The Benefits of Slow Jogging: Slowing Down to Speed Up and Improve Running Skills

Featured Image Slow Jogging

The well-known fable of the tortoise and the hare has science behind it! Learn about the advantageous experience of slow jogging. Your running aficionado personal training clients may never race again!

Dr. Hiroaki Tanaka, a health sciences professor from Japan’s Fukuoka University, wants to change our perspective on “the need for speed”. Tanaka co-wrote “Slow Jogging: Get Fit, Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Have Fun with Easy Running” with Magdalena Jackowska, a marathon runner and slow jogging advocate. He sums up his theory with one simple suggestion: Run only as fast as your body lets you smile.

The frequently referenced “talk test”, easily conversing with a running partner, typically ensures an appropriately slow jogging pace. The Japanese phrase “niko niko pace” encompasses what Tanaka considers a smiling cadence, one that helps lower blood pressure while boosting overall fitness. “Niko niko pace can be very different for each one of us,” he says. For some beginners, this pace may even resemble a walking speed, approximately 2-4 mph.

Slowing Down for Health

A slow distance run offers many benefits:

    • Establishes efficient form
    • Strengthens muscles
    • Promotes efficiency of respiratory, cardio, and muscular systems
    • Fosters handling of physical discomfort/improves discipline
    • Facilitates adaptation of ligaments, tendons, bones and joints to the stress of running
    • Increases size/number of mitochondria, thereby improving use of oxygen and glycogen storage
    • Burns more calories than high-intensity sprints
    • Helps body flush toxins resulting from muscle fatigue

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Cathleen Kronemer is an NFPT CEC writer and a member of the NFPT Certification Council Board. Cathleen is an AFAA-Certified Group Exercise Instructor, NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer, ACE-Certified Health Coach, former competitive bodybuilder and freelance writer. She is employed at the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis, MO. Cathleen has been involved in the fitness industry for over three decades. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]. She welcomes your feedback and your comments!