The idea is to get as many people out of the office as possible to run a mile in the interest of their personal health and wellbeing. And the idea is not for it to be a one-off workplace wellbeing event but to show people how feasible it is to fit a mile into your daily routine.
It doesn’t have to be a lunchtime mile, just a daily one.
In January 2016, the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg created a public group, on Facebook of course, called ‘A Year of Running’. He posted a photo of himself and a number of other Facebook executives, smiles on faces and smartphone in hand, jogging through a beautiful Californian park. The caption of the image challenged his 47 million Facebook followers to run 365 miles in 2016. “This is a lot of running, but it’s not a crazy amount,” he wrote. “It’s a mile a day, and at a moderate pace it’s less than 10 minutes of running per day”.
So is Zuckerberg onto something here and should we all consider running a mile a day starting with the Lunchtime Mile this National Workplace Wellbeing Day? How can running improve your health and quality of life? And why choose a mile as a preferred distance? Let’s take a look.
1. Running Prevents Diseases
Studies have shown that running can help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some forms of cancers, and a host of other unpleasant conditions.
The World Health Organisation recommends that adults between the ages of 18 to 64 should clock up 300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical exercise or 150 minutes of vigorous exercise over the period of a week. For a novice runner, a mile could take up to 12 minutes, so a weeks’ worth of miles is 84 minutes of moderate to vigorous (depending on the pace) exercise. That will go a long way towards meeting the WHO’s standards for health.
2. Running is Free
Running is probably the most cost effective form of exercise you can do. It requires no equipment, no expensive gym membership, no personal trainer fees… just a pair of runners and your set!
3. Running Makes You Happier
If you work out regularly you have already discovered this. Exercise promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including releasing endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that contribute to that positive feeling you get after completing a workout.
Even a single bout of exercise – 30 minutes of walking – can instantly lift the mood of people suffering from mild depression and anxiety, says a study published by Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Exercise can also protect you from anxiety and aid sleep quality and concentration levels.
The feeling of success when you set a goal and accomplish it can be euphoric. We see clients grow in confidence and self-esteem every time they reach a personal goal, with that confidence filtering out to other areas of their lives.
A mile is not an insurmountable goal for any individual. Sprint, jog, hike, stride or saunter the goal is to break out of your normal routine and move a mile.
4. Running Strengthens Your Knees (and other joints and bones too)
So you may have heard that running increases bone mass. But I am sure you have a friend or family member who warns you off running with anecdotal evidence of deteriorating knee issues. Well, the science says otherwise. Studies by Boston University suggest that running improves knee health and that there is little evidence to link knee issues with running.
5. Running May Help with Fat Loss & Weight Management
First off, if you’re hoping to lose weight while running a mile a day, prepare to be patient.
Running can be a demanding activity on the body and as such you burn a lot of calories – around 100 calories for every 10 minutes of running, depending on your body weight and the pace of the run. Running 1 mile burns around 121 calories for a runner weighing 160 pounds, according to MayoClinic.com calculations. Your calorie deficit over the week would be 868 calories. To drop a pound of body fat, you need to burn off 3500 calories, meaning that if your diet is consistent you could lose a pound in four weeks of running a mile a day. That’s not bad for just under 84 minutes of running per week.
As Zuckerberg says, a mile a day is not an enormous distance. A novice runner should be aiming to complete the mile in less than 12 minutes.
Who can’t carve 12 minutes out of their day for health? It’s a distance anyone can accomplish without requiring training in order to complete. It’s also not long enough of a distance to impede on your personal life. A lunchtime mile leaves 48 more minutes to enjoy your lunch.
The bottom line is that running a mile a day won’t give you the amount of exercise the experts say you need per day nor will it result in immediate double digit drops on the scales but it’s a great starting point.
6. Running is Good for Your Heart
A 2014 study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology concluded that ‘Running, even 5 to 10 minutes per day at a slow speed (6 miles per hour) is associated with markedly reduced risk of death from all causes of cardiovascular disease’. After reading those results, there’s no shame in ‘hearting’ Zuckerberg’s challenge.
Give the Lunchtime Mile A Go
Running a mile a day can have major positive implications for your physical and mental health.
If your exercise level is currently low then making a small change like running a lunchtime mile – or a morning mile or whatever time mile suits you – will make a big difference.
For those that are already very active, running a mile fits nicely in any kind of training programme. If you’re a Crossfitter, you can integrate the mile into one of your MetCon workouts. If you enjoy weight training, running a mile once a week will keep your conditioning up without degrading your gains as a 10k run might.
Win a Lunch Time Mile with World Medalist Catherina McKiernan this National Workplace Wellbeing Day.
If all of the positive health and wellbeing benefits we’ve discussed here aren’t enough to convince you to get out on April 13th to Run the Lunchtime Mile as part of National Workplace Wellbeing Day, then how about the chance to run it with a World Medalist?
The Wellness Crew are sending Irish legend Catherina McKiernan to one Irish workplace on National Workplace Wellbeing Day to lead their pack of lunchtime runners. Click below to enter.