Did you know that many experts believe that people are built to run? This comes from various researches that show that we have evolved the way we are, including the length of our legs, the shapes of our hips and feet, the shock-absorbing tendencies of our spinal discs, as well as our ability to sweat have encouraged us to become extremely effective endurance runners. All of this allows us to run mile after mile while reaping various benefits from the activity.
In fact, there are so many benefits for our bodies and brains that are associated with running, that just 20 to 25 minutes of running on a daily basis can transform your life. Feel that is an exaggeration? Read on to be surprised in how many ways running can improve the quality of your life.
Helps You Stay Fit
Let’s start with the most basic and noticeable benefit of running. Running is a great way to burn calories, which can then help you burn off those extra pounds. A 160-pounds person running at the pace of 5 mph (about a mile in 12 minutes) will burn about 606 calories. Whereas a 200-pounds person will burn off 755 calories in the same time. Going faster and running at 8 mph (a mile in 7 minutes and 30 seconds), those same people would burn 861 and 1,074 calories, respectively.
Hence, running on a regular basis is a great option if you want to improve your fitness levels and stay fit in the long run.
Significantly Improves Your Cardiovascular Health
Running is an aerobic activity that is good for your heart. Generally, people who run more are more fit when it comes to cardiovascular health. For these benefits, you don’t even have to spend hours on the track. According to the study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, just running for about 5 minutes per day has the potential to add years to your life.
Other researches have also shown that people who run at least 40 miles per week have healthier hearts as compared to those who run 13 miles per week. If you start training for your first marathon, it can help reverse age related vascular stiffening. Additionally, running can also help keep your cholesterol levels in check.
Improves Your Mind and Fights Age Related Cognitive Decline
As you age, your brain starts to deteriorate. Although this decline is inventible, it can be slowed down through various means. Research indicates that running is one of the best activities you can partake in if you want to keep your mind healthy as you age.
However, these benefits aren’t limited to older people. Another research on the cognitive-boosting effects of aerobic exercise showed that running improved the working memory and focus in children. Young adults saw a similar boost in their working memory as well as their ability to switch between tasks.
Delays The Onset of Natural Death
30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise on a regular basis can reduce or delay your risk of dying from most age-related causes. Getting an hour or more of movement may have even more benefits. Meeting these exercise guidelines can significantly reduce your risk of developing various forms of cancer, according to a major review of research.
Although there are various types of aerobic exercises you can perform to reap these benefits, running is one of the easiest ways to incorporate this level of activity in your life. You don’t need any specialized equipment or training to start running; all you need is an open field or a park and you’re good to go.
Improves Knee Health
Many people believe that running can increase your risk of knee injury and cause knew osteoarthritis. However, this is far from being true. Often, knee pain is a sign of overtraining or a need to improve one’s form of flexibility. Yet, running in itself is never the cause behind knee pain.
Although knee pain can cause you to become demotivated about running, it is important to figure out the root cause of the pain so you can continue running. A study that took place over 8 years with 2,637 participants found that the more people ran, the less likely they were to suffer from knee pain or osteoarthritis.
Improves Mood and Can Potentially Lift the Symptoms of Depression
Almost anyone can see a boost in their mood by spending 30 minutes on the tracks or a treadmill. However, even people who suffer from major depressive disorder can see a significant improve in their condition by running on a regular basis.
The great thing is that you don’t necessarily need to maintain a proper running speed to reap these benefits. The mood-lifting benefits were similar for people who moved slower speeds also. However, running can elevate your mood in a way that is similar to recreational drugs, as it stimulates the same pleasure and reward receptors. So if you’re feeling blue and need a pick-me-up, running may be a much better option than alcohol.
Although there aren’t many risks related to running, it is important to take some precautions to ensure that you don’t end up contracting an injury or other issues.
The risk for an overuse injury can increase when you run on a daily basis. Overuse injuries are a result of taking on too much physical activity at a pace that doesn’t allow your body to adjust to it. They can also be due to technical errors such as overloading certain muscles or running with a poor form.
To avoid these issues, keep the following things in mind.
- Wear proper running shoes while you run, and make sure to buy a new pair on a timely basis.
- If you’ve never ran before, then start by running less. Then gradually increase the number of miles you run each week.
- Always remember to warm up before running and stretch afterward.
- Use the proper form of running.
As long as you take these precautions, the chances of you having any issues while running will reduce significantly.So find an open field, and start running as soon as possible. The earlier you start, the better it will be for you in the long run.