The Health Benefits of Running: 5 Amazing Benefits

the health benfits of running

You come home after work and the last thing you want to do is to lace on those running shoes and head out the door. Am I right? Well before you decide on skipping that run consider the health benefits of running. Below are 5 amazing health benefits of running that I guarantee will get you up and moving.

The biggest complaint I hear about why someone can’t run is they don’t have the time or opportunity to run. Running is one of the least expensive of all exercises you can do, you don’t need a pool or gym membership just put on a pair of running shoes and hit the pavement. Running is a very inexpensive and provides amazing health benefits. So what is stopping you?

Helps Build Strong Bones

  • Unfortunately, as we age our bones lose their density. So what exactly is bone density? Bone density is a measure of the amount of calcium and other minerals found in your bones. The lower your bone density the greater risk you have of fractures now and frailty later in life. Believe me you will be glad you took the time to run and strengthen you bones later in life.
  • So how does running help your bone density? Think about what happens when you run. As you run all your body weight comes down on your feet and legs with each step. Every time your foot hits the ground you create a force equal to 1 1/2 to 3 times your body weight! As an example if you weight 200 pounds you create a force of 300 to 600 pounds. The weight and stress you are putting on your lower body causes new bone tissue to form and makes your bones stronger.

Strengthen Muscles

When I started out running several years ago I found I had to lubricate the inside of my thighs with Vaseline as they rubbed together and became painfully chapped. However, as the weeks and miles went by I found that my thighs no longer rubbed together and I could say goodbye to greasy thighs. I was amazed at the transformation my body had made. My leg and calf muscles did not bulk as I had thought they would from running but instead they had increased their strength, tone and endurance.

Running not only strengthens muscles but it builds and tones your leg and abdominal muscles. Unlike weight lifting, running does not always increase the size of your muscles but it hardens existing muscles.

Boosts Cardiovascular Fitness

Running is one of the best aerobic exercises you can do to keep your cardiovascular system in great shape. So what do I mean by aerobic exercise, or as the gym rats call it, cardio?

Think about the last time you almost missed your connecting flight and had to race across several terminals to get to your gate. The very first thing that happened is you start sweating, you feel your heart pounding like it wants to pop out of your chest, you feel your blood coursing through your veins to feed oxygen to your starving muscles to keep you moving. That is what I mean by aerobic.

Doing this type of aerobic activity like running for a sustained amount of time will strengthen your heart and improve the efficiency of your muscles to consume oxygen. Running not only strengthens the heart but also helps reduce your blood pressure.  As your doctor will attest high blood pressure is a major risk for heart disease.

Improves Your Mood

Whenever I have a stressful day I try to ensure I get in a run even if I have to force myself out that door. I have found that not only does my stress melt away after a few miles but I emotionally feel cleansed and ready to tackle the world again. I am forever amazed at what a brief 30-minute run can do for my mood and outlook on life. No matter how foul my mood was prior to a run it is always improves afterwards.

Doing a run your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins help relieve pain and induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. Does anyone remember hearing about a “runners high”? This is the effect of the endorphins kicking in creating a feeling of euphoria while running.

Burns Those Calories

  • You know that when you run you burn calories no matter how far or how long you run. The average runner will burn approximately 100 calories per mile. The more you weight the more calories you burn for each mile you run. To lose weight you need to maintain a daily calorie deficit. In other words you need to eat fewer calories that your body burns.
  • Running is a great way to maintain this calorie deficit by increasing the number of calories you burn. Of course the other way to increase your calorie deficit and your rate of weight loss is by eating less. The goal is to decrease overall body fat, and the one way to do that is to burn calories.
  • Everyone knows you burn calories when you run but there is a bonus called the after burn. Vigorous exercise like running keeps the body burning calories for hours after the workout is over.

I think just about everyone has heard the saying, “exercise is a medicine”. Believe it or not that is not far from the truth about running. The health benefits are amazing and the only thing you need to do to claim those benefits is to start running. Running is a very inexpensive premium to pay for health benefits. Who doesn’t want to live a healthier life, decrease their risk of heart disease, strengthen their bones and do it all while being happy! So lace on those shoes and claim your health benefits now.

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “The Health Benefits of Running: 5 Amazing Benefits

  1. Great Article Highlighting the benefits of Running, I was never a big runner until this year and just a few months of training has seen me decrease my resting hear rate and participate in 3 x 5km competitive runs. I know love running but sometimes my calves really stitch up, any tips to reduce this ?

    1. I always do a calf stretching exercise before and after I run. Hopefully this makes sense. Keep your right leg forward, foot flat on the floor, and extend your left leg straight back, placing your heel flat on the floor. Don’t bend your back knee. Lean into the wall until you feel the stretch in the calf of the straight leg. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs. Let me know if this helps. Happy trails!

  2. Running is something humans are built to do as hunter gatherers. We seem to have lost the ability as a whole. I used to love running when I was a younger lad, I would run EVERYWHERE. If my mother wanted me to pop to the store for a loaf of bread, I was there and back in 6 minutes (The store was about half a mile away, so that’s a mile including time in the store). Not bad for a kid, eh.

    I was an excellent sprinter and could do 100 metres in 11.5 seconds (again, not bad for a kid).

    When I took up work after leaving education, all the running (and the swimming I loved, also) stopped.

    I wish I had kept it up because now I am nowhere near as fit as I was.

    I’d love if you could do a post on “how to get back into running when you’re unfit”.

    I can’t seem to run 10 metres now without a struggle. Same goes for swimming.
    Excellent advice you have here.

    1. No matter what don’t give up on running. It is never to late to start, no matter you age or physical shape you are in. Keep trying and you will be surprised how fast you make progress. Let me know how you running is progressing. I would love to hear about your journey!

      You must of read my mind as my next article is going to be about how to get back into running shape. Keep you eyes peeled!!

  3. John,

    You are so right. Running or any kind of cardiovascular activity greatly improves our lives in so many ways. Strong bones, greater muscle strength, a healthy heart and the ability to loose weight by burning calories are all great reasons to run. Personally, I like the combination of all the benefits. Obviously, strong bones are important to all but greater muscle mass incorporated with cardiovascular work outs create more burned calories, And isn’t that the ultimate goal? To burn more calories and look good? Well, I always thought so and that’s what motivated me, but I also love my release from stress or improved mood. I wish I knew more about the after effects of hard work outs and how many calories we continue to burn. Keep running and keep writing. Thanks!!

    1. You are so right about how running reduces your stress levels. When I was a plant manager I would run over my lunch hour and when I came back plant employees would comment on how much more relaxed I was. Not only do you feel more relaxed but others notice it as well. Keep running and burning those calories!!

  4. I eventually want to get to the point where I’m able to run at a steady pace, but right now I alternate between walking, jogging and running in intervals.

    What tips would you give to someone who wants to build their stamina to the point of being able to run for more than 5 minutes straight at a steady pace?

    1. The way I started was to run for 1 minute then walk for a minute for a total of 10 minutes. I would do this for about a week then increase the run to 2 minutes and walk one minute for 10 minutes. Keep increasing your run time a minute a week and in several weeks you will find yourself running without walking at all!! Good luck and let me know about your progress.

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