Running has been a popular activity since the dawn of mankind. Granted, when we were running 4 and a half million years ago, it was more of a necessity then for enjoyments sake. However there are still many valid health reasons today why you should consider including running as part of your weekly fitness routine.
1. Endurance Training Burns Fat Fast
Endurance (or aerobic) exercises burn fat faster than any other form of exercise, and running is one of the most effective forms of endurance exercises. The more you run, the more calories you burn.
Running also strengthens and tones the muscles of your legs and core, which means you will keep on burning those calories even after you have completed your run!
If weight loss isn’t an issue for you, then consider all those extra calories you could enjoy whilst maintaining your current weight through running.
2. Stress Less
Ever wondered why runners say they feel like they are on a ‘healthy high’ after a run? It is because during exercises such as running, our bodies release endorphins at a faster rate. These endorphins not only work to reduce our perception of pain, they also create a sense of euphoria, well-being and achievement.
Running can also be a meditative experience. When we are out there, exploring the city, or the countryside, or the beach (basically anywhere you enjoy running), we have some alone time to just let the thoughts wash past like the surrounding scenery. Despite the effort involved, there is a sense of relaxation and letting go.
Whether you listen to motivational music, an audiobook, learn a language or just listen to your surroundings, running can be a great means of unwinding and releasing stress and tension.
3. No Cost, No Closing Time, No Excuses
If you are a runner, you have a huge advantage over most other fitness related activities. You can run anytime, anywhere AND it’s free! – Sure, it’s a good idea to invest in some supportive footwear, but apart from that you are free to run wherever you like, whenever you like.
If you need motivation, then choose a new running location to mix up your scenery. This way you can adjust to how your body is feeling. If you need something a little more challenging, opt for a soft sand beach run, or a hilly location, and push on through!
4. Get Your Lungs Pumping
If you are running with enough effort and energy to get your lungs pumping that oxygen through your body, then you are doing them a favour. Running encourages oxygen to be pumped down to the lower lobes of your lungs, the ones that aren’t used all that often, which effectively flushes them out and increases their functional capacity.
5. Get Your Heart Thumping
The aerobic practice of running will get your heart beating fast and strong (if it doesn’t, then perhaps you need to reflect on what you consider a jog/run pace!). This essentially strengthens and enlarges the muscle that is your heart. The stronger your heart rate is, the lower your resting heart rate, which makes the whole cardiovascular system more healthy and efficient.
6. Stimulate Brain Activity And Improve Memory Function
Running stimulates the growth of nerve cells and blood vessels within the brain, which work to protect it against the inevitable shrinking that occurs in older age. So essentially it helps your brain stay younger for longer! It does this by preserving the size of the midbrain and hippocampus, which are responsible for vision and hearing as well as memory and learning. Running stimulates endorphins in the brain which encourages a happy and content feeling, and it also supports cognitive function by encouraging larger glycogen stores within the brain.
7. Keep Fit For A Cause
Running is such a popular fitness based activity that you will often find charity runs in areas close by. They usually run all year long, some shorter and less serious, some more challenging and competitive. One thing they all have in common is the means to raise money for a charity whilst you are getting fit!
It is also a great motivator to get yourself out there and training to prepare you for your event ahead. So grab some buddies, or go it alone, and get fit for a cause!