One of the biggest benefits of running is that it’s good for your health. You may also have heard there is a trade off in that it is bad on your knees. This is not entirely true. With proper running form you can actually strengthen your knees.
Running is one of the best ways to strengthen the heart and ensure the efficient flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body, which helps decrease your risk of a heart attack. Regular exercise such as running, combined with maintaining a healthy weight, is one of the best ways to naturally reduce your blood pressure if it’s above normal.
If you have high blood pressure, anxiety, high cholesterol, high levels of stress or fatigue, running can alleviate all of these symptoms. In many cases, committing to a running program may even be able to restore your body to a state where prescription medication may no longer be necessary to treat these conditions. Of course, only your doctor can make this determination.
Running also improves your auto-immune system, so your body is more effective and efficient at fighting off illness. Running is also known to increase bone density, which can fend off osteoporosis.
Many people start running to lose some extra pounds. As one of the most vigorous exercises out there, running is an extremely effective and efficient way to burn calories and lose weight. If you’re already at a healthy weight, running can help you maintain it. Just make sure you don’t think running gives you a license to eat everything and anything. The basic rule is that you must burn more calories than you take in to lose weight — still applies to runners. If you burn 800 calories running and then have a 1,200 calorie burrito you are behind where you started.
Regular runners often see an increase in their confidence and self-esteem. The self-esteem benefits of running are increased if you set a specific goal, such as running a 5K or even a marathon, and accomplish it.
As with many forms of exercise running is a great cure for stress, emotional strain and even mild depression. Research has shown that healthy adults who exercise regularly are generally happier than those who don’t. Many runners also enjoy reaching the “runner’s high” — that euphoric, clear, and calm state they feel after a long run. A clear mind can make you more productive in your career or family obligations.
Research shows that healthy adults who exercise regularly are generally happier than those who don’t. As a runner, you’ll likely feel more energetic and creative. You will see benefits in countless areas of your life well beyond just your physical appearance.
If you aren’t enjoying all of these benefits from simple, inexpensive exercise you are missing out!