8 Benefits of Running
1. Manages Weight
It goes without saying all exercise is good exercise, but running may be one of the most effective forms when it comes to torching calories. In fact, runners have shown to burn calories even when they stop running, also known as the “afterburn effect.” And while calories are not the only piece to the health puzzle, their control certainly has an impact on weight loss and management.
2. Promotes Heart Health
Considering running is touted as the king of cardio, it really is no surprise heart health tops the list of benefits. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests even running at slow speeds drastically reduces the risk of heart disease. Running can also improve cholesterol levels, especially shown to increase HDL or the “good” cholesterol, and keep blood pressures at normal healthy levels.
3. Strengthens the Legs
There is no doubt regular runners have strong legs. But what people may not realize is that not only are the muscles strengthened, but the bones and surrounding joints, too. Building a strong lower body lessens the risk of imbalances, especially as advancing age becomes a strong risk factor for falls.
4. Regulates Blood Sugars
Exercise and running helps regulate blood sugars by up taking glucose for usable energy, rather than remaining circulating in the bloodstream. Especially if managing diabetes, it is important to monitor blood sugars prior to running and pack a convenient snack to limit the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which may cause dizziness, faintness, and weakness.
5. Enhances Cognition
Along with “clearing the mind” during a long run, research has shown running enhances cognition, especially when compared to inactive individuals. In essence, the mental demands of navigating, monitoring, and responding during runs activates parts of the brain that may be linked to improved memory and thinking skills.
6. Reduces Stress
Although running to personal records (PRs) is enticing, some runners may be running to simply feel better or reach that so-called “runners high.” Running releases endorphins, also known as the “feel good” hormone, which can boost mood and reduce stress. So rather than turning to food or other harmful practices, utilize running as a positive stress-relieving technique.
7. Boosts Confidence
From running your quickest mile to finishing your first 5K, half-marathon, or marathon, there is no doubt reaching and conquering goals boosts confidence. And not to mention just the physical, but the mental strength that is generally gained!
8. Improves Overall Health
Reaping the single benefits of running are attractive on their own, but the totality of them all approaches the ultimate finish line! Running improves overall health by benefiting the mind, body, and spirit, keeping the mind sharp and body energized!