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Slow running: What are its benefits and how to do it

Running at a comfortable pace, without getting tired is called slow running. It has a variety of health benefits, including losing weight

No huffing, no puffing, and slowing down your pace so that you can cover more distance while running is what slow running is all about. It’s a pace of running that is not tiring you down, and you can even carry on slow running for an hour. But does slow running help you keep fit? Yes, it does. Not only does your pace allow you to go further, losing more calories along the way, but it also helps keep your heart healthy and reduces your chances of injury.

Besides its health benefits, slow running is also a rather inclusive sport which allows people of all sizes, weight, age, and various health and fitness levels to take part. Even if you are a beginner, slow running can help you develop a good regime, and get on your fitness journey.

What is slow running?

Running at a comfortable, conversational pace is a type of aerobic exercise known as slow running. “It’s not as fast as you usually run, with more of an emphasis on endurance than speed. With less effort and a focus on having fun, this technique enables you to run farther without straining yourself,” says fitness expert Spoorthi S. Slow running does not tire you down that easily, and a mix of high-intensity sprinting with slow running can help you in the long run.

Is slow running and jogging the same?

Jogging and slow running both feature an easy pace, although they differ slightly. “Jogging demands more work and is faster than slow running. The idea behind slow running is to run at a steady, comfortable speed that allows you to talk without having to catch your breath,” says Spoorthi. “It’s a less strenuous kind of exercise than running and can be used as a warm-up or introduction for novices,” she adds.

Health benefits of slow running

Here are some of the benefits of slow running.

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1. Enhances endurance

Running slowly increases your aerobic capacity, which over time will enable you to run farther. This strengthens the cardiovascular base, which is essential for general fitness. Slow running leads to the creation of new mitochondria. These use oxygen to generate more energy. Therefore, you can sustain for longer if you are slow running, states this study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

2. Reduces injury risk

Compared to high-intensity running, running at a slower speed lessens the impact on your muscles, ligaments, and joints, which lowers the chance of injury. This study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine states that higher running intensity leads to an increased risk of sustaining a running-related injury. Runners who trained at a slower pace experienced a lower risk of injuries compared to those who ran at a faster pace.

A woman tying her shoe lace.
It is important to choose shoes with ample cushioning to absorb impact and provide comfort for slow running. Image courtesy: Pexels

3. Enhances fat burning

Since slow running primarily burns fat for energy, it may be a great workout for controlling weight and reducing body fat. Slow running, when combined with resistance training, can be an effective strategy for fat loss and body composition improvement, states this study, published by the National Institutes of Health, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

4. Boosts running efficiency

Slow running emphasises forming your endurance as well as form. Slow running helps you develop a better running mechanism as well. Also, the chances of less injury can lead to more efficiency. You can also recover faster.

5. Promotes consistency

People are more likely to maintain a regular slow-running schedule. Slow running is enjoyable and easy, which helps to develop long-term fitness habits.

How to do slow running?

If you are looking to start slow running regularly, here is what to keep in mind:

  • Pace yourself: Ensure you can hold a conversation comfortably. Use a heart rate monitor to stay within 60-70 percent of your maximum heart rate.
  • Form: Maintain good posture, and a relaxed stride. Avoid overstriding.
  • Hydration: Drink water before, during, and after your run to stay hydrated.
  • Breathing: Practice deep, rhythmic breathing to maximize oxygen intake.
  • Warm-Up and Cool Down: Include dynamic stretches before and static stretches after your run to prevent injuries and aid recovery.

What are the best shoes and clothes for slow running?

Shoes

The shoes should provide appropriate cushioning. Choose shoes with ample cushioning to absorb impact and provide comfort. Ensure the shoes offer good arch support and stability. The best running shoes are those that fit well, leaving enough room for your toes to move but not too loose to cause blisters.

Clothes

Make sure to wear moisture-wicking fabrics that keep you dry and comfortable. Dress in layers that you can easily remove as your body warms up. If running in low-light conditions, wear reflective gear or bright colours for safety.

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A woman running
Slow running can be done at any time of the day. Image courtesy: Pexels

What is the best time for slow running?

The best time for slow running depends on personal preference and lifestyle. However, there are benefits of slow running at different times of the day.•

  • Morning: Running in the morning can boost your energy levels and metabolism for the rest of the day.
  • Evening: Evening runs can help relieve stress and unwind after a long day.
  • Consistent Schedule: Choose a time that you can stick to consistently, as regularity is key to developing lasting habits.

Can slow running make you lose weight?

Yes, running slowly can help you lose weight. “You burn more calories over time by staying in the fat-burning zone for longer when you keep up a steady pace. When combined with a healthy diet, leisurely running can be a useful tool for fat loss and weight management,” says Spoorthi. It’s a great option for long-term weight management and exercise because of its durability and less danger of injury.

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