7 Benefits of Running Regularly
We all know that exercise is beneficial to our health, regardless of the type or intensity. The human body is made to move, not be sedentary. Just like other exercises, running has some important and beneficial side effects that you may not be aware of. Check out all the ways running can help your body, mind, and soul.
Running is one of the most beneficial exercises for your heart. During running (or any aerobic activity) your heart pumps faster, increasing blood flow to the body and increasing oxygen consumption. This increase in effort can help to lower blood pressure, keep arteries healthy, and reduce cholesterol. In addition, running lowers your resting heart rate, making it easier to pump blood through the body during times of inactivity. A word of caution, however, running obviously puts a strain on the heart and can be dangerous for someone with a cardiac condition like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (when the heart muscle gets abnormally thick, impeding the pumping of blood).
Increases Lung Capacity
In order to for the lungs to keep up with the heart, runners must breathe faster. This increase delivers more oxygen to the muscles, increasing endurance and reducing fatigue. In addition, this constant exercise of the lungs increases its capacity, making it possible to take in more air.
Improves Mental Health
We’ve all heard of the “Runner’s High,” a feeling of euphoria that comes from our bodies in motion. During exercise, our bodies release endorphins which are a natural antidepressant and pain reliever (which is also why some pains like headaches and menstrual cramps feel better during a run). In addition, frequent exercise makes the body feel stronger, leading to a better mood. And if you do your training outside during the day, the vitamin D from the sun is also a natural mood booster.
By engaging in regular physical activity, your metabolism increases, enabling your body to burn calories at a faster rate. And this burn doesn’t stop at the end of your run, a runner can torch calories at a faster rate at rest as well. A word of caution: be aware that since running is a mega calorie burner, it can also make you mega hungry. Keep an eye on your eating habits to ensure you don’t go overboard to replace that energy.
Strengthens Immune System
During periods of aerobic exercise, the body increases immunoglobulins, an antibody useful in fighting infections. This ultimately leads to a stronger immune system, helping you fight off more bugs that come your way. However, be careful to not over train, as it can break down the body and cause your immune system to weaken, making your more prone to illness.
Increased Joint Strength
While many people think that running is bad on the joints, the opposite is actually true. Running strengthens the ligaments and tendons in your legs which in turn take some of the stress off the joints. However, if you already have a condition that is worsened by weight bearing repetitive motion exercise like running, it can cause added stress to the joints causing them to break down at a faster rate.
While this isn’t necessarily a benefit, running is a good option for someone on a budget. Out of all the sports the human body participates in, running is one of the cheapest. While all you need is a pair of shoes (some people don’t even think you need that), running can be done anywhere at any time. You don’t need any expensive equipment or a gym membership, simply go outside and put one foot in front of the other.