Last Updated: February 6th, 2021

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With all the craze going around with running, it makes me wonder…

Is Running Necessary For Fitness?

Running is not necessary for fitness, however, it is one of the most cost-effective ways to be fit. Also, it will provide you with excellent cardiovascular benefits. If you run regularly, it will have an almost therapeutic effect on your mind. As a result, you will have a more focused and sharper mind.

Well well, then what is all the craze about and can you become fit only by running? Let’s tackle this question now.

Can you get into shape just by running?

Yes, you can get into shape just by running.

However, there is one caveat to that. You have to keep the other parameters of your life the same.

Let’s say, you start to run for 30 min every day. With an 8 mph speed, you can run 4 miles.

This is a great distance and you can reap full benefits for your cardiovascular health.

But, due to this added workout, you become fearless and start hogging.

Now, what will happen?

The caloric deficit that you were creating through running is getting filled up with the extra food you are consuming.

As a result, you will be at the same weight or worse, you will start gaining weight.

So, although you should start getting into shape due to running, you will actually become more out of shape due to your bad choices.

You may also like: Is running a mile a day enough cardio? Can you lose weight?

Is running necessary for fitness

Is running 30 min a day enough?

Yes, it is enough to run 30 min a day to have a great workout. However, it depends on the amount of effort you are putting in.

For example, if you are just walking or strolling most of the time and not running, then it is of no use.

Your focus should be to improve gradually.

No matter how small you start.

Initially, I could run only for a couple of seconds. Gradually I started to add more seconds until I reached a min.

Once there, you can gradually stack up half a minute at a time until you can run 30 min non-stop.

However, once you have got habituated to run 30 min continuously every day, you should focus on switching up exercise.


After a certain amount of time, your body will get used to running.

So, your fitness level will hit a plateau. You won’t be able to reap any extra benefit from it.

If you switch up your workouts, you will be able to have a better fitness level.

You may also like: Is Running 4 miles a Day Healthy? Know This.

Is running better than the gym?

Not necessarily. It all depends on your goals.

If you are planning to get lean, then running can be better.

It can burn almost 2 times more calories than weight lifting.

However, if you want to have a more muscular structure, then the gym can be a better option.

What I found is, a combination of both gives you the best result as your body doesn’t get too used to one type of workout.

You may also like: Is running a mile a day enough cardio? Can you lose weight?

Running and fitness

Should I join a gym or just run outside?

If you want to get a more natural running experience, it is better to run outside.

It will give you a real-time experience. This is especially true if you want to run a race in the near future.

Running on a treadmill can never give the required skills you need like:

  • Dodging a poodle of mud.
  • Tackling the sudden rain.
  • Tackling the hot and humid weather.
  • Running on a windy day.
  • Maneuvering through people and traffic.
  • Feeling the resistance of the ground below your feet.

You should, of course, use a treadmill now and then.

However, see to it that you run on a treadmill that has a good amount of cushioning.

Otherwise, you will have a bouncing motion as you are running on the belt.

These can lead to injuries and can seriously damage your knees.

Also, if you want to have a good workout, stay away from the manual ones.

You should always use an automatic treadmill made for your height.

Related Questions

How running changes your body?

This is a huge topic in itself. Let me give you only the highlights:

  • Increasing lean muscles.
  • Decreasing subcutaneous fat.
  • Increased metabolism.
  • Better bone density.
  • Increases endurance.
  • Improves cardiovascular health.
  • Improves circulation of blood.
  • Rids the body of toxins and improves overall health.

What are the emotional benefits of running?

Running not only works on your body but also works on your mind.

Here are some emotional benefits of running:

  • Better brain health
  • Less depression
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Better mood
  • Stronger mood

Although this is just the tip of the iceberg, however, this topic deserves its own separate post.

This will give you a general idea of how running can benefit you emotionally.

Also, to further improve your mood, use running as a form of meditation.

Madhusree Basu

Madhusree Basu

Author, Admin

Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.


Kowalska, M., Fehlau, M., Cymerys, M., & Guzik, P. (2019). A thousand words about running fitness tests. Journal of Medical Science, 88(3), 184-191.

Buchheit, M., Mendez-Villanueva, A., Simpson, B.M. and Bourdon, P.C., 2010. Match running performance and fitness in youth soccer. International journal of sports medicine, 31(11), pp.818-825.

Buchheit, M., S. Racinais, J. C. Bilsborough, P. C. Bourdon, S. C. Voss, J. Hocking, J. Cordy, A. Mendez-Villanueva, and A. J. Coutts. “Monitoring fitness, fatigue and running performance during a pre-season training camp in elite football players.” Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 16, no. 6 (2013): 550-555.

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