Running is quite possibly the most popular form of exercise for beginners. Many of us try to fit in a run here and there, in our lifestyle, to promote health and well-being. Do you know why it’s good for you though? There are many variations of running, from sprinting to long distance, and from hiking trails to concrete.
Whether it’s a jog around a park or training for a marathon, here are five reasons to get your running shoes on and hit your stride:
With the happiness revolution in full swing, running can give you a huge boost in your mood. There’s a reason why the term “runner’s high” has been coined – running, and many other forms of exercise for that matter, acts like an anti-depressant. The release of endocannabinoids – feel-good hormones – can have an amazing effect. In a 2012 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, 30 minutes of running during the week for three weeks helped increase sleep quality, mood and concentration.
Notice how we didn’t say it makes you skinny? Everyone has a healthy weight and that doesn’t always mean fewer than 5% body fat. Find your healthy weight and use running as a way to get there. Want to boost your fat burning without reducing muscle mass? Try the Tabata Method. Studies have shown that this form of exercise, even though it’s quite shorter than typical, one-speed long distance runs, results in greater weight loss, without the muscular atrophy found with long distance running.
Running can help fight depression, naturally. Not only does it boost your happiness, it also boosts self-confidence and reduces stress. Stress really does your body harm, so any reduction in stress is a good thing, in our books. Additionally, running can help prevent mental deterioration caused by aging. Scientific studies consistently show that fit seniors score better in mental tests than ones who don’t get regular exercise.
Running has been shown to reduce the risk of many diseases and negative health effects, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, and more. Regular running has also shown to lower blood pressure, raise good cholesterol, and boost immunity to colds and other viruses. All of this will add years to your life, as shown by a large number of studies.
One thing many people don’t touch on is the community building aspect of running. Due to its popularity and benefits, it’s usually fairly easy to find a running partner or group. It’s great to go on runs with friends, significant others, and family. If you don’t have anyone to run with, join a running group. Many independent running shoe stores have group runs scheduled and many are complimentary. Check these out, meet new people, and get healthy!