If you aren’t really too much into running, you might change your mind after you give this a quick read through. Obviously exercising is one of the key factors when it comes to living a long and healthy life, but just in case you didn’t know, running is probably one of the healthiest things that you can do.
The benefits of running are very broad in scope, none of which is less important than the other. Running keeps your heart and muscles healthy, it makes your brain stronger, it makes you feel better, and it helps to improve confidence as well. Those are just some of the many benefits of running and to find out what the rest are, just keep reading!
Benefit #1: It Saves Money
One thing that you are definitely going to like about running is that it is cheap. The bottom line is that all you really need to run is a decent pair of running shoes. Other than that, you don’t really need anything and that is definitely a bonus. Nobody wants to spend a ton of money and running helps you do that. Sure, you can buy a gym membership if you want, because there are some advantages of running at the gym, but it really is not necessary.
Benefit #2: Living Longer
Another thing that you will love about running on a regular basis is that it will help you live longer. There is a recent study which shows that on average runners live quite a bit longer than people who don’t run on a daily basis. This has to do with several factors including increased heart and lung health, better circulation, stronger muscles, and the fact that it helps fight obesity, diabetes, and other conditions that have to do with being overweight. The simple fact of the matter is that running will keep you alive for longer. In fact, it is also shown that running on a daily basis can even help to reduce the risk of developing various types of cancer such as colon cancer and breast cancer.
Benefit #3: Eating Carbs
Something else that you might really like about running, especially when you are training for a race or marathon, is that it lets you be kind of a pig and eat a ton of carbs. Many runners engage in something called carb loading before a big race because it helps to produce a lot of energy and lets you get through a race and that’s thanks to the energy producing nature of carbohydrates.
Not only does this mean that you can eat a ton of your favorite pasta, but it actually has another beneficial effect too. What we are talking about here is that the combination of carb loading and going through high intensity training is shown to help increase your physical performance and it can increase your mood as well. We’re not going to go too far into detail in terms of the science behind it, but the fact of the matter is that a load of spaghetti plus lots of training can help you run better and feel better mentally too.
Benefit #4: Meeting People
Something that you may not have thought about when it comes to running is that it can actually help you make some new friends. No, you’re not going to make new friends if you are one of those people that just pops their headphones in your ears and block out the world around you, but it does not have to be that way.
You can join some kind of running group, ask your friends to come for a run with you, or you can even end up meeting new people if you go for a run at the gym. Meeting new people and making friends is always a great thing to do because it broadens your social circle, plus nobody likes being lonely either.
Benefit #5: Making Your Bones Stronger
The next benefit that you are really going to like when it comes to running is that it helps make your bones stronger. This is thanks to the fact that running is a weight bearing exercise. Weight bearing exercises are great for your bones because whenever you put weight on them, especially repeatedly such as when you run, your bones grow stronger.
You see, your bones grow much in the same way as your muscles grow, or in other words, the more you exercise and train them, the more they grow. This is because the stress of a weight bearing exercise such as running forces your bones to produce more bone mass, thus making your bones stronger and thicker.
Benefit #6: Burning Calories
One of the biggest benefits that you can get from running is that it helps you burn a ton of calories and fat. It is shown that 1 hour of running can help you burn as many as 850 calories, that’s pretty much a whole meal! Of course, the number of calories that you burn does depend on how hard you run, but generally speaking, you can burn a whole lot of calories from this simple type of exercise.
Obviously, this can also help you lose weight because if you don’t have enough calories in your body, say if you are on a diet, the energy you need to run will be taken from your body fat reserves, thus helping you lose weight. Another benefit that has to do with weight loss is the fact that high intensity exercise such as quick paced running can also boost your metabolism, meaning that your body is more efficient at converting calories and fat into energy.
Therefore, even when you aren’t running your body will burn more calories and that helps you keep weight off. This also has to do with EPOC, or exercise post oxygen consumption, which in simplest terms means that exercise such as running helps give your metabolism such a boost that you continue to burn increased numbers of calories even hours after you have finished exercising. If you want to find out just how many calories you will burn based on the distance you have run as well as your weight, you can try this free calorie calculator.
Something that you can do to burn even more calories is to engage in interval training, which is where you spend a given amount of time running as fast as you can, and then taking a small break. This type of high intensity exercise increases the number of calories that you burn and helps to boost your metabolism even more. There is actually a study which shows that interval training is much more fun than just regular old running, thus keeping things interesting and helping you stay motivated to exercise day after day.
Benefit #7: It’s Versatile
One thing that is fantastic about running as a form of exercise is that it is very versatile. What we mean by this is that you can run pretty much anywhere. You can run in the park, on the beach, or on your city’s sidewalk. If you like you can go run at the gym or you can run at home on a treadmill too. Heck, you can even run on the spot if that sounds like fun to you.
It’s always nice to engage in a form of exercise that lets you choose when and where you can do it. And that’s another thing too, you can run whenever you feel like it and aren’t restricted time-wise by anything. The when and the where are all up to you, which is something that everyone can definitely appreciate.
Benefit #8: Improving Your Self-Esteem
Something else that you are going to like about running, especially from running outdoors is that it will help improve your overall self-esteem. One of the reasons for this is of course because your body will look better after you have been running for a number of weeks. However, the big reason as to why it helps increase your self-esteem is because it is shown that runners who run outdoors, especially in a natural setting, are scientifically shown to be happier and more confident after having been outside.
Benefit #9: Better Skin
One of our favorite benefits that you can get from going on regular runs is that it can actually help give you better, smoother, and clearer skin. This is because running makes you sweat and when you sweat you excrete a number of bacteria, chemicals, and toxins from your pores, thus helping to fight off skin infections, acne, and other not so pleasant skin conditions.
Sweating also helps your pores to produce certain chemicals, one which is specifically important and it’s known as Dermicidin, an antimicrobial peptide that your body naturally produces. Dermicidin helps to kill bacteria and other unwanted microbes which can affect your skin in a negative way.
Benefit #10: Better Memory
The next big benefit that you can reap from running on a regular basis is that it can help to improve your memory and keep your mind sharp, especially in old age. Recent studies show that regular aerobic exercise such as running, due to a number of factors such as increased circulation and the increased production of chemicals in the brain, helps to increase cognitive function, problem-solving skills, and memory too. Another study shows that running on the regular can even help lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as you age, a disease which no one wants. If you want your brain to function better you should definitely start going for runs.
Benefit #11: Increases Your Mood
Something else that you are really going to like about running is that it can go a long way in making you feel happier, improving your mood, and even fighting off the effects of anxiety and depression. When you engage in regular high intensity exercise your brain produces certain neurochemicals, one of the most important ones being serotonin.
When you exercise the production of serotonin shoots through the roof, and that’s a good thing because it’s a feel happy chemical, one which causes a sense of euphoria, elation, and joy, all things which help to increase your mood and lessen the effects of depression and anxiety. If you have never heard of the runner’s high before, just go for a run and you will see what we are talking about. This also helps to reduce stress levels in your everyday life, and of course stress makes it harder to sleep and can cause some other serious health issues too.
Benefit #12: Boosting Your Energy & Your Sleep
Another big benefit that you can get from running on a regular basis is that it helps increase your energy levels. This is due to a combination of reasons including a higher metabolism which helps convert calories into energy as well as because of the mood enhancing effects of exercise.
Getting your heart pumping with a little run helps you feel more energetic throughout the rest of the day, something which everyone can love. It is also shown that running on a regular basis helps you sleep better, partially due to the fact that you tire yourself out, and also because of the anxiety reducing effects of exercise. If you want to be more energized throughout the day and get a solid night’s sleep, running is a prime way to accomplish those goals.
Benefit #13: Improving Cardiovascular Health
The next benefit that you should be happy about when it comes to running on a regular basis is that it is heart healthy. Just like other muscles and bones, your heart needs to be exercised in order to stay healthy and grow stronger. Running is a form of cardiovascular exercise because it increases your heart rate by quite a bit, thus training it to be stronger.
A healthier heart is very important in terms of physical output and being able to exercise for a prolonged period of time. Not to mention that a healthier heart means decreasing your chances of developing heart and arterial disease, it lowers your chances of suffering from a heart attack, and it helps lower blood pressure too.
Benefit #14: Those Legs
Another big benefit that you can reap from running on a regular basis is that it will strengthen your leg muscles. Not only will running make your legs stronger, but it will also make them look more toned. Strong legs are important for a number of things including mobility, balance, and reducing the chances of breaking something if and when you fall down.
As you can see, there are a great number of benefits of running, all of which work to improve the quality of your life. You will feel better, look better, think better, and be healthier overall. Unless you don’t have legs or suffer from some serious problems, there really is no good reason not to strap on your running shoes and go for a little jog. We aren’t saying that you have to go for a 20-mile run, but a good 30 minutes of running per day definitely is not going to hurt.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about running and the effects on your body, please feel free to leave us a note and we will get back to you as soon as possible!