If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run. – John Bingham
If you’ve decided to take on some type of exercise this year, why not consider running? It provides multiple health benefits, improves your fitness, and positively impacts your mental health. The perks of running are many and proven, so let’s talk about some that will entice you to get moving.
Running Increases Your Lifespan
A 2018 meta-analysis of studies on the connection between running and longevity established that runners have between 25 and 30 percent lower mortality rates than non-runners. Another research provided proof that runners get three extra years of life. This is mainly due to benefits that come from running, including:
- lower cholesterol
- less fat
- stronger bones
- better hormone regulation
Running Helps You Sleep Better
Sleep deprivation is quite common these days among young and old alike. This happens because of health problems, excessive use of electronic devices, and accumulated stress. Sure, sleeping pills can provide a solution, but only short-term, and they have their side effects. Running enables you to make permanent changes, as it helps you fall asleep faster and improves the very quality of your sleep.
Running Is Simple and Gives You Control
Now, we don’t mean to say that running is easy. What we are trying to say is that running doesn’t require specific equipment or instruction. Also, you don’t have to abide by anyone’s schedule other than your own to engage in it.
The problem with running, however, is that you’ll likely want to skip it altogether in the winter, especially if you are sensitive to cold weather and you don’t have the right clothes. That’s where the benefits of having your own treadmill come in. You can work out inside your house when you don’t feel like going out or have to stay inside for any reason (after all, we’ve learned a lot from pandemic lockdowns).
Running Improves Your Mental Health
Running makes you feel better, both physically and mentally. A meta-analysis on the relationship between running and mental health found that physical activity can be a part of depression treatment and that it can be as efficient as therapy and meds. Of course, this does not mean that you should rely solely on running to treat an illness as serious as depression. Use it as an effective supplementary treatment.
Running Improves Cognitive Functions
Let’s talk some more about the benefits of running for your brain. Because it raises heart rate and blood flow, running improves brain health and stimulates the release of a protein called a brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This pushes the growth and preservation of neurons in the brain. As such, running is an efficient tool for preventing cognitive deterioration, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
Running Does Wonders for Your Immune System
The immune system is always important, particularly now, when it could be the only thing standing between us and developing serious symptoms of the COVID-19 disease. A 2019 study established a firm relationship between the body’s defense system and physical activity. It has proven that running:
- improves the body’s resistance against diseases
- reduces the risk of influenza and respiratory diseases
- lowers inflammation
- improves the antibody response
Running Helps You Lose Weight and Stay Fit
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight, then there is no better way to accomplish it than by taking on running (along with an appropriate diet).
Running can burn about 100 calories per mile. If you commit to it, as a long-term regimen, you can lose the excess pounds without the yo-yo effect people usually get when they commit to a restrictive weight-loss diet. It takes work and commitment, but the results are worth it.
Running Improves Bone Health
A study compared nearly 700 marathon runners with non-active people and found that the arthritis rate of the runners is below that of the U.S. population. Bone health is significantly improved in people who are regular runners. The particular benefits of running are reserved for the endurance of the knees, joints, and lower back.
Running Lowers the Risk of Diabetes
One of the factors that contribute to developing diabetes is high blood glucose levels. This is often the result of excess weight. Running, as we’ve mentioned, helps with lowering body weight and keeping the blood glucose levels within healthy boundaries. A recent study confirms that runners have a 72% lower rate of diabetes development.
Instead of running away from your problems, you should be running to solve them. These nine reasons to take up running should be enough to entice you to at least consider this type of physical activity.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).
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