About 50 million Americans (15% of the US population) participate in some form of running or jogging. In fact, about 18.1 million also register for races! Not many people realize the numerous health benefits of running on a regular basis, though.
What running benefits can you experience? Read on to find out!
After reviewing this guide, you can grab your running gear feeling fueled and inspired. Give your motivation levels a boost with these amazing reasons to run.
1. Improved Heart Health
Adults need about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week for optimal cardiovascular health. Running once or twice a week can help you give your heart health a boost. Meanwhile, you’ll meet the government guidelines for physical activity, too!
In fact, people who run once a twice a week (for a total of six miles or less) reap as many heart-health benefits as marathon runners.
Don’t forget; your heart is a muscle. Each time you go running, your cardiac strength will increase. Your strong heart will have an easier time pumping blood as you grow stronger.
As a result, your entire cardiovascular system will become more resilient and efficient with time.
Meanwhile, increasing your heart rate also allows your heart to pump more blood, oxygen, and nutrientsto your working muscles. Oxygen and nutrients help other areas of your body heal. Your recovery time between workouts could improve as a result.
Your heart and lungs will grow stronger. Running allows a greater volume of blood per beat to pump through your body. Your lungs will become more powerful and able to take in more air per breath, too.
When your cardiovascular efficiency improves, you’re also able to run with less effort (and faster)!
2. Strengthen Your Musculoskeletal System
Are you aiming to develop more muscular strength this year? You’ve likely noticed that runners have very muscular, defined calves. With the best running shoes and a routine, you can develop stronger muscles, too.
Running can help build muscle over time. It can also help boost your overall strength.
In fact, running is considered a total-body workout. You can strengthen your upper body, core, and legs each time you head outside. If you’re interested in stronger lower-body muscles (including glutes, calves, hamstringers, and quads), grab those running shoes!
Make sure you’re using proper form to reap these running benefits.
Your bones, ligaments, and tendons will also adapt to the pounding of running, building resilience over time. Bone strength is important as you age. You could lower your risk of fractures, osteoporosis, and osteopenia if you pick up jogging.
Running can help you maintain bone density. It can also decrease the rate of decline as you age.
Make sure you’re fueling your body with enough protein and calories to support your new training regimen, though!
3. Improved Knee Health
For some people, the health benefits of running extend to their knee health.
Over time, recreational runners are less likely to develop knee arthritis than sedentary people. Marathon running might also improve some aspects of knee health in middle-aged runners. It could help reduce inflammation in the joint.
Make sure you’re wearing the best running shoes before you head out, though. Improper footwear might do more harm than good. Change your shoes every 500 miles or switch up the surfaces you run on.
Strengthening your legs and hips with a runner-focused strength workout could help you avoid knee pain in the future.
4. Reduced Risk of Disease
Running benefits your overall health. For example, it can help reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
When left untreated, high blood pressure could increase your risk of vision loss, stroke, heart attacks, and other concerns. Running could help. Regular running can reduce your resting systolic blood pressure.
Improving your high blood pressure could reduce your risk of other health concerns.
Other health benefits of running include reduced risk of diabetes, some cancers, and respiratory diseases. Running can improve your body’s ability to control blood glucose. It can also reduce inflammation that could otherwise lead to these conditions.
Running benefits your immune system, too. There’s a connection between the body’s natural defense system and physical activity. Running could improve your body’s ability to fight infection and lower inflammation.
It could also boost your gut microbiota composition.
Running could even help improve the body’s antibody response while lowering your risk of upper respiratory infections and influenza.
Reduced Risk of Cancer
High-fitness exercisers, including runners, could have a lower risk of developing 26 varying kinds of cancer than low- and non-exercisers.
Some cancers are linked to inflammation. Remember, running could lower inflammation throughout your body, therefore reducing your risk of cancer.
Running might also prove helpful for patients who have already developed cancer. Regular exercise might lower side effects from cancer treatments, supporting patients both emotionally and physically.
Running might also reduce mortality from cancer and decrease the likelihood of developing a different type of cancer.
Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure could increase your risk of other health conditions. Running is a non-drug-related means of lowering your blood pressure.
Both aerobic and strength training can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
5. Improved Cognitive Function
Running benefits your mental health as well.
Running can help boost your heart rate and blood flow. As a result, more oxygen-rich blood can reach the brain. Running is therefore able to stimulate the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
This protein boosts the survival and growth of brain neurons.
Running can even boost your total brain volume, improving gray matter.
These benefits can improve your cognitive function while decreasing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Running can also boost your self-esteem. For example, you’ll feel more accomplished and capable of doing anything after you complete a marathon. That self-esteem boost could motivate you to complete other feats.
6. Improved Glucose Regulation
High blood glucose levels can increase your risk of diabetes. It can also shorten your lifespan.
Running more often could:
- Prevent/reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes
- Benefit patients who already have type 1 diabetes
- Prevent those with pre-diabetes from developing type 2 diabetes
Runners have a 72% lower rate of diabetes development than non-runners.
7. Boost Your Mood
Remember, the health benefits of running extend to mental health as well.
For example, running can help boost your mood, concentration, and quality of life. Once you experience that runner’s high, you’ll feel ready to take on the day!
Running can also reduce tension and stress. Lowering your cortisol (the stress hormone) levels can benefit other areas of your health.
Grab your running gear and get ready to take on the day! You can check out KicksCrew to get started.
You don’t have to head outside alone. Consider jogging with a group of friends. If you need new reasons to run, make it a social event.
Running with friends and family can encourage you to socialize more often, which might further boost your mood.
8. Cultivate Mindfulness
If you’re struggling to tune into the present, consider running more often.
Running can help you remain mindful. You can experience mental clarity as a result.
As you run, you can experience sensate focus. Make a mental note of anything you smell, taste, feel, touch, or hear during your run. This process can help pull you out of an internal state if you’re feeling stressed.
9. Lose Weight
Looking to shed some unwanted pounds? Running involves moving the entire body. As a result, it can help you burn more calories than other activities.
You also don’t have to run fast in order to maximize your fat burning.
In order to experience these running benefits, make sure to pair regular exercise with a healthy diet.
Running burns about 100 calories per mile. Making running part of your routine can help you lose weight and keep it off.
Make sure to remain consistent once you add running to your routine.
10. Get Some Shut-Eye
Understanding the importance of exercise can benefit your health after a jog. For example, exercising throughout the week could help you sleep.
Sleep is important for your mood, energy, and quality of life. It also ensures your body heals after a long day.
Exercising can help you fall asleep more quickly. It can also improve the sleep quality you get each night.
If you’re struggling to get enough shut-eye, head out for a jog each morning! Try to avoid running right before bed, though. Otherwise, the energy burst you get from a run could keep you up.
11. Add Years to Your Life
Many people who pick up the habit of running maintain that healthy habit. Over time, running could increase your longevity.
In fact, runners have a 27% lower risk of early death than non-runners.
Remember, running can also reduce your risk of certain health conditions, which could further extend your lifespan.
Lace Up: Experience These 11 Amazing Health Benefits of Running Today
Don’t neglect your health this year. Instead, grab the best running shoes you have and get moving! Then, you can start experiencing these amazing health benefits of running and so much more.
Work up a sweat today!
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