How Running Can Change Your Life
If you’ve even casually worked out, you’ve probably given a treadmill, elliptical, or even just jogging on your own a try. However, you would be surprised at just how much running can do for you and how it can change your life. It has a myriad of benefits that you can access by putting in a little extra time. So, while you may have tried the trial of running, let’s take a look at why you might want to work it into your regular workout.
Get in Shape
First, let’s take a look at the obvious benefit of running: it can help you get in shape. Running falls under the category of cardiovascular exercise which is often lumped into aerobic exercise.
If you want to run to lose weight, you will want to push yourself. You will want to try to and run just a little further than you think you can to make sure you get the best workout possible. On the other hand, though, you won’t want to push yourself so hard that you get injured. Instead, work your way up slowly.
You also don’t have to train like an athlete if you want to lose weight. Running can be a great exercise even if you only run a little bit each day. In other words, you don’t have to run a marathon every week just to reap the weight loss benefits of running.
Of course, you can also walk to get aerobic exercise. Walking, though, won’t offer you the best workout when compared to running. One study even looked at a comparison between moderate exercise in the form of walking and vigorous exercise in the form of running. The study looked at participants over the course of a little over 6 years. The results were measured by body mass index (BMI) and the exercise energy expenditure (MET). At the end of the study, it was concluded that running was the changes in BMI were greater for running.
Running Is Great for Your Heart
As noted earlier, running is a great cardiovascular exercise. In simpler terms, this means that it is great for your heart.
There is the concern that many runners show signs of poor cardiac health. A study conducted took a look into 50 men who ran a collective 3,510 marathons over the course of 25 years. Participants were selected based on their lifestyle of running and their sex, as many male runners show signs of elevated coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores. At the end of the study, it was concluded that this was a case of correlation rather than causation as the high CAC scores were associated with other risk factors, not running itself.
On the contrary, running can prove to be extremely beneficial to your heart health. Since it is a great cardiovascular workout, it can strengthen your heart and blood vessels. Additionally, it can improve oxygen flow in your body. Finally, it can reduce your risk of problems such as heart disease and stroke.
Running Can Help Your Mental Health
Running and other exercise can help you be a happier and mentally healthy person as well. When you run, you might notice that you feel better afterwards. There is a science behind this as well, it isn’t just a feeling.
There have been multiple studies that suggest running can help depression. It isn’t just running, though, it is a proven fact that exercise in general can help to boost your mood. Specifically, it can help manage moderate cases of anxiety and depression.
This helps with your mental health because when you exercise, it releases endorphins in your body that help to make you happier and less anxious. On top of that, it also increases your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that is also known as the “happy chemical” because it directly affects your mood.
Even if you aren’t depressed, running can help you to deal with everyday stress.
Running Is Great for Bone Density
Another great benefit of running is that it can increase your bone density. That might sound counterintuitive. After all, running does stress your bones. However, this stress sends essential minerals to your bones, making them stronger.
This statement is backed too. One study in particular took a look at this to see if running really did help with bone density.
The study particularly looked at long term running and its effect on lumbar bone mineralization. The participants were 14 volunteers that were members of a running club. Separate analysis also used the data from 23 runners that were available over the course of the story.
At the beginning of the study, they were aged 55 to 77 years old. To understand the results, they used computerized scans of the first lumbar vertebra or lower back to see how the bone mineral density changed.
At the end of the study, it was concluded after 5 years that the runners had a higher bone mineral density. In other words, those long term runners showed stronger bones. However, this study did show the caveat that if a runner was to workout too much and lose too much weight, bone mineral density could suffer. So, even if you are a long term runner, you should be careful not to overdo it when you are working out.
Joint Strength and Stability Will Increase
In addition to bone strength, you can also depend on running to help increase the strength of your joints. This is a matter of building up your strength. At first, you might find that running on uneven terrain leads to a twisted ankle but as you train you will notice that you aren’t as prone to sprained ankles and if you sprain your ankle it might heal a little bit faster.
It Can Boost Your Confidence
Finally, a benefit of running is that it can improve your confidence and self-esteem. As you go along, you can set your own goals. When you reach these goals, you will feel a sense of accomplishment that you gain from reaching these goals.
You might also find confidence in how running can help you get into and stay in shape. There is something to be said about controlling how your body looks and how you feel about your body which running can help you do.