Running is probably the best and simplest form of cardio exercise and certainly is one of the easiest forms of exercise to access. All you need to do is put your trainers on and get going. Some people run with the goal to lose weight or generally keep fit, and some people run to feel free or test their personal limits. Whatever your reason for starting running, there are many positive effects running has on your health, emotional wellbeing and life.
Here are 9-top benefits of running:
1. It’s good for your heart
Running has been scientifically proven to improve heart health. When compared to non-runners, regular runners have been shown to have 50% of the chance of dying from heart disease. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, showed that even five to ten minutes of cardio a day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
2. It’s a great way to lose weight and stay fit
Running burns a lot of calories. In fact, the average 70-kilogram person will burn about 12.2 calories per minute running at a speed of 10-minutes per kilometre. And that’s just on flat terrain, try running on a hill or against wind and you’ll burn even more. According to this study, running causes 90% greater weight loss than walking.
3. It decreases stress levels
For many, modern life equates to increased stress levels. Many runners love the feeling of freedom, the time alone to simply think and potentially problem solve. This form of freedom is often related to meditation which is proven to reduce stress, improve focus and decrease the risk of depression and anxiety.
4. It elevates your mood
The idea of getting out of bed and going for a run might not make everyone jump for joy. However, when you finally convince yourself to do it, post run you feel amazing. Why? Exercise releases feel-good hormones (e.g. endorphins and endocannabinoids) that have the effect of immediately boosting your mood. These chemicals also reduces fatigue, enhances overall cognitive function, and improves alertness and concentration.
5. It strengthens knees, joints and other bones
Many people believe that running increases the risk of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, but that simply isn’t true. In fact, running helps to increase the bone density, ligament and tendon flexibility and strength of your legs and hips, and decreases the risk of knee osteoarthritis – even people who cover 26.2 miles on the regular. Simply, the continuous impact of running causes your bones and cartilage to adapt and become stronger and more flexible. These adaption are not seen in low-impact exercises like walking or swimming.
However, due to the high impact nature of running, injury risks exist, especially with individuals who have a pre-existing condition, poor technique or perhaps over-train. Seeking the support and advice from specialists and undertaking an injury prevention screening is vital to long-term success.
6. It improves brain function
Running helps you to work out your legs and brain at the same time. It’s been proven that regular exercise helps combat age-related mental function, particularly when it comes to things like switching tasks, working memory, and selective attention. This study done in 2012 proves that older adults who exercise, scored better in mental tests than their unfit peers.
7. It helps you sleep better
We all know how essential sleep is for our overall wellbeing. For many running is a form of meditation, with the freedom and ‘time-with-their-own thoughts’ often cited as key drivers for running. Running certainly helps to refresh and relax and to keep your mind free. These benefits reduce distractions and negative thoughts that disrupt sleeping, like stress and anxiety.
8. It prevents disease
We’ve mentioned that running prevents heart and bone disease, but did you know that it also reduces the risk of cancer and diabetes? Activities like running can decrease your blood pressure and lower the production of glucose, which lowers your risk of developing diabetes.
9. You can make friends and see beautiful places
The running community is broad and diverse. You’ll meet like-minded people who have a passion for running in no time. You’ll also get to explore new trails and discover new places. This community and perhaps lite-competition increases the chance of running becoming a habit and long-term exercise adherence.
If you’re a runner or want to start running, it’s important to remember the importance of injury prevention and getting support and advice from specialists like the ones at Wimbledon’s Running Injury Clinic. With over-exertion and incorrect technique, any exercise can lead to an injury.
If you think you may have a running injury and need advice and specialist treatment, then contact us today and we’ll put together a clear strategy for treatment and recovery, so you can be back to your best as soon as possible.