Running is good for your health
The article in brief:
- Running is good for your body and mind and is a great form of aerobic exercise.
- Running can help fight diseases such as cancer, heart problems, and diabetes.
- Running can improve self-confidence, sleep quality and decrease stress levels.
When you think about running, the first benefit that comes to mind is that it will help you improve your fitness. Running is very popular and with the technology available today we can easily map the routes, who does what, and when.
However, running can actually improve your overall health, did you know that? Running benefits the whole body in ways you may not have thought possible.
With that in mind, let’s look at ways in which running is good for your health.
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Running can help with weight loss
Running is a great form of aerobic exercise. When we run, we get our metabolism going and burn calories. If we burn more calories than we consume, we will lose weight. Remember though, you will also need to eat a balanced and healthy diet.
The amount of calories you burn varies based on the distance and speed you run, combined with your height and weight. You can use a calorie counter to track how many are actually burned while running.
Did you know that you continue to burn calories even after exercising? This is an added benefit and is called post-workout oxygen consumption or EPOC.
Depending on how long you’ve been running and how fast, post-exercise calorie burning can last up to a few hours.
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Running can help strengthen joints and muscles
I bet you’ve heard that running is bad for your knees; there are studies that have shown that this is not true, and, instead, running can actually increase bone mass and slow down osteoporosis.
Running can also help strengthen your lower body and core or midsection muscles.
While many people consider running to be cardiovascular training, it is also strength training for the legs. I assume many women would like to have a butt like Beyoncé and running offers a great way to firm up the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
When you run, your core muscles, which help hold your belly and support your spine, are strengthened. A stronger core will not only make your coveted abs appear but will help you maintain better posture.
But remember that muscles want protein, so you need to maintain a balanced diet that includes adequate protein intake. Maybe grab a handful of nuts and seeds before going for a run.
Running can improve your mood
Have you ever heard of the runner’s high? Well, it’s not a myth, it really happens. Exercise, including running, can make you feel that feeling of well-being.
This is believed to be due to an increase in endocannabinoids; a hormone that is produced by our body, which has an opioid-like effect. These hormones produce a feeling of euphoria and reduce anxiety. They also reduce our ability to feel pain.
Research has found that even exercising for just 30 minutes can make you feel better.
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Running can help relieve depression
Running has also been shown to help with depression and anxiety.
When you’re feeling down, you may not be able to find the strength to get up off the couch, nice and warm, to go for a run, but it might be one of the best things you can do to feel better.
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and releases endorphins, which are our body’s natural antidepressants. Running has been shown to be as beneficial as medication and therapy in treating depression.
Running can help you cope with stress
Have you had a really hard day at work and still feel overwhelmed when you get home? Can’t turn off your brain? Going for a run can help relieve these feelings.
Go for a run, whether it’s outdoors or on a treadmill at the gym. Maybe put music in your ears or go for a run with a friend. Taking a break and just thinking about running can help you relax and also solve problems.
Stress can cause a loss of appetite and interfere with sleep. By exercising, you will expend excess energy and good hormones will be released, and you will find that your sleep quality and appetite will improve.
Running can help build confidence
Today’s fast-paced lifestyles don’t always lend themselves to finding time for exercise. It’s much easier to come home after sitting at your desk all day at work and collapse in front of the TV. This sedentary lifestyle does not help our self-esteem.
When we are fit, we feel stronger and have more energy, we feel better about ourselves. Running can help us lose weight and strengthen and tone our body and give us more energy.
Set goals and improve every day to achieve them. You can start running 10 minutes a day, slowly, you will realize that you run several kilometers a week.
Your physical strength will improve, you may lose weight, but overall you are achieving your goals. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and increase your self-confidence.
Running can help prevent some diseases
Some doctors recommend running for people with certain diseases, including:
- High blood pressure.
- Early-stage diabetes.
- Coronary heart disease.
If you have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, you may think running will make it worse. This is not the case; being more active can actually have a positive effect and lower blood pressure in the long run. Obviously, without excess.
If you are overweight, you run a higher risk of getting diabetes. Running can help with weight loss, so logically it can help with diabetes prevention. Being more active, in combination with a healthy diet, will also reduce blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
Osteoporosis literally means porous bones. Our bones are living tissues that are constantly being destroyed and replaced. As we age, especially in women with menopause, the replacement of new tissues becomes less frequent and our bones become more fragile and can break easily.
Running can help strengthen bones, and the younger we start the better. Running encourages the lower body to carry all of our weight. This type of exercise causes the muscle to strain on the bone, the stress of which makes the bones stronger and healthier.
Running can also help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women. Exercising regularly helps maintain a healthy weight, which in turn will help regulate hormones and the immune system. A healthier immune system is better able to fight disease.
Running can also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease is caused by a buildup of plaque within the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Running helps keep our arteries more flexible and able to provide a good blood supply.
Studies have shown that running for an hour or more per week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 42%.
Running helps you have a healthier heart and lungs
Your heart is a muscle, and just like all other muscles in your body, it benefits from regular exercise.
The heart supplies oxygen, through the blood, to the rest of our body. Running helps your heart get stronger and work more efficiently. This has the added benefit of making the heart work more efficiently even during rest.
The lungs are responsible for supplying oxygen to our body, including the muscles, which require it to function.
When you drive a car, the faster you go, the more fuel it consumes. Likewise, when we run, the faster we go and the more miles we go, the more oxygen our muscles will require.
To address this question, we need to increase our breathing rate. Running increases our respiratory rate and the faster we run, the greater this increase will be. This in turn improves our lung function.
Our lungs work more efficiently even when we rest, once our lung function has increased.
Running can help improve memory
Sometimes, you do like me that when you walk into a room then you wonder what did you go there for? This, unfortunately, happens more and more often as we get older.
As we age, our brains shrink. Exercise, such as running, can help increase our brain cells and reduce brain “shrinkage”.
Research has found that the hippocampal area of the brain, which is responsible for memory and learning, improves when running regularly.
Running can help extend your life
No, we haven’t found the fountain of eternal youth, but running can really help extend your life.
Research has shown that running can extend our life expectancy by 25 to 40 percent. This can mean three more years than people who don’t run. When we run, our bodies keep themselves fitter and healthier and are more efficient at fighting certain diseases.
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What to do now that we know that running improves health
Want to know the best part? Even if you’ve never raced before, what you do from now on can benefit your health. As an extra precaution, if you are not used to exercising, remember to check with your doctor before you start running.
Running is, most likely, one of the most popular forms of physical activity. It doesn’t cost much and you can run whenever you want, adapting it to your lifestyle.
You can also take part in a marathon, nothing is impossible, just remember that you will have to do it gradually. You won’t become the next Mo Farah or Usain Bolt overnight!
Running can also be a moment of socializing, maybe try to see if there are any clubs you can join.
Other things to consider when running
There are some health and safety tips you should consider:
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water, before, during, and after your run.
- Bring a charged cell phone with you.
- If you get hurt, stop and ask for help.
- If you run at night, wear reflective clothing.
- If you use headphones to listen to music, don’t put them so high that you can’t hear what’s going on around you.
Hi, I am Matt Storace and I am a former personal trainer and founder of Beast Biceps. We had to find ways to train at home. When I started looking for the equipment I needed, I quickly realized that there were no good resources online. So I created Beast Biceps. It is a treasure trove of information developed from my experience and research. Read More Here