Why You Should Think Twice Before Running Every Day

While running can be a great way to boost your mood and improve your health, it doesn't come without its risks. Going for a run every day, especially if you routinely cover a lot of miles, can increase your risk of overuse and stress injuries (via Insider). In fact, according to VeryWell Fit, one of the most common reasons for injuries in runners is taking on "too much, too fast, too soon," without leaving adequate time for recovery.

Aside from the physical strain, your brain might need a break from running, too. Even though you may feel great after a run, every workout increases the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in your body. As director of the University of Florida Running Medicine Clinic, Dr. Kevin Vincent, frames it (via Runner's World), "The body doesn't know if you're running away from danger or if you're running for fun." Often, those cortisol spikes level out naturally, but if you're already under a lot of chronic stress, running every single day can exacerbate those cortisol imbalances (via Shape).

What should you do instead of running every day?

If you needed a reason to take a day off from running, you're in luck: taking one or more rest days per week can actually make you faster, stronger, and healthier. If you're aiming to stay in shape, cross-training is an even more effective way to build strength and speed. Incorporating other exercises like swimming and cycling can provide active recovery, allowing you to rest certain muscle groups while strengthening others (via Healthline). The rest day allows the muscles to repair micro-tears, becoming stronger.

You can also use your recovery days to decrease your stress level by practicing yoga, tai chi, or myofascial release techniques (via Self). In addition to the soothing benefits of the practice, you'll also improve your flexibility, breath control, and range of motion — an ideal combination to get you ready for the next time you lace up and hit the track.