At a Glance
- Running is a cardiovascular exercise that you can do anytime it suits you, and it won’t break your bank account.
- Running provides both physiological and psychological health benefits.
- Running can help towards giving you the bikini body you always wished for.
Do you sit in front of your television watching the latest marathon and make excuses why you could never run? Or sponsor friends doing charitable runs and never think of participating yourself?
We can all find reasons not to run, we’re not fit enough, it’ll hurt our knees, we don’t have the time and countless more.
Running is something that just about anyone can do and reap the numerous benefits from.
Let’s take a look at some of the convincing reasons why you should start running now and see if we can change your mind.
You can go for a run anytime you want, before work, after work, at the weekend, even on vacation. It’s a fitness routine that’s accessible whenever you want. Even better, it doesn’t matter what the weather’s doing, come rain or shine you can still run.
Running’s also a great way to explore your local environment. Go and see the places you don’t see from sitting behind the wheel of your car. You may be surprised at what you find.
Count Your Pennies
Overindulged during the holidays and looked at the cost of a gym membership? I think you’ll agree it can be expensive. Go running, it’ll save you a fortune. All you really need is a good pair of running shoes; and we all like an excuse to buy new shoes!
Make New Friends
Running is an exercise routine that’s on trend. You could sign up for the next fun run in your local area or join a running club. You don’t have to be the next Michael Johnson or Shalane Flanagan. We all started somewhere and you may meet like-minded people who’ll help and advise you.
Running’s an excellent form of aerobic exercise which will speed up your metabolism. A faster metabolic rate means you’ll burn more calories. Provided you’re eating a healthy balanced diet and consuming fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight.
And the good news doesn’t stop there: your body will continue to burn calories after your run has ended. Depending on how far and how fast you’ve run the benefits can last a few hours.
Tone Up Your Body
Ever fancied a butt and abs like Jennifer Lopez? Start running!
Running exercises all the muscles in your lower body and core. It’ll tone and strengthen your quads and glutes which will help tone your butt and legs. It also exercises your core muscles, which are responsible for pulling in your stomach and strengthening your spine.
The added benefit of stronger core muscles is better posture.
It’s worth remembering that your diet can also play a part in building strong, healthy muscles. Make sure you get enough proteins in your diet.
Improve Your Mood
The seemingly mythical runner’s high actually does exist! Due to an increase of hormones called endocannabinoids that are released when we run, we get that feel good factor.
These hormones, as the name would suggest, have a similar chemical substance that is found in marijuana. They produce a feeling of euphoria, lessen anxiety and reduce our ability to feel pain.
Deal with Stress
Going for a run can give you some valuable ‘me time’. With the hectic lifestyle we lead today, getting away from it all by going for a run can give you time to unwind and think. Plug in your earphones, tune into your favorite music and take in the scenery.
Stress can interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep and lower your appetite. Running will help exert higher energy levels and release good hormones, which can help you sleep better and improve your appetite.
Feeling down and can’t be bothered to do anything?
Running releases endorphins due to the increase of blood flow to our brain. Endorphins have been called our body’s natural antidepressant, and have been shown to be beneficial when dealing with depression.
Boost Your Confidence and Self Esteem
Today’s sedentary lifestyle doesn’t help your confidence or self esteem. It’s far easier to come home after sitting at a desk all day and slouch on the couch in front of the latest episode of your favorite TV series, rather than exercise. Set the button to record and go for a run.
Looking good, feeling strong and having more energy will make us feel better about ourselves. Running can help us lose weight and strengthen and tone our bodies and give us more energy.
By setting yourself goals and achieving them you’ll get a sense of accomplishment and boost your confidence. Start by setting yourself small targets and then increase them. You might be running that marathon before you know it.
Have a Healthier Heart
Your heart is basically a muscle that supplies oxygen, via the blood, to the rest of your body. Just like all the other muscles in our body it benefits, from regular exercise.
Running is a cardiovascular exercise that’ll help your heart to become stronger and work more efficiently, even when we’re resting.
The risk of coronary heart disease is also reduced by running.
Coronary heart disease is caused by a buildup of plaque inside the arteries which supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Running helps keep our arteries flexible and better able to deliver a good blood supply. Being fit and active can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 50 percent.
Exercise that raises the heart rate has also been shown to lower the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Increase the Efficiency of Your Lungs
Our lungs, along with our heart and circulatory system, are responsible for providing oxygen to our body. To function and produce energy, our muscles need oxygen. Our lungs also expel unwanted carbon dioxide
When we run our muscles demand more oxygen and our levels of carbon dioxide increase. To deal with this we need to increase our breathing rate. Running increases our breathing rate, the faster we run the bigger the increase. This in turn increases our lung function and improves our respiratory health.
Our lungs then work more efficiently when resting as our lung function has increased.
Increase Your Brain Power
Do you sometimes struggle to remember the name of something, or find that your concentration isn’t what it used to be?
As we age our memory deteriorates. Studies have shown that running can improve your memory and ability to learn.
The increase of neurons in the hippocampus area of our brain, which is responsible for memory and learning, are increased when we run regularly.
You’re not going to suddenly be the next Einstein but you may at least remember what it was you wanted to add to your shopping list.
Let’s Build Stronger Bones
Ever heard the age old excuse “I can’t run it’ll damage my knees”?
Well this isn’t true. It’s been shown that to the contrary running can help strengthen your bones. For women, even running for just a couple of minutes can help.
Running is a weight bearing exercise—our lower body carries our entire weight. This type of exercise causes the muscle to pull on the bone, the stress of which makes the bones stronger and healthier. This can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is the name given to deterioration in the bones and literally means porous bones. As we get older our bones become more fragile and can break easily. This is because the body’s no longer able to replace the living tissue that our bones are made of.
When we run the constant movement of our knees causes our muscles to pull on the bone. Due to this repetitive stress our bones become stronger and healthier.
Prevention of Disease
Running can help prevent some diseases including:
- High blood pressure.
High blood pressure or hypertension can be helped by regular running. There are numerous risk factors that can lead to high blood pressure. These include being overweight, stressed and inactive. Running can help with these risks and lead to a lowering of your blood pressure.
Being overweight puts you at more risk of developing diabetes. Running can help with weight loss, and it naturally follows that weight loss can help with the prevention of diabetes. Being more active, combined with a healthy diet, will lower your blood sugar levels and increase your sensitivity to insulin.
Running can also reduce the risks of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer, endometrial cancer and colon cancer. Regular exercise can lower the levels of certain hormones associated with cancer and improve the digestive system. Combining these factors with maintaining a healthy weight and boosting our immune system leaves us more able to fight disease.
Increase Your Longevity
In the words of the hit song by Queen, Who Wants to Live Forever?.
Running won’t make you live forever. However research has shown that moderate running can extend your lifespan by up to three years.
When we run our body becomes fitter and healthier and more efficient at fighting certain diseases.
Keep Your Liver Healthier
A sometimes forgotten about major player in being healthy is our liver. Everything we put in our mouth passes through it so it needs as much TLC as the rest of our body.
Running as a regular exercise, combined with a healthy diet and restriction of alcohol, can help keep our liver functioning better.
You may be more inclined to turn down that last round in the pub if you plan to go running in the morning!
Get a Healthy Glow
This may not be something you’d consider when you think of the benefits of running, but it can make your skin healthier and give it a glow.
When we run we increase the supply of oxygenated blood to the vessels of the skin giving us a healthy glow that can last for several hours after our run.
The skin is also the largest organ on our body, covering an area of about 20 square feet. Exercise increases blood flow to the whole of our body, including the skin. As a result old cells are washed away cleansing your skin from the inside.
Remember whenever you run outdoors, wear sunscreen and maybe a hat. You don’t want to undo all the good work your blood is doing for you by exposing yourself to too many UV rays.
Detoxify Your Skin
Want a quick mini facial? Go for a run.
When we run we sweat, this can propel toxins, oils and dirt out of our pores. This is a good reason not to go running with full makeup on, as it can clog the pores further. Also remember to wash your face after you finish your run so that the debris doesn’t get sucked back into your pores.
Need Help with Cellulite?
None of us like the look of orange peel skin, but running may help improve it.
Cellulite happens when the connective fibers under our skin weaken or lose elasticity.
You can get firm, toned skin with regular running which, combined with losing weight, can reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Another benefit of running that may not have crossed our minds is how it affects our hair.
We’re back to unclogging pores and blood flow. When we sweat from our scalp it helps unclog the hair follicles. Increased blood flow provides nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles, strengthening the roots and promoting new hair growth.
Want to Improve Your Sex Life?
Running, as well as releasing endorphins, reduces stress, improves circulation and gives us more stamina and energy.
When we have a more positive feeling about ourselves and our body shape, we have more confidence and are less inhibited and more relaxed about how we look.
Back to the blood flow again. Exercise increases blood flow all around our body, including those parts that are necessary to perform well in the bedroom!
Regular exercise will also help you become more flexible which means you might be able to switch things up a bit to keep your sex life more interesting.
Runners come in all shapes and sizes, and from all ethnicities and economic backgrounds. Hopefully the convincing reasons we’ve shown you will give you the encouragement and motivation to join them and start running now.
A Few Words of Caution
- Check with your doctor that it’s ok for you to start running.
- Ensure that you follow a healthy, well balanced diet.
- Keep hydrated, drink plenty of water before, during and after running.
- Take a charged mobile phone with you.
- If you hurt yourself, stop and get help.
- If you’re out running at night, you may want some reflective clothing.
- If you’re using headphones don’t have them on so loud that you can’t hear what’s going on around you.