How Running Gives You a Leg-Up on Good Health?
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are runners and those who should be. No other sport compares to running when it comes to reaping benefits for your whole body. But, if you’re still hesitant about lacing up your sneakers, read on to see how running gives you a “leg-up” on good health (pun totally intended):
- Healthy heart
Running promotes heart health and has long been hailed for its cardiovascular benefits and this, for a good reason: running is a great workout for your heart. When your legs move, they “squeeze” blood toward your heart, which is then forced to pump the blood right back. As you run faster, your heart has to work harder and, therefore, it becomes stronger.
- Stress fighter
Running lowers your stress level. Research has proven that running is effective in reducing anxiety by boosting levels of serotonin, similar to the way certain medications work. A lot of runners find the repetitive motion of running to be a meditative and calming experience; many say they can work through the issues that are causing them stress during their run.
- Desease crusher
Running slashes your disease risk. Regular running significantly lowers the risk of some of the most serious forms of cancer, such as breast, colon, endometrial and lung. A recent British study concluded that highly active people were 24% less likely to develop colon cancer, than less active people. Also, the National Cancer Institute discovered that women who perform vigorous activity (such as running) have a 30% lower risk of developing breast cancer, than women who do not engage in vigorous activities.
- Longer living
Running enhances longevity. A 1984 study conducted by the Stanford University School of Medicine studied runners and non-runners over the age 50. Each year they were tracked; the running group reported significantly less disabilities, than the non-running group. By the end of the study in 2005, only 66% of the non-runners were still alive, while 85% of the runners were.
- Weight loss booster
Running promotes weight loss. Running torches calories at an insanely fast rate, burning more calories per minute than any other form of exercise, except cross-country skiing.
- Mood enhancer
Running boosts your mood. Ever heard of a runner’s high? That’s the great feeling that follows a run and the endorphins your body releases are to thank. This happiness boost is so significant, that running has been proven effective at treating depression.
- Brain power
Running amps up your brain power. Because running increases blood flow to the brain, it helps the brain receive essential nutrients and oxygen and, in turn, can make you a lot more productive at work. And, actually, there’s even more to it: running improves your ability to learn and recall information and it stimulates the creation of new nerve cells and blood vessels within the brain. This means that running, actually, helps your brain grow, which is important, as the brain tends to shrink with age.
- No more sleepless nights!
Running helps you sleep better. Running is physically exerting by nature, so it can make you tired, so tired, in fact, that you won’t even hear that bulldozer going right outside your window. People who run claim they fall asleep quicker, experience a deeper sleep, wake up less often and feel less tired throughout the day, than people who don’t run. Yes, that’s right: in case you haven’t heard, running can be a good insomnia treatment.
- Gorgeous skin
Running gives you a radiant and beautiful complexion. Exercise makes you sweat; sweat rids your body of toxins that can clog pores and lead to pimples and blemishes. Running also transports more oxygen and blood, carrying nutrients to the skin and helping to improve overall skin health.
- Tone your body
Running gives you total body toning, because it’s an exercise that involves your whole body: whenever you run, you are moving your legs, engaging your core and pumping your arms. Because running requires so much movement, it draws energy from fat stores throughout the body, diminishing them over time. Runners reap the added bonus of having significantly less belly fat, than their non-running peers, not to mention much stronger quads and glutes.
If you’ve never thought about running, perhaps you should give that a second thought. And, if you’ve ever wondered why you should start running, hopefully, the benefits listed above answer that question. Now, the question becomes: Are you going to lace up your shoes and get out there?
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