There are quite a number of activities taken on by many people in their quest for a healthy life; running might actually be the best of the bunch. While there are enough reasons to run as there are runners, some very well-known health benefits of running are improved cardiovascular health, increased bone density, and an improvement in overall physical and mental well-being.
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Below are some of the lesser known health benefits of running you might have (or haven’t) heard of;
- Healthy Heart: Running is good for a healthy heart as it strengthens the heart muscles and aids the flow of blood and oxygen through the body (two things that are very helpful in preventing heart attacks). Running on a regular basis also helps in the control of high blood pressure.
- Healthier Lungs: Belly breathing is the correct breathing technique for runners; deep breaths come from deep in the belly, not shallow. This deep breathing ensures the lungs use more of their potential. And here’s for former smokers, running helps to recover some lost lung potential caused by smoking.
- Warding off Osteoporosis: Running being a weight bearing exercise helps bone stay healthy and produce more bone cells. The muscles and tendons pull away from the bone as you exercise. It is nevertheless a good thing as it is what causes the production of more cells by your body. This helps your bones to get strong and stay even stronger.
- Strengthens the Immune System: Runners seem not to have as many colds, allergies or menstrual distress as those who do not exercise. Researches have shown that long distance running helps build resistance to infections and certain cancers. A particular study reveals that over 60% of recreational runners had lesser colds than they had before they started running.
- Better Sleeping Patterns: Those who run regularly often have less trouble falling asleep at night and usually have a sound sleep compared to those who do not exercise. This will enable you to have a better all day performance not just in running but in everything you do.
In addition to the above mentioned physical health benefits of running, there are also a many mental health benefits provided by running. Running does not only reduce stress, it has been proven to relieve mild forms of depression. Regular runners more often experience a period of euphoria referred to as a ‘runners high’ that helps improve their overall outlook on life. Other mental running health benefits are discussed below;
- Increased Happiness: It is a well-known fact that people who eat well and exercise regularly are usually happier than their non-healthy colleagues. Runners often seem to have more energy and offer more creativity throughout the day because they channel out their frustration and stress through running. There is undoubtedly enough time to think and come up with new ideas while engaging in a long run in the morning.
- Confidence Building: Runners build enough confidence as they increase their stamina and accomplish their exercise goals. Once they reach each set running target, a sense of accomplishment creeps in. Overcoming every obstacle further boosts their self-confidence. The new trim, muscular body that runners develop also enhances their self-image.
- Improved Attitude: Because the act of running releases endorphins, regular runners’ attitudes tend to improve. They feel an overall sense of happiness that sometimes leads to euphoria. To treat addictions and depressions, most doctors often recommend running. Individuals who are engaged in a regular running program have something to focus on rather than those things that cause them to be depressed.
If you don’t run already, you should consider doing so. You can see all the benefits that regular running provide as you begin and continue running. If you run already, then this authenticates the good that you are doing for yourself.
Conclusively, while there are many health benefits of running, there are potential drawbacks as well. That is why it is very vital to consult a health professional before undertaking any new exercise program. With caution and common sense however, the many health benefits of running are both accessible and achievable.
This article was written by Natalie Payne.
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