Exercise, in any form, has numerous health benefits. Regular exercise can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, obesity and even some cancers. Exercise can also boost your mood and improve your mental focus. Running is a great form of cardiovascular exercise – it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money (it’s a good idea to buy quality running shoes, but beyond that you don’t need any expensive kit), and it is something that people can do no matter where they live. There’s no stressing about getting to a gym on time, finding a parking spot, or paying for membership fees. Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of running:
There’s something called the “runner’s high”, which is caused by a rush of endocannabinoids – hormones that lift your mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
Improve Overall Fitness
Running is not just a good form of exercise while you are doing it. It can also help to burn calories while after you stop working out. Regular exercise boosts the ‘afterburn’ that you experience following exercise. If you run regularly, then your excess post oxygen consumption will be higher than it is for someone who does not run. This means you burn more calories throughout the day, which is ideal for someone who is trying to slim down.
Stronger Joints and Bone Density
Running can help to reduce age-related loss of bone density, and it can also improve the strength of your joints. A lot of people mistakenly assume that running is bad for your knees – but the truth is that people who run are not at a greater risk of developing osteoarthritis – it’s more likely that people who run notice knee issues more quickly, rather than that the running caused it. Indeed, running can improve the health of your knees because it not only gets your heart racing, it also strengthens the muscles that you’re using.
Stop Mental Decline
Regular exercise helps to reduce the risk of age-related mental decline, and helps them cope with task-switching, working memory and selective attention challengs better than those who are less active. Older adults who are physically fit tend to be more mentally sharp too.
Reduced Cancer Risk
Running probably won’t cure cancer, but adults who exercise tend to have a lower risk of developing certain cancers, and people who are undergoing chemotherapy enjoy a better quality of life if they stay as active as they can too. You can go running in groups to enjoy social benefits that boost your mood, as well as the health benefits of getting regular exercise.
Running is something that anyone can do. You can start with a simple program such as Couch25K and work up to longer distances. You can run at your own pace, and pick your route, and there are lots of free apps to help keep you active, so why not give it a go?
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