Lace-up your shoes and hit the road. Running is the world’s most popular fitness activity with millions of dedicated fanatics. What makes running so popular? Is it the fact that you can do it at any time of the day, or that you don’t need to go to the gym to get a good workout?
Running is for anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, male or female, you have two feet and a pair of legs. With a dash of ambition, you too could be a runner, all it takes is the first step.
Runners are passionate about their sport. Speak to any runner, and you’ll find that they credit running for their health, wellness, and longevity. The science behind running shows that the sport has mind-blowing benefits for anyone that decides to hit the track or the road. Here are 20 reasons why you should give it a try.
1. Give Your Confidence a Boost
A sedentary lifestyle and poor diet choices damage your health and well-being. People that are unfit and out of shape tend to have low self-confidence. If you aren’t happy with your physical and mental state, this will affect your entire persona, crippling your belief in yourself and what you can achieve in life.
People with low self-confidence generally submit to authority figures and have a hard time standing up for themselves when questioned or ridiculed.
Gaining self-confidence isn’t an easy task, but it’s possible if you commit to improving yourself through physical activity such as running.
Running can help you gain confidence in yourself. Training for running requires goal-setting. How far will you run this week? What will you eat to fuel your training sessions? Write out a training and diet plan, complete with your goals for fitness and well-being. As you achieve each milestone, you will feel a sense of achievement that will boost your self-confidence.
2. Blast Away Body Fat
Hanging out on the couch eating chips and watching TV is a great way to relax from the stresses of the day. However, too much inactivity and a poor diet will eventually catch up with you. Excess caloric intake needs to be burned off by the body, or it turns into adipose body tissue, also known as body fat.
Carrying a spare tire around your waist will hurt your self-esteem and self-confidence. Along with the mental issues, people with high body fat levels will eventually experience the onset of chronic diseases such as diabetes, arterial sclerosis (hardening of the arteries around the heart), stroke and heart attack.
All it takes to improve your health is a few miles on the road or track each day. Step out for a run, or fire up the treadmill for a training session. Running is the fastest way to get your body weight and BMI body fat levels back under control and within the healthy range.
3. Relieve Tension and Stress
Stress is the silent killer of a modern lifestyle. If you have a high-stress job, with a boss that continually keeps pushing you to achieve more, your health could end up taking a nosedive. Excessive stress levels create adverse health issues such as elevated blood pressure, which can develop a condition known as hypertension.
Individuals living with hypertension expose themselves to various cardiovascular diseases and health disorders. If left untreated, the effects of hypertension on the body could land you in the hospital.
Running four or five times a week for twenty or thirty minutes at a time will relieve your body of excess stress. When the human body exercises, it releases dopamine, and norepinephrine, two powerful biochemicals that give a mild sensation of euphoria to the runner. The hormonal cascade that comes as a result of exercise will melt away stress and stress-related disorders. Regular running can improve your headspace and potentially save your life, all you need to do is slip on your shoes and hit the road.
4. Prevent and Alleviate Depression
People living with the effects of depression experience a low quality of life. If depression is not nipped in the bud when it first appears, the condition could develop into severe mental disorders and disease. Bi-polar disease, low self-confidence, and a weak self-image are all examples of the psychological stresses placed on the mind as a result of depression.
Depression affects our motivation and drive. It’s hard to feel good about life and optimistic about the future when you are feeling depressed. Changing your mindset require constant action towards pulling yourself out of a depressive state.
Running could be the answer to your problems. Committing to a running program will motivate you and inspire you to achieve your goals, on the road and in life. The feel-good hormones and biochemicals will lift your mood and cure your depression. Return your thoughts to a happy state and take back control of your life with a run.
5. Improve Your Vision
As we age, our eyes begin to lose their ability to hold focus. The ocular nerve may come under stress from viewing computer screens at work for extended periods or driving long distances regularly. Most eye conditions clear up within a few days, but you should see a doctor or ophthalmologist if you are concerned about deteriorating vision. However, not all eye conditions require a visit to a specialist; it’s possible to cure these conditions yourself using the healing power of your own body.
Did you know that running can help you improve your eyesight and counteract the ocular imbalances created by a stressful lifestyle? Running requires you to focus on the road and your surroundings. Your eyes are used to gauge distance and navigate direction. Running requires your sight and hearing to be perfectly synced with each other to avoid accidents. A regular run will train your brain to use your vision, and clear up conditions such as lazy eye, floaters, and presbyopia.
6. Build Strong Bones
Your skeletal system, ligaments, and supporting tissues give the body the structure and strength it needs for movement. As we age, bones weaken due to a loss of protein synthesis and calcium deficiencies. Consuming bone health supplements, such as additional calcium, will help your bones deal with old age. Another way to improve your bone health is through physical activity.
Running creates skeletal stress from the impact of your feet on the road surface. The strike from each stride reverberates from your feet, through your lower legs, knees, hips, and lower back. The body has a series of natural defenses that are activated during a run to shield the skeletal system from injury.
Bone modeling is an example of this protective reaction. As your body senses the impact stress, it releases osteoblasts to the surface of the affected bone. Osteoblasts are cells used in the construction of bone, as the cells migrate to the surface of the affected area, they model the bones and stop the degeneration of joints and cartilage.
7. Balance Cholesterol Levels
A sedentary lifestyle and poor diet choices result in obesity, high blood glucose levels, and an imbalanced cholesterol profile. Levels of LDL cholesterol in sedentary individuals can be up to 4 times higher than fit people that exercise regularly. A cholesterol imbalance, where LDL levels are higher than HDL levels is hazardous to your health. Cholesterol deposits on arterial walls force the heart to work harder to pump blood around the body. As a result, blood pressure rises and health declines.
Regular exercise with a daily run will keep you fit and balance your cholesterol profile. People who run 10 miles a week or more are less likely to need cholesterol medications such as statins. Studies show that running reduces LDL cholesterol production and improves HDL cholesterol levels. Keep your heart happy and healthy with a daily run. Even if all you can manage is a few miles a day, that’s all you need to improve your health and longevity.
8. Enhance Cognitive Function
A sedentary lifestyle doesn’t just affect your body and its physical functions; it takes its toll on the health of your mind as well. People that don’t exercise are more likely to develop cognitive issues such as poor memory recall, forgetfulness, and “brain fog.” These cognitive disorders slow your thoughts and can result in ailments such as migraines and cluster headaches. A lack of oxygen to the brain can cause cell death and necrosis of brain tissue, leading to cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Running improves circulation and oxygen enrichment of the blood, known as VO2 max. When you run, your body clears toxins from your blood with every breath that you take. The harder your cardiovascular system works under the stress of running, the faster your body removes toxins and other dangerous compounds from your body. Running three times a week will clear your thoughts and give your mind a break from the stresses of a busy lifestyle.
9. Improve the Quality of Your Sleep
Are you living with a sleep disorder? Do you struggle to fall asleep at night, with your brain unable to relax and switch off? Sleep dysfunction affects millions of Americans. However, sometimes all that’s needed to relieve the condition is a little regular exercise.
Sleep is essential for a healthy life. If you don’t get enough shut-eye, your brain becomes dysfunctional. Sleep deprivation is responsible for delusions, reduced cognitive function, and mood disorders. Getting enough sleep is critical for your health, yet millions of people suffer from sleep disorders, such as insomnia, related to a sedentary lifestyle.
Getting out on the road for a daily run will increase circulation and blood oxygen levels. Working out may tire you out, but it improves energy levels during the day. Regular running, at any time of the day, will help you fall asleep faster at night and relieve sleeping disorders that affect your quality of life.
10. Extend Longevity
The core disadvantage of a sedentary lifestyle is the fact that it dramatically reduces lifespan. Studies suggest that inactive people eating a poor diet are 47% more likely to develop some form of chronic disease related to their health status. Exercise and good food choices are guaranteed to be the best investments in your health that you’ll ever make.
Living longer allows you to experience more out of life. If you remain fit and healthy into your old age, you’ll be able to see your grandkids grow into adults. Being fit improves your quality of life in old age as well. Mobility issues develop as we age and if left unchecked, they can ruin your posture and the efficiency of your muscular system.
Regular running will improve your longevity, extend your lifespan and increase your quality of life. Runners need to stretch to warm up for runs and recover from training stress. This added stretching improves joint mobility into your senior years.