If running 1 mile a day is good for health and will help you live longer, running 2, 4, or 6 miles a day must be better, right?

Not exactly.

Running will improve longevity, but running more miles won’t add more years to your life. It could have the opposite effect.

Running an excessive number of miles each week gives a diminishing return on the health benefits of the activity.

High-mileage runners have shorter lifespans than low-mileage runners and are equal in life expectancy to those who don’t exercise at all.

Unknown Reasons

New research conducted by the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pa. has been unable to find the factors that determine the difference between those who run a little and those who run a lot.

The researchers have ruled out medications that runners may be taking as being the cause of the difference.

Researchers focused on runners who took NSAID pain relievers, which have been linked to heart problems, and aspirin which is linked to improving heart health.

No link was discovered between the two different groups.

Risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, family history of heart disease, and smoking history, were also disclosed by the study participants, but no correlation was found.

Medication taken or not taken, along with present or potential health conditions, were considered during the research in an attempt to find determining factors.

High-distance runners are dying younger than short distance runners for unknown reasons.

Keep Running

Doctors and researchers are not advising people not to run, just to keep abreast of new research findings. Keep running, but maybe not as far as you once ran.

It seems that under 20 miles each week is sufficient to improve health, control weight, and increase longevity. 

Over 20 miles of running every week seems to creep into the area where more harm than good is being done.

Dr. James O’Keefe, director of preventive cardiology at the Mid-American Heart Institute in Kansas City, is quoted as saying that the sweet spot for jogging for health benefits is a slow to moderate pace, about two or three times per week, for a total of one to 2.5 hours.

Reduce Injuries

Learn proper running techniques to prevent injury and keep running a moderate amount.

Keep your posture straight and body erect to help prevent neck, shoulder and back pain. Keep mid-section stable, lean slightly forward, keep eyes focused ahead of you and don’t overstride to help avoid injury while running.

Also, make sure to stretch properly before starting to run. Stretching helps to keep the muscles strong, flexible and healthy.

Stretching allows our joints to maintain their range of motion. Otherwise, our muscles become shorter and tighter, which results in weakness and inability to fully extend. 

Wear and Tear 

Running any distance regularly will cause wear and tear on the body.

The knees and feet take quite a pounding each time the foot strikes the ground while you’re running and that force reverberates throughout the body.

Learning how to run smart by holding your body correctly, landing your feet correctly on the ground and wearing the proper shoes will reduce the amount of wear and tear the body takes while running.

Long-distance runners increase the amount of trauma their feet, knees, hips, and back receive simply because they are running more.

The impact force on the feet and knees is one to three times your bodyweight depending on several factors, such as the smoothness of your gait, running technique and the surfaces that you run on.

Joint pain can go from toes to hips from excessive running or by running improperly. Back pain, shoulder pain, and even neck pain and headaches can be a result of running too much.

Any type of chronic pain reduces the quality of life and is a good example of more not being better when it creates other problems.

The force the knees joints receives with each landing of the foot slowly creates friction that wears down the joint cartilage. The trauma force is felt in the hip joints as well and causes cartilage deterioration also.

Knee pain caused by cartilage loss and bone rubbing against bone will result in knee replacement surgery and a possible reduction in quality of life.

Hip pain, hip replacement surgery, fallen arches, bunions, heel spurs, and several other debilitating foot problems can also develop because of excessive running.

The health benefits and increased lifespan outweigh the normal wear and tear on the joints with short distance running.

However, the excessive wear and tear on the body and joints of a long-distance runner outweigh the benefits of running for healthy exercise.


Medical professionals always teach us moderation in all things and thin includes running.

Run if you want too, if it makes you feel good, and is your exercise of choice, just do it in moderation, so it increases your longevity and not decrease it.



Mayo Clinic

Francis Rogers Palmer III, M.D.

A world-renowned expert on aesthetics and facial shaping, Francis Rogers Palmer III, MD is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon with over 27 years of experience and author. He is an inventor of multiple medical products and devices. Dr. Palmer is an honors graduate of San Diego State University, and received his MD from the University of California – Irvine. He completed fellowships with the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery.Dr. Palmer has appeared on ABC’s The View, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News, Dr. Phil, and Entertainment Tonight. He also has been featured in Allure, Fit, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, US Weekly, People, In Touch, The New York and Los Angeles Times. British magazine Tatler named him “one of the world’s best plastic surgeons.” He is the author of The Palmer Code, What’s Your Number? ®.

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