So you’re slogging away miles on the treadmill or pounding the pavement. You’re sweating and out of breath. You’re tired. Do you ever wonder if it’s worth it? What are the benefits of running? Are you just torturing yourself?
Running actually offers many great benefits–increased energy, better physical health, better emotional and mental health. Sometimes, we may forget just how beneficial running is, especially when we’re burning out and feel like we just don’t wanna.
Focus on some of the major benefits of running to help you keep going. The mental benefits of running as well as the physical benefits are great, motivating reasons to keep up your routine. Here are some of the amazing benefits of going for a run.
The Benefits of Running:
1. Promotes Good Mental Health
Running can help alleviate symptoms of depression as well as anxiety. Running boosts your feel-good brain chemicals (the same chemicals found in antidepressants). This goes beyond just the classic “runner’s high.” Running can give you a mood boost that lasts for hours and even days. It also gives you time to work through your thoughts and wrestle with any problems you’re trying to overcome: all great mental benefits of running.
2. Gives Greater Discipline
Running gives you more discipline. When your alarm goes off at 5:20 in the morning, chances are, leaping out of bed and running in the cool predawn darkness isn’t REALLY what you want to do. There’s a good part of you that probably longs to hit snooze, roll over and smother your face with the pillow. But what do you do? You get up, you put on your clothes, you lace up and you get out there. Running creates a routine and discipline.
3. Increases Energy
Running gives you more energy. It seems counterintuitive, right? You’d think going for a run would leave you tired, worn out and exhausted, but it actually has the opposite effect. Going for a run boosts your energy and helps you fight fatigue. Once again, this is thanks to those feel-good brain chemicals: endorphins. Endorphins give you energy to spare.
4. Improves Sleep Quality
Running improves your sleep in several ways. First the routine of rising early, or keeping up with your daily schedule so you can fit in run-time, also helps you keep your sleep schedule on track. One of the ways to fight sleep issues is to get to bed and wake up at a set time each day. Studies are also showing that running improves symptoms of chronic insomnia and other disorders. Exercise raises your body temperature and as it cools, post-exercise your body will experience better sleep.
5. Prevents High Blood Pressure
Regular Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart, and helps it pump more efficiently. You’ll move more blood through your body with less effort (resulting in lower blood pressure and lower strain on your heart). Just 30-40 minutes of vigorous exercise, like running, per day can help lower your blood pressure. You may even reduce hypertension enough to remedy the need for medication!
6. Strengthens Your Immune System
People who get 30-40 minutes of exercise per day, are often healthier and able to stave off viruses like the cold and flu. There is a lot of buzz about how marathoners experience an immunity dip after a hard training (known as the “marathon sniffles”). This is common because ultra-runners are training so hard, pushing their bodies to the limit. For most other runners, though, the immune boosting gains of running routines are strong.
7. Helps Boost Weight Loss
Physical exercise burns calories. When it comes to weight loss, taking up a running routine can give you a big boost. There are many nuances to losing weight (time and frequency of meals, nutritional makeup, etc) but at the heart of it, the basic formula is calories in – calories out = weight loss. If you burn more calories than you consume you’ll lose weight and we all know, running burns calories fast.
8. Builds Strength & Stamina
Running builds your stamina. As you slowly start to train your way up to a 5K, 10K or PR you’ll notice how much your stamina increases. Suddenly you’re able to run for three minutes straight, then five, then ten and so on. Our bodies are amazing machines and as we workout it’s exciting to see a noticeable increase in our strength and stamina. The more you exercise, the stronger you become.
9. Boost Lung Capacity
Because running is a aerobic activity, it strengthens your lungs. Your lung capacity increases as you train and your lungs get stronger and stronger. In fact, running can even help asthmatics increase their lung capacity and fight off asthma attacks. If you want to have a stronger lung capacity, running is a great solution.
10. Increases Bone & Joint Strength
The impact of running strengthens your bone density. Causing micro-tears and “injuries” to your bone causes your body to build up stronger (like muscle). People always worry that running is bad for your knees and ankles, but in truth, running builds the ligaments that protect your joints from injury. Stronger bones and better joints are just another great benefit of running.
So, if you’re ready to become stronger, fitter, and healthier overall, running is the perfect answer. There are many great physical and mental benefits of running and if you’re looking for motivation, remind yourself of all the ways you’re helping your body and mind!