Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise out there. There are a lot of health benefits of running, and it is a quick and efficient way for weight loss too! Most people prefer running more than other exercises because it doesn’t require much equipment and can easily fit into one’s daily schedule. You can go running any time of the day, after all!
Talking about the health benefits of running, firstly, running strengthens your bones. Since it is a weight-bearing exercise, it has a great effect on your bones. It also strengthens muscles and reduces the risk of heart disease by improving one’s cardiovascular fitness significantly. There are also several other cardiovascular benefits of running, which we will discuss later in the article.
Running burns plenty of calories in a short time, making weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight easier for you. It consequently also improves self-esteem and mental health.
The mental and emotional benefits of running include improving one’s memory and ability to concentrate and learn. If you go for a run outside, it helps in reducing the feelings of loneliness and can considerably reduce the risk of anxiety and depression.
It is a well-known fact that running or any other form of exercise, in that matter, produces happiness and pleasure hormones in the body that can drastically impact one’s mood. Even running for 30 minutes a day can lower the risk of heart disease and many other ailments, improve one’s mental health, organize sleep schedule and ultimately boost your longevity!
We have made a list of the benefits of running in detail for you to understand the importance of running better! So without further ado, let us hop into the article.
Benefits Of Running
1. Keeps Weight in Check
We know that there are several health benefits of running, and keeping the weight in check is one of them.
Running is a great exercise for losing weight as it burns a lot of calories very quickly. It is estimated that an average person burns around 100 calories per mile through running. Running also helps in the reduction of calorie intake. It is believed that it reduces appetite by suppressing hunger hormones and produces more satiety hormones in the process.
Moderate to high-intensity aerobic exercise like running directly targets belly fat that is harmful to the body. Excess belly fat puts one at the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other diseases. It lowers blood sugar levels as well by making muscle cells more sensitive to insulin.
If you pay attention to your diet and add running to your everyday schedule, you can lose your excess weight in no time! Combine it with calorie deficit and get ready to meet the healthiest version of you soon! You can start your fitness journey small by just running around the block for half an hour and then work your way up to more intense running.
2. Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
There are various long-lasting positive cardiac health benefits of running. Running for about 30 minutes per day for alternate days in a week helps reduce the bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) and increases the good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein). It also manages high blood pressure, which is also valuable in maintaining your heart health.
The benefits of running also include weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight-related to having a healthy heart. Runners also have strengthened heart muscles that increase the heart’s overall efficiency.
Running makes the heart stronger because runners have a low resting pulse rate and a high oxygen intake. The heart can thus pump a large amount of blood per peat which minimizes its workload too! Running, therefore, reduces the risk of heart disease by 35-55%!
It prevents blood clotting in the arteries and vessels and supports a healthy blood flow, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
3. Improves Sleep
It has been found that the benefits of running also include improving the quality of sleep. When we indulge in intense physical activity, our body requires time to heal the muscles, where sleep plays a crucial role. The longer one sleeps, the more time the muscles get to relax and recover.
If you go for runs at night, you will surely get a deep, good night’s sleep. Try to go to sleep more than an hour after your run, and you’ll see the difference in the quality of your sleep. Taking a hot shower before going to bed can also help.
Thus, running strengthens your sleep schedule, which will, in turn, keep you active and productive in your other tasks throughout the day. A good sleep schedule also keeps you in a good mood!
So get your running shoes right now and get ready to sleep like a baby tonight.
4. Increases Immunity
The benefits of running also include a significant improvement in our immune system in more than one way.
As we know, running or any other regular exercise increases our breathing rate. This helps push the harmful microbes out of your lungs and keeps infection away while keeping your lungs healthy. Running regularly also decreases chronic inflammation, which also helps to make our immune system healthy.
Running can improve the production of white blood cells and antibodies as well! These cells help fight disease-carrying bacteria and other infections in our bodies and take care of our health.
It boosts the function of the immune cells, reduces stress hormone levels, and increases the body’s temperature that kills harmful bacteria and viruses. Running also improves one’s ability to deal with stress by reducing the stress hormones in the body.
5. Increases Lung Capacity
The health benefits of running cover the lungs too. Make running a part of your everyday routine. Your lungs will learn to deliver more oxygen to the bloodstream quicker and become more efficient at getting the body rid of carbon dioxide waste. A good run affects the endurance capacity of the respiratory muscles, including the diaphragm and intercostal muscles.
With time, strength increases, making way for deeper, fuller, and more efficient breaths when you run.
The more one continues running, the more the capacity of the lungs increases, which helps keep the person healthy and even protects the person from lung cancer.
6. Lowers Blood Pressure
If you suffer from high blood pressure, running can help you manage that! Several studies indicate that running and exercising regularly can lower your blood pressure along with keeping you active. The benefits of running also constitute reduced stress levels. Thus, people of all ages suffering from hypertension often advise staying active and indulging in aerobic activities like running.
You should, however, be careful and not stress yourself too much as it may lead to other complications. Most specialists advise a moderate workout where you are not pushing yourself too much.
Regular exercise makes your heart stronger, which helps in pumping more blood easily, which helps manage the blood pressure in the long run. As aforementioned, running also helps manage your weight, which is also a good way to regulate hypertension.
You can start slow and run for short distances and then increase your pace as you go. A good 10 minutes warmup is also advised before you go for the run. You must also check with your doctor before starting any new physical activity since medical advice is important to make sure running doesn’t negatively affect you.
7. Strengthen Bones
As you grow older, it becomes important to take care of your bones. Don’t worry, the benefits of running cover these too.
Bone density can decrease as you age, leading to osteoporosis. You can prevent it through weight-bearing and resistance exercises like running! Running make your joints stronger, saving you from knee problems in the future!
It is a common myth that running or jogging causes arthritis, but that’s not the case. You might have it genetically or because of other factors, and if so, you might want to consult your doctor before starting going for runs. Otherwise, running is great for your joints as it makes them stronger and keeps you active.
Running causes bones to become stronger, adapt, and recover themselves, leading to new bone tissues. It puts considerable stress on your bones which is very beneficial for your bones in the long run.
It is believed that people start to lose their bone mass as they reach the age of 40. Therefore, starting going for a run now and then is never a bad idea! It will make your bones stronger and prepare you to fight the evils of aging.
8. Improves Mental Health
‘Runner’s high’ is a common term used to describe the feeling of relaxation and happiness caused by the burst of endorphins and serotonin in the body after a good run. Running also produces endocannabinoids which reduce anxiety and induce feelings of calmness. It also improves your skin and helps you sleep better, which is correlated to making you feel better.
As running helps your heart pump blood easily, new blood vessels and new brain cells can grow! These new brain cells significantly improve your brain performance and reduce cognitive decline simultaneously. The naturally produced endocannabinoid reduces stress and keeps you calm! Running also improves working memory and your ability to focus.
It is, however, important to keep taking breaks and be mindful of your body’s limits. Your body needs to rest. Otherwise, it will be overexerted, and that can affect both your physical and mental health. Resting in between any physical activity will take care of your body and make you enjoy it more!
Running also enhances your ability to switch between multiple tasks, and the serotonin released has a major impact on your mood throughout the day. Thus the benefits of running comprise of improving your mental health too.
Just take out 30 minutes a day and go for a run for as many miles as possible. It will certainly lead to you having a good mood! A good mood leads to greater confidence and will eventually lead to a good day for you!
9. Keeps Your Eyes Healthy
The benefits of running also include eye care. The eyes are one of the most important and sensitive parts of our bodies. Taking care of the eyes is therefore extremely important. As we already saw, running ensures a better flow of blood in the body. This blood also flows to the optic nerve, which is chiefly responsible for keeping our eyes healthy!
Regular running also lowers the risk of eye diseases like Cataracts, Glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. It also indirectly protects the eyes by protecting the body from other diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and hypertension, and other heart problems that may also affect the eyes.
Many studies prove that runners have sharper eyesight and healthier eyes than non-runners. Therefore, if you add running to your daily schedule along with a healthy diet (filled with vitamin A and antioxidants), you’ll be able to protect your eyes too!
Giving just a small portion of your day to running can save you from the diseases that mostly lead to blindness. So save yourself from this and many other severe diseases and get your running shoes on now!
10. Improves Social Life
The many benefits of running also include a significant improvement in your social life! If you’re someone who has fewer friends and has social anxiety, running might be the best thing for you. It will connect you to more people than you can imagine.
There are several running clubs and groups that you can join to increase your circle and have a good time each time you go for a run. Anyone can join such a group as they are extremely warm and encouraging to all kinds of runners.
You’ll get to be familiar with a lot more people from your neighborhood and community. You can also train and run for a marathon and make tons of new friends there! Group runs are always fun, after all!
There are also many apps like Strava that help you track your runs and also connect you to the runners in your neighborhood. You can give these a try too! Therefore, running also enhances your social life and skills, adds more people to your circle, and gives you new social outlets!
To Sum it Up
As you see, running can improve not only your physical health but mental health drastically too. A physical activity a day already has proven benefits on your mood. Runners also are comparatively high on confidence and self-esteem than non-runners! These were a few of the many benefits of running.
Even on alternative days, running or jogging will lower the risk of much severe long-term, life-threatening diseases and will directly help you live longer. A person who goes for a good run or a jog regularly is much less likely to suffer from heart problems and remains healthy throughout their life. Regular physical activity also improves your skin! Runner’s glow is a real thing, and it’s beautiful!
With so many benefits of running, we don’t think you need any more convincing to start going for runs asap. The first few days might feel tiring, but it will get easier once you get through it and add it to your routine. Remember, your body can stand almost anything. It’s only your mind that you have to convince. Start a fitter and healthier lifestyle today!
While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students.
Do note that any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.