Running can help you lose weight, tone up, and have better mental focus and clarity. Here, we run you through main health benefits of getting off the couch and hitting the treadmill or pavement.
1. Weight management
As it’s an aerobic activity, running burns a huge amount of calories. Just five 30-minute sessions per week will keep you toned and lean and help you keep extra weight at bay. In a process known as afterburn, your body also continues to burn calories for several hours after your run. Your legs in particular with be strong and lean.
2. Illness prevention
The health benefits of running not only keep you trim but can also help prevent a range of debilitating and even life threatening conditions including type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Running also builds immunity so you are less likely to contract minor illnesses such as cold and flu.
3. Improved mental health
The endorphins released during aerobic activity have a knock on effect long after you’ve hit the shower. Running releases hormones known as endocannabinoids, which studies have shown relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Had a bad day at work or an argument with your partner – running is a brilliant stress reliever and clears the mind with a nice shot of serotonin. A Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise study found that just 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill can coax someone out of a depressive mood.
4. Healthy lungs and lower blood pressure
Running increases your lung capacity and also keeps high blood pressure at bay because your arteries expand and contract while you run, which helps keep your blood pressure within a normal range. This in turn keeps your heart healthy, reducing your risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots.
5. Improved bone density
When your bones are under pressure, such as when you’re running, your body floods them with essential minerals that make them stronger. Strong, healthy bones are necessary for warding off ageing conditions such as osteoporosis. Your joints, ligaments and tendons will also become stronger. This increases the more you run, which means you can run for longer distances, further increasing your strength and fitness. Winning.
6. Fight Alzheimer’s and improve your memory
Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of dementia by increasing the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain. Running also improves your memory and is thought to decrease the likelihood of Alzheimer’s.
7. Better self-esteem
Feeling fitter, looking better, and getting through the rigors of a busy day with a strong body and clear mind helps improve your confidence. Higher self-esteem leads to a more elevated mindset which improves decision making and makes you happier all round!
8. Running is a social affair
If you don’t like the thought of sweating it out on a treadmill in a gym, there are running clubs aplenty to join. Running with a group or club can help with motivation as you are accountable for showing up at a certain time and place to meet your fellow runners. You’ll be mixing with like-minded souls and, after you’ve finished your run, you can go for a well-earned coffee, or leisurely weekend breakfast.