We do a lot of running on a daily basis – running from our problems, running late, running out of time, running into revolving doors by mistake, you name it. However, most of us unfortunately don’t get enough of the classic variety – actual running – one of the best workouts out there to get in shape fast and boost your cardiovascular health. Running is as close to a miracle drug as it can get, providing lots of scientifically proven positive effects on our mind and body alike.
Whether you’re a beginner, thinking of trying a new weight loss routine or you’re already further down the line and looking for some extra motivation to lace up those shoes and go for a light jog today, here are some of the top benefits of running:
Benefits of running that are too great to ignore
Improves cardiovascular health and lung function
Running is one of the best aerobic exercises out there. Its positive effects on the heart and lungs alike have been proven by numerous scientific studies – regular runners have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and an improved lung function. You don’t have to run a marathon or strive for a 10k to reap the benefits, especially if you’re a beginner – even a light daily jog can do the trick, for starters. Consistency is key.
Free endorphins for a happier you!
One of the most amazing benefits of running is its miraculous effect on improving your mood and lowering your stress levels. Have you ever felt the weight of a hard day wearing you off and draining your energy levels? Have you ever had an important decision to make, but hit a roadblock? Do you struggle with depression or anxiety? Even just a short running session reaps plenty of benefits for your mood - a free dose of precious endorphins helps you clear your head, focus better and feel better. The after effects of a good run are so powerful they even created a term for it – runner’s high. Try it for yourself!
Helps you shed those pounds fast
Running for weight loss is the preferred method of many people looking to get in shape and see results fast. That’s because running does wonders for sculpting the body and reducing fat levels – it’s one of the best ways to get stronger, leaner legs in particular but it also works pretty much all muscles in your body. Bonus - it’s also one of the exercises that burn the most calories over an hour period. The effectiveness of running for weight loss depends on intensity, the type of terrain (pavement vs. trail), your stride, your technique and your speed.
Beginners can see results even after a few weeks of daily jogging but once you’ve done it for a while, I would recommend pushing your body and your workouts one step further by running on an incline at the gym or trying new, challenging terrain. Don’t forget proper form and always get a quality pair of running shoes to avoid injury!
It’s accessible and economical
Some other arguments to choose running as your preferred workout are convenience and low cost. Running doesn’t require fancy gear or equipment and you’re not dependant on other people either, as opposed to team sports or even indoor exercise classes.
Running can be done anywhere, whether it’s a 5k on a forest trail, a quick jog around the block or even a marathon, which means you’ll also save tons of money. All you need are some standard sporty clothes, a good pair of running shoes and a bit of motivation. It’s cheap and accessible and you can fit a light session even in a busy schedule.
Live longer and be less prone to several diseases
Studies have shown that running regularly can actually add years to your life. That’s because it can significantly cut your risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or even several types of cancer.
Promotes knee health
Although running is a high impact exercise that puts pressure on our knees and joints, with good, proper form, running can actually improve knee health, flexibility and bone strength altogether. I'd recommend checking in with your doctor if you have certain chronic conditions that pose bigger risks when running and find appropriate strategies. However, the good news is that even people with arthritis can run safely, with proper caution.
Helps you sleep like a baby
There’s nothing quite like hitting the hay after a long, draining running session. Its longterm effect on the quality of sleep is perhaps one of the greatest benefits of running. If your sleeping patterns are off or if you’re dealing with insomnia or other sleep issues, try incorporating running into your routine for a few times a week.
Fights cognitive decline
Several studies suggest that running is one of the best ways to keep your brain young and healthy. It protects cognitive function and reduces your risk of memory loss. Running has also been proven to improve focus and concentration and decision making abilities, which proves that it can do wonders for our mind at any age.
These are just several of the most important benefits of running that I have found. Whether you’re just trying running for weight loss or your morning jog is your free therapy, it’s certain that lacing those shoes and hitting the streets or trails can do wonders for our health or even our self-esteem (hello, runner’s legs!)
Why do you run? What other positive effects have you experienced that I failed to mention? Always excited to hear your thoughts so leave them down below!
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