Slow Jogging and running is America most popular participatory sport. The number of races and runners is at the highest in history, and the trend is unlikely to change anytime soon. At the same time, large numbers of runners get injured nearly half in any given year, according to some estimates. What should be an enjoyable activity is often one filled with pain, or becomes an abandoned pursuit.

Slow Jogging and Running in America

Most runners get injured because they are going too fast too soon, are overtraining, have faulty running form, and or are wearing improper footwear.

Other people want to become runners, but never even get to the point where they do enough to get injured. They’ve been told “no pain, no gain,” and think that exercise should be hard work all the time. To them, running feels like an unenjoyable chore. Despite their best intentions, they’re unable to stick with it.

There has to be a better, more efficient, healthier, and pain-free approach to running especially one that will appeal to beginners and runners of all shapes and ages. Distinguished exercise researcher and veteran runner Hiroaki Tanaka, PhD, who is known as Japan’s running guru and is the author of several sports science books, has found that way. His licensed method, known as “slow jogging,” is ideal for injury free running. It also helps participants lose weight faster and prevent and treat many lifestyle diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Slow jogging is a healthier and natural way to run.

Slow Jogging is a timely and useful update to legendary track coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman’s bestselling book Jogging, which was published nearly a half century ago and has sold more than one million copies. That book launched America’s first running boom. We hope that Slow Jogging will convince many more Americans to take up running—whether for health and fitness reasons, to lose weight, to limit wear and tear on the body, or just to have fun. This book will tell you all you need to know to improve your life through an effective but sustainable workout program.

In Japan, you will see people slow jogging everywhere, and you’ll see all kinds of people doing it. You’ll see the elderly, moving at two-to-three miles per hour, which for many people is close to walking speed. There are also busy businessmen, who know that five minutes of jogging a few times a day can be as beneficial to their health as twenty or thirty minutes of continuous exercise.

Then there are experienced runners who alternate intense training with slow jogging, giving their bodies a chance to recover and reminding themselves of the pure, childish joy of running in fresh air, which tends to get lost in serious training schedules. There is even Japanese Empress Michiko, who appeared on national TV on the day of her eighty-first birthday and explained that she jogs every day to stay in good health.

The key to slow jogging is what we call niko niko pace. In Japanese, niko niko means “smile.” Unlike traditional training, which requires concentration and effort, slow jogging is more like taking a walk, at an intensity light enough to enjoy conversation or, if you’re by yourself, to just smile. Slow jogging also gives you a rare opportunity to spend time with friends and family, or to refocus in solitude. While having such a good time, you will not notice the time passing and calories burned.