How many times have you tried to convince yourself to start running? A few times perhaps? We guess the challenge lies in getting started. Well, you may want to stop your love-hate relationship with running because guess what? There are numerous benefits of running.
The best part is that you won’t have to invest much into it. All you need is some running shoes and clothes and you will be ready to go.
We are ready to go as well so allow us to let you in on the benefits you get to enjoy by either sprinting or jogging.
A Healthy Heart is One of the Benefits of Running
We don’t know about you but this sounds like something you would want for yourself whether or not you have a history of cardiovascular issues.
You see, running improves blood sugar sensitivity, blood pressure, and good cholesterol so that you do not end up with a bad heart. How cool is that?
It Burns Calories
We gain calories and unfortunately, it is usually not the good kind. The calories then stack up to make you look and feel unattractive as well as unhealthy.
Running can help you burn those calories. Of course, how much you burn will depend on things like your age, sex, and weight but on average; you lose 100 calories per mile. Not too bad no?
It Strengthens your Joints
You have probably heard that running is not good for your joints and we cannot fault you for that because there is a lot of negative commentary around it.
Forget about all that mumbo-jumbo. We are here to tell you that running is good for your joints. Conditions like arthritis that are thought to be caused by running are highly dependent on surgical and family history, as well as age.
Helps in Alleviating Stress
We know that your mind shifts to yoga the moment you think about stress relief – and you are not wrong but did you know that running can help you reduce stress levels as well?
You need to be present while running. That in itself allows you to take your mind off things that could be weighing you down mentally.
According to a published study in Neurobiology of Learning Memory, running reduces the impact of long-term stress on the brain. Do you need more convincing?
It Improves your Sight
It is believed that the eyes are the window to the soul, but they can also be the window to your health. Just like your heart, the eyes can be negatively affected by conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Now, running can help ward off such issues and diminish your risk of developing cataracts that will hinder your vision. This is according to a Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise study. (PDF)
Improves your Endurance
Running makes you run out of breath and feel weary right? That means that you have to power through that to get the benefits we are talking about.
If you can endure a run, it becomes easier for you to power through a lot of things in all aspects of life –literally. Who wouldn’t want that? Mention one person – we’ll wait.
Strengthens your Bones
Bones are strong and ageless, right? Yes, but after the age of 30, they begin to decrease in density. Of course, that is detrimental to you but since bones are living things, they can be strengthened by activities like running.
Exercises such as running spur bone density and promote the health of your bones. That way, you get to increase your mobility and reduce the chances of suffering fractures.
It Could Reduce Cancer Risk
Did you know that working out has for years been associated with a lower risk of particular kinds of cancer?
Being highly active can reduce your risk of developing gastric, colon, breast, and bladder cancers. You can choose to be highly active in the gym or simply run. The latter seems easier so go figure.
Gets you Outside
Spending time outside your house does you a lot of good. Are you aware of that? For instance, you need vitamin D to lift your moods as well as support your immune system. The primary source of the vitamin is the sun.
Sure, you can bask in the sun somewhere but don’t you thinking getting out to run is killing two birds with one stone? Think about it – you get to work out your joints, lift your moods, and get the vitamin D your body needs.
Time to put on those sneakers and start running don’t you think?
You are all of it and a bag of chips but sometimes you forget that. Running does help to boost your confidence mostly because you are engaging in something tough that you probably didn’t think you could do before.
That translates to other aspects of your life. How you handle running is likely to be how you will handle everything in life. You do hard things while exercising, you will be in a better position to handle harder stuff in life.
You get to Sleep Better
Did you know that cardio exercises can help improve the quality of your sleep as well as fall asleep faster? You just need to allow yourself several hours to wind down for bed after the workouts.
Running will help you sleep faster which translates to more sleep. As such, you will always wake up feeling rested and ready to work out more.
Stimulates Learning and Memory
By running, you help grow the blood vessels that facilitate the transportation of nutrients, blunt your brain’s response to emotional and physical stress, and support the generation of new brain cells.
In that regard, running can have a long-term and positive impact on the hippocampus or the part of your brain that is responsible for memory retention and learning.
Prolongs your Life
At this point, you can agree with us that running comes with a host of benefits for your body and mind. When you add all of them up, you get another major benefit, which is an extended lifespan.
You may want to note that there is scientific evidence to back that up like one study from the Stanford University School of Medicine that proves a connection between longevity and running.
We believe that is something you would want? Running is the way to go.
Should you Run Marathons?
Like many other people, the biggest reason why you would participate in a marathon race is to achieve a leaner figure and fitter body.
Others will do it because they feel confined by the walls of their local gym. We would encourage you to run marathons simply because you can burn up to 2600 calories in a single race. Training for the same can be overwhelming, but with the fresh air and beautiful surroundings, it becomes easier to pull through.
That said; here are more marathon benefits you can expect to enjoy.
You Eat Better
Training for a marathon requires you to be extra careful about what you put into your body. Note that you will be burning a lot of calories so you want to fill up on healthy food.
As you begin and continue to be mindful of what you eat, you learn more about nutrients and what they do for your body.
In the process, you will find yourself inadvertently avoiding junk food. As you can see, marathon running does not just come with physical benefits but a positive holistic effect on your health.
Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
Looking at marathon running, it is easy to conclude that your legs do most of the work. What you don’t see is that the heart does just as much.
You see, the heart needs to beat faster as it pumps oxygen through your body while running thus making it stronger.
Of course, that can significantly lower your cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and diminish the risk of a heart attack. In essence, running can help you live longer.
Increases your Motivation
For you to successfully train for a marathon, you have to be disciplined and focused. The thing is that you could use those two qualities for your everyday life as well.
Let us agree that running a marathon is a rigorous activity and your willpower and determination are what will get you to that finish line.
If you take the time to study marathon runners, you will realize that they tend to face challenges head-on and have a positive approach to life. They are also disciplined as far as their diet and training.
Should you opt to participate in one, you will not only complete the race, but you will also have increased motivation to live life and face challenges.
Think of it this way; what would it feel like to get to the finish line of a 40km race? To us, that feels like success and achievement.
By engaging in a marathon, you boost your confidence with little or no chance of anyone or anything shaking it.
That then means you will be in a better position to handle any obstacle that life throws your way. For instance, you will become more assertive in your relationships, confident about your decisions, and full of energy to achieve any goals you set.
You Become Happier
Stress seems to be a part of life especially if you have bills to pay, a home to run, and relationships to keep alive. Long-distance running can be very therapeutic if you are dealing with such.
Working out increases your feel-good hormones otherwise known as endorphins. Ever asked yourself why you feel excited instead of drained after a vigorous activity?
While training for a marathon, you will be calmer and happier. Besides, you also get some alone time to rethink your decisions and priorities as well as reduce the impact of stress in your life.
Ultimately, dedicating some time to train for a race could benefit you in more ways than you can imagine. Deciding to be physically active is one of the best decisions you can make in life.
Are there any Benefits to Running in the Cold?
Being physically active should be a lifestyle but the weather may be a hindrance at times. For instance, it becomes harder to run during winter because of the extreme cold and risk of succumbing to hypothermia.
We are here to tell you something again – cold weather should not be used as an excuse to forego exercise.
Outdoor activities including running in the winter can be beneficial in several ways. For example, you can boost your vitamin D intake.
That means that there are benefits of running in the cold but you want to do that with your safety in mind. Here are some tips to help keep you warm and safe before we get into the benefits.
Tips for Running During Winter
- Besides your shoes, get a hat to keep your head warm while running.
- Make it a habit to check the weather forecast. This allows you to find out how cold it is outside or whether it will snow. This will help you determine the safety status of your running path.
- Dress suitably. By this, we mean you should layer up. You see, with several clothing layers, you can shed one or more of them if the weather begins to warm up as you are running. Of course, you can always put them back on if the weather gets colder again.
- Begin gradually. If you have not been running much, you want to resist the temptation to start sprinting immediately. It will do you good to build your endurance before advancing.
- Think about your visibility. When the weather is cold, the atmosphere is likely to be cloudy and gray making it harder for drivers to see you on the road. In that regard, you want to wear something reflective to increase your visibility.
- If you do not have reflective clothing, you could add some reflective tape to your regular workout clothes as it will work just the same.
- Keep hydrated. You see, it is easy to forget to drink your fluids in the winter because you will not be as thirsty as you would be during the summer. That doesn’t change the fact that your body needs water. Ensure that you drink before you begin your run and carry some to drink along the way.
- Give your body time to adjust when you begin running and when you finish by warming up and cooling down. The last thing you want is to overwhelm your body.
- Let people know where you are going. It is easy to disregard this because you assume you will make it back home safely. However, you can never predict what will happen along the way. Let a friend or family member know the path you intend to use for running and when they should expect you back.
- Consider the weather. If the temperatures are too cold for you to go outside, you may want to work out indoors instead.
- Stop immediately if something goes wrong. It may be your chest hurting, a muscle pull, or you feeling lightheaded. Pushing forward with such symptoms could end up in a fatality so learn to listen to your body and act accordingly.
Is it Safe to Run Every Day?
This is a common question and here is what we have to say about it. Running every day is likely to increase your chances of suffering an overuse injury. What is an overuse injury? Well, it is an injury you are at risk of suffering if you engage in too much vigorous physical activity too fast without giving your body time to adjust.
Now, you may be a victim of that if you run every day especially if you overload certain muscles in your body. Still, you need to remain active all the time so here is how to avoid an overuse injury.
- Get suitable running shoes and change them often.
- Do not run many miles from the word go. There are benefits to running 5 miles a day benefits, just that you cannot do that as a beginner. Increase your mileage gradually to avoid overwhelming your body.
- Incorporate other activities such as swimming, cycling, and cross-training with running. Cross-training in particular may be beneficial to you in that it reduces injury risk, engages different muscles in your body, improves your core strength and flexibility, and aids in injury recovery without compromising your fitness journey.
- Ensure that you warm up before your runs and stretch after. Run with proper form as well.
- Stop training if you suffer an injury. You will only make it worse if you continue.
- If you use running as the main workout, consider adding anaerobic activities like weights and strength training as part of your routine once or twice a week.
How to Run Every Day
So you are into this running thing and you are now ready to run every day? Great! But how do you go about it? Here is how.
What you Need
Fortunately, you do not need many things to begin your running journey. Get two pairs of running shoes and socks.
You will alternate between the pairs especially when one gets muddy or wet. Other than that, you will need sweat-resistant clothes with reflective strips to absorb your sweat and increase your visibility on the road.
We know you want to run every day but that will depend on your physical fitness level and goals. If you are just starting, you do not want to run daily because you are likely to suffer injuries or burnout.
Instead, you want to begin by running for about half an hour every other day.
Also, it may be harder to run daily if you have a busy schedule. To counter that, you may want to run as soon as you wake up to get that out of the way before you get into your busy day.
Alternatively, you can run when you are free like during your lunch break. Join run clubs if there are any in your locality for motivation and support.
Do not disregard short runs. You can do them during the week so that you do not have to overwork yourself during the weekend when you are free.
Mind Your Safety
You need to think about your safety before you start running and we know that it is easy to overlook that because what could go wrong while running around your neighborhood? It is better to be safe than sorry.
Ensure then that you employ certain safety measures such as wearing bright colors or clothes with reflective strips to increase your visibility.
You also want to run on properly-lit paths or trails to avoid predators and let the people in your life know. It is important to watch out for any obstacles on your path like stones and branches as you run because they are a tripping hazard that can ultimately cause injuries.
Stretching and Warming Up
Your muscles need to be warmed up before you begin running. As such, you can walk steadily and fast the first few minutes before you begin running or even jog.
After the run, you want to stretch out to ensure that your muscles remain in great condition. You can also make the running man exercise part of your routine as it eliminates muscle pain.
That is it. That is all you need to do if you are ready for daily running.
As you can see, running is beneficial to you and not just physically, but mentally as well. Several studies back that claim up with some even confirming that regular running can extend your life.
Do you need to sprint every day to reap the benefits of running? No, and that is a good thing seeing as most people have busy schedules that may not allow for the same.
You want to keep in mind that even professional runners alternate their running days with cross-training and have rest days as well. If you feel like you are slacking, you can mix your running with lower-impact activities such as cycling and swimming to recover and give your muscles a break.
Above all, you want to consult a doctor if you are not sure whether it is safe for you to run or how often you should do it. They can come up with a program to suit your fitness level and age.
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Hi! Mahmudul Kabir here, ShoesInsider’s chief editor with a bucket of experience on the footwear industry. In essence, he mostly writes about all footwear goods. Mahmud has years of expertise in the footwear industry and is a Chief Editor. Along with our in-depth analyses, his thorough knowledge of the footwear sector and consumer insights are reflected in several opinion pieces on the athletic footwear market.