Need motivation to go out for your run?
Check out my top 10 reasons why running is good for you.
I even made you an infographic to help you read it quicker so you can race out the door – don’t forget to pin it!
1 Get happy
People who run have been shown to see the glass half full not only while they exercise but for up to twice as long after finishing than their sedentary counterparts feel. Runner’s high is that rush of feel-good hormones known as endocannabinoids.
In a 2006 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers found that even a single bout of exercise—30 minutes of walking on a treadmill—could instantly lift the mood of someone suffering from a major depressive order.
In a May 2013 study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in which rats and mice got antidepressant-like effects from running on a wheel, researchers concluded that physical activity was an effective alternative to treating depression.
Running is like a drug – a 2007 study in Physiological Behavior showed that running causes the same kind of neurochemical adaptations in brain reward pathways that also are shared by addictive drugs.
2 Stay heart healthy
Running is a natural way to keep high blood pressure at bay. Running for just an hour a week can reduce the risk of heart disease by almost half compared to non-runners and for those already hitting the recommended physical activity guidelines, an extra spurt of exercise can lower the risks of heart disease even more.
3 Boost your immunity
Running can give your immunity a boost and is a recommended exercise for people who suffer regular bouts of colds or coughs or who feel tired a lot.
There are several theories as to how exercise increases immunity and they range from flushing bacteria out from the lungs through to antibodies and white cells being sent around the body at a quicker rate.
The increased rate of circulating blood may also trigger the release of hormones that “warn” immune cells of intruding bacteria or viruses.
The temporary rise in body temperature may also prevent bacterial growth, allowing the body to fight the infection more effectively. Exercise slows down the release of stress-related hormones. Stress increases the chance of illness.
4 Get more focus
If you have an exam or an important presentation to make the best thing you can do is go for a run. Exercise improves your brain in the short term by raising your focus for two to three hours afterwards.
A review of 19 studies published in the British Medical Journal found that short 10 to 40 minute bursts of exercise led to an immediate boost in concentration and mental focus, likely from improving blood flow to the brain.
British workers were surveyed on a day they worked out and a day they didn’t. People said they made fewer mistakes, concentrated better, and were more productive on the day they were active.
5 Improve self-esteem
Regular runners report an increase in their confidence and self-esteem, and the self-esteem benefits of running are increased if you set a specific goal, such as running a 5K or even a marathon, and accomplish it.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.”
That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energising outlook on life.
6 Live longer
Runners remain active longer than their sedentary counterparts and they live longer.
Even if you meet just the minimum of amount of physical activity, which is 30 minutes, 5 times a week, you’ll live longer.
Studies show that when different types of people started exercising, they lived longer. Smokers added 4.1 years to their lives; nonsmokers gained 3 years. Even if you’re still smoking, you’ll get 2.6 more years. Cancer survivors extended their lives by 5.3 years. Those with heart disease gained 4.3 years.
7 Burn more calories
Running is a great calorie burner. The benefits continue up to 48 hours after your run with energy expenditure levels higher than in sedentary people. If you are looking for an exercise to help you lose weight then running is it.
8 Memory boosting
Exercise has been show to help keep the mind sharp and could even reduce symptoms of dementia.
A 2012 study published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review concluded that there was a ton of evidence to prove that regular exercise helps defeat age-related mental decline, particularly functions like task switching, selective attention, and working memory.
Studies consistently found that fitter older adults scored better in mental tests than their unfit peers. What’s more, in stroke patients, regular exercise improves memory, language, thinking, and judgment problems by almost 50 percent.
9 Sleep better
Running encourages higher quality sleep than in non-runners, which means you will wake up feeling energised the next day.
Several studies have shown that when people first take up running their sleep quality is improved and that exercising longer than one hour further improves sleep quality. Regular exercise is also used as a means to curb insomnia.
10 Run stress away
Running slows down the release of stress-related hormones.
Not only does running boost the brain’s serotonin levels, regular exercise might actually remodel the brain, making it calmer and more stress resistant.
There are several explanations as to why running helps relieve stress, some chemical, some behavioural.
Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol and it also stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.
Improve your running with a custom training plan and coaching from running coach Alison King. Programmes for all levels and goals. Email for info.