Are you Aware of the Health Benefits of Running?
If you’re thinking about taking up running, or you’re already a runner looking to find out the kind of health paybacks you’re getting, then take a minute to read this article about the health benefits of running.
Physical Benefits of Running
There are physical benefits like weight loss, protection against heart attacks and strokes, and bone and joint health. Here are just a few of the many health benefits of running.
- Weight loss—most physical activity results in weight loss, but did you know your body continues to burn calories after your run? It’s called EPOC, excess post oxygen consumption.
Losing weight also lowers your risk for type II diabetes. Experts suggest losing just 5% of your total body weight can drastically reduce your risk for developing type II diabetes.
Extra weight causes strain on your bones. Our skeletons were only designed to support so much mass. Pelvises, hips, knees, backs, and ankles can all become worn out from the strain of excess weight. Joints struggle to support your bones if there is not adequate surrounding muscle to support them. Running helps build muscles to take some of the pressure off joints AND muscle helps burn fat!
- Protection against heart attacks, strokes, and maybe even cancer!—any cardiovascular exercise helps your heart. Getting your heart pumping tones large heart muscles and eventually lowers blood pressure because the valves push a greater amount of blood through with every beat.
High blood pressure can be a major contributing factor to stroke and extra weight can also strain the circulatory system leading to stroke.
A recent scientific study reveals that regular exercise may help prevent certain types of cancer and definitely helps patients recovering from a round of chemotherapy!
- Joint and bone health—weight bearing exercise such as running can help increase bone mass to prevent fractures due to weak and thinning bones. Running helps improve the health of knee cartilage.
Again, running helps keeps body weight down, so strain on your knees is reduced. One medical publication estimated that every pound of extra body weight can feel like 4 lbs. on your knees. If you are only 10 pounds overweight this can wreak havoc on your knees!
- Lung health—running causes you to breathe deeply to stretch air-sacs and expand your lungs. Full lungs apply pressure to the lymph system moving fluid and toxins through the body. Deep breaths also help expel airborne toxins from the lungs.
There are also countless psychological health benefits of running. If you run outside, you get to smell the fresh air and absorb vital vitamin D from the sun which can improve your mood. If you run inside, you will still reap most of the emotional effects.
- Natural antidepressant—running for just a half an hour on a treadmill can make you happy. Ever heard of “runners high”? Some runners report a feeling of euphoria after a marathon or even a shorter run. The reason for this is that the brain releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are the brain’s natural ‘feel-good’ hormones.
- Running keeps your brain sharp—everyone experiences age-related mental decline. Around age 45, ‘brain fog’ starts to set in, but there is good news, one of the health benefits of running is mental sharpness.
- Running reduces stress and helps productivity and creativity—running gives you alone time with your thoughts. You have time to think through problems, relieving worry and uncertainty.
Moderate exercise can boost creativity for up to 2 hours after a workout. A surge in energy and memory retention can help increase productivity, so a midday or morning workout is optimal for keeping you on your toes at work! There are just so many benefits of running that one cannot ignore.
Running offers countless health benefits, not all of them physical; although the physical benefits cannot be ignored. Most people take up running to lose weight, many people continue running because of the fantastic mental effects.
Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week; this is just a half hour 5 days a week to get these benefits. Everyone can make time to jog 30 minutes on the weekdays.