1. Running Makes You Happy
When you run your body releases endorphin. These hormones are responsible for a whole host of positive mood effects in the body.
Endorphin is the body's response to the stress of running. Temporarily, endorphin allows the body to mute pain signals and push through the discomfort of running. In the long term, days and weeks, endorphin will:
- Reduce Stress
- Lessen Depression
- Reduce Anxiety
- Improve Sleep Patterns
The brain has a system called the endocannabinoid system. This is the system within the cells that typically respond to 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.
Where am I going with this?
Well, researchers have discovered that endorphin cannot actually pass through the blood-brain barrier, but the endocannabinoid called anandamide can. This chemical is found in high quantities in the blood of people after running.
So, when people say running gets you “high” it’s possible that it really does.
Health Benefits of Running
Aside from the emotional benefits of running, there are a ton of physical benefits. Here are just a few of them.
2. Healthy Bones
Bones are kind of important. OK, really important.
Your bone health is probably not something you spend a lot of time thinking about in your 20’s, but as you age your bone health becomes more important to you. Aging causes bone density losses in all genders and ethnicity.
Running causes bones to become denser.
The repetitive impact on the bones and joints causes them to build stronger calcium layers than bones that are in sedentary bodies. It is important to note that the impact that is responsible for the increased strength in the bones can also help your joints improve their function.
Most people have this misconception that running is bad for your joints. Someone along the way told them that all of that impact degraded their joints and that they shouldn’t run.
Running with bad form, in bad quality shoes and without stretching can damage your joints. But good running form with the right support can help build strong joints.
3. Killer Calorie Burn
I don’t know anything else that shreds through calories like running. Almost everyone I know is looking for ways to cut calories or burn calories.
Running is the ultimate event for calorie burn. A 150-pound person running a 10-minute mile will burn 12.2 calories a minute. That’s about 120 calories a mile or 720 calories an hour.
Talk about the benefits of running, calorie burn is one of the best!
The more fit you are, the fewer calories you will burn as you run.
This means that you may see a reduced calorie burn if you have been running for a long time and can maintain a lower heart rate during your runs. It is simply easier for your body to run than it is for those that cannot maintain a lower heart rate.
Adding in some sprints to your longer runs will push that heart rate back up and let you get the same calorie burn as a new runner.
4. Stronger Heart
How can we counteract all of these threats to our heart?
Well, running is a magic bullet for heart health. It has amazing impacts for your health including:
- Reduced Resting Heart Rate
- Lowering Blood Pressure
- Less Heart Attack Risk
5. Strong Core
We all want that rock hard stomach. Being able to walk around with a bikini top, or no top, at the beach is a symbol of success. Running can help you meet this goal because it is a killer core workout.
Most of us just think of running as a cardio workout, or a leg workout. However, your core has a lot of work to do when you run.
You have to maintain a good posture, stabilize your spine and hip complex, and you work all of the muscles that go into controlled breathing.
If you have a weak core, to begin with, you may find that running can be painful. Pain in the lower back, hips, and even knees when running can all be attributed to weak core muscles. Make sure your core is strong when you start running to avoid pain and discomfort.
These were the best benefits of running that we could come up with. What did we miss? What is your favorite running perk?
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