of the run and the weight of the runners, a 30-minute run will deliver a calorie burn of between 200-500 calories.

With the recommended calorie intake at 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women, a balanced diet combined with regular 30-minute runs can make a huge impact on weight loss by providing the necessary calorie deficit to lose weight and burn fat.

Mental benefits beyond runner’s high

The feeling of runner’s high is one of the most rewarding post-training benefits, but the mental benefits don’t just stop there. Even once your 30-minute run is complete, the aerobic workout can encourage the growth of new blood vessels in the brain.

According to 2016 research new brain cells might even be created through a process called Neurogenesis as a result of sustained exercise such as running. Making a 30 minute run a regular part of your schedule will nourish the body as well as the brain - and if diving into science isn’t for you then you can at least enjoy the proven reduction in stress and anxiety your training will deliver.

Low risk with quick recovery

One of the most common factors that derail a training schedule is picking up minor injuries. Keeping your run to 30 minutes reduces the risk of muscle fatigue or overstretching which in turn reduces the likelihood of injury. Recovery time is also significantly lower than the time required for longer distance runs which allows you to train more frequently and consistently.

Whilst 30 minute runs reduce injury risk, it is still recommended that you warm up and down correctly to ensure your muscles are in the best condition to perform.

Physical benefits beyond weight

Whilst we’ve talked about the impact of short runs on weight loss and cardio fitness, there are plenty of other physical benefits:

Clearer Skin

Putting together consistent runs 3-5 times a week can result in clearer skin due to the removal of toxins and reduction of stress hormones.

Strengthens Bones

Jogging and running are weight-bearing exercises and, as long as you aren’t overtraining or exerting, can help to strengthen your bones.

Increased Lifespan

Yes, that is a bold claim - but not one without grounding. A meta-analysis of 2018 research revealed that frequent runners had a 25% lower rate of all-cause mortality than non-runners.

Fits into a busy schedule

With 81% of office workers spending up to 9 hours a day sitting at the desk, a half-hour run is one of the best ways to pack in a workout and some much needed time away from screens without it becoming a time drain. They’re ideal for a lunch break jog, an early riser wake up call or an after-work pick me up to relieve stress.

With all the physical and mental benefits we’ve already covered, packing a run into even the busiest schedule is well worth the 18,000 seconds needed!

Run like a champ and sleep like one too

Sleeping isn’t something that comes easily to everyone and a 30-minute run might just be the answer to solving this problem. Regular exercise can help to realign a disrupted circadian rhythm and increase the amount of time you spend in deep sleep. Try not to squeeze in your run too close to bedtime though, the release of endorphins you can enjoy from runners high can make you feel more alert when you’d rather be dozing off.

Getting Started

If you’re looking for an achievable goal to chase for your 30-minute runs, why not take a look at our range of 5Ks? Whether you’re an experienced runner looking to shave down seconds on a PB or a beginner, eager for the challenge of a first race, we’ve got the most comprehensive calendar in the UK to choose from. If you’re lacing up the trainers for the first time and heading out for a run, check out our top running tips for beginners to help get you off to a great start.

Image: Great Run Bristol, © Great Run

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