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.
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.