Benefits of Running: Physical and Mental
Running is among one of the most popular forms of exercises because it has some of the best benefits. This includes both physical and mental benefits that have runners coming back for more.
Running is one of the hardest forms of exercise for some. It takes lots of motivation, mental grit and requires building up the muscle strength and endurance to go the distance.
But it does get easier the more the athlete sticks to it. And with so many physical and mental benefits of running there is no stopping once a runner is hooked.
And it just takes just 30-minutes at minimum to start reaping all those many benefits of running.
Within a half-hour, the runner’s heart is pumping and muscles are engaged. This means blood pressure is regulated, blood sugar levels decrease, and calories are being burned.
That’s just physical. Mentally, the mood is already elevated thanks to the boost of endorphins. This means running is a natural antidepressant while also helping ease anxiety.
This is just instant benefits. There is so much more.
Running: Good For The Body
There are so many benefits of running from the head down to the toes.
Physically, running is great for basically all of our major systems. It increases blood flow the circulatory system, strengthens the immune system and has many benefits for the central nervous system. This includes having better mental clarity and reducing the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Running strengthens the lungs. And the faster the pace, the more oxygen inhaled.
Another major physical benefit of running is its promotion of heart health. The heart is a muscle and running essentially is a workout for the heart in a positive way.
“Echocardiographic studies show that distance runners have larger, thicker left ventricles than do sedentary controls; their hearts are more efficient than those of sedentary people, pumping a larger volume per beat,” a medical excerpt reads.
Runners have a lower resting heart rate, a lower risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and hypertension.
Running is also a full-body workout. That means all muscle groups are engaged. Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and the glutes are the primary muscles being worked.
Another physical benefit runners get is stronger ligaments and tendons which means building a stronger body that is less prone to injury or that will take a shorter time to recover for say a sprain compared to those who don’t run.
A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that runners are at lower risk of osteoarthritis (even in the knees) than those who just walk.
Running also sends essential minerals to the bones. Researchers from the University of Missouri suggest that running has more of a positive influence on bones, specifically preventing the loss of bone mineral density compared to resistance training.
Calorie Burn And Weight Loss
Running is a form of cardio. And it torches calories. One of the main physical benefits is its calorie burn and thus weight loss when combined with a healthy diet.
According to Harvard Medical School, running a 10 minus mile burns 371 calories in a 155-pound person in just 30-minute.
The faster the pace, the more calories are burned.
Running requires lots of energy and fuel from the body. The body uses carbohydrates, which breaks down to glycogen as its primary fuel source. But when that runs low, it also takes from fat stores.
Running: Good For The Mind
Along with the physical benefits, there are lots of mental benefits of running.
For starters, the whole “runner’s high” thing is real. When running, the brain releases endorphins and endocannabinoids, but which are feel-good chemicals.
Both the pleasure and reward receptors are stimulated. As a result, runners have an instant boost in mood.
This also means that stress is replaced by happiness thanks to this release of “happy hormones” compared to cortisol, which is released when stressed out.
Along with feeling much more relaxed (despite working up a sweat), it also is a form of meditation. It allows time for the mind to wander and think about problems, leaving the runner feeling insightful while increasing creativity.
Research also found that it boosts gray matter in the brain, which means sharper focus and a reduced risk of depression and anxiety. It can even boost the size of the hippocampus, resulting in better memory and lessen Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Running increases confidence and self-esteem. Runners often learn they are capable of much more than they thought. This carries over from running to other areas in life.
It also makes people more productive and motivation, as well as more inclined to make smarter and healthier choices.
In general, running gives people more energy throughout the day but also promotes better sleep. One of the great mental benefits of running is being able to treat insomnia naturally.
Another great mental benefit is that running gives people a sense of control. Running triggers the part in the brain that controls cognitive flexibility and attention control. This means the runner can better handle and work through stressful situations, as well as having a positive outlook when faced with negative situations.
Conclusion: Running Is Great For Overall Health
There are so many physical and mental benefits of running. This includes everything from the reduced risk of obesity, cancer and heart issues to promoting mental health.
Runners often find the activity is “me time” to decompress from the day or prepare for a big day ahead.
Running is a great way to burn calories, and runners continue to do so even 14-hours after the workout. It’s a great way to start a fitness regimen because it doesn’t require a costly gym membership or classes.
Best of all, runners often become an inspiration to their family and friends for their hard efforts. This serves as a great way to be a positive influence for others.
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