In a previous article, we touched on the importance of walking. Today we’d like to take things a ‘step further’, so to speak, and discuss the benefits of running in the human lifestyle.
Running Towards Health
Regular running creates health benefits similar to regular walking, except running literally takes the “extra mile” in terms of results.
Running burns fat and helps maintain a healthy weight
- So while most any regular form of exercise is going to help with weight loss, studies have begun to show that running will increase the normal rate at which you burn calories for a period of time that carries on well after your workout has ended. This is referred to as the “afterburn effect” and is associated with most high-intensity cardio workouts.
- To gain these benefits, it is best to participate in running routines that include:
- Sprints, or high-intensity running;
- Intervals, or periods of high-intensity matched with periods of low-intensity;
- Hill runs, where the incline increases your heart rate.
Running improves cardiovascular health and builds strength
- In addition to burning away fat and regulating your weight, a regular running routine has been found to show positive results in reducing cardiovascular mortality.
- Also, contrary to popular belief, running actually seems to improve knee health because it provides the joints with regular activity, effectively promoting change that creates a smoother running environment.
Running can lift symptoms of depression and improve mood, as well as helping with sleep and the ability to focus
- Running releases neurotransmitters in your brain, known as endorphins.
- Endorphins help produce what is commonly known as the “runner’s high”, and are associated with: better mood, less depression and anxiety, as well as general feelings of well-being.
Running alters brain chemistry in ways that make it more resistant to stress.
- Most exercise will build physical strength and endurance. However, exercise also helps build mental fortitude and ease when dealing with stress.
- In addition, com reports benefits related to exercise such as a higher self-esteem and improved sexual function.
- Furthermore, exercise has been found to improve the mind at any age and help fight age-related mental deterioration.
Walk Before You Run
As exciting it may be to start running and reap these benefits right away, please be careful. If you are starting off from zero, and have no recent experience in exercise, it is important to remember to take things slow. Be sure to read our previous article on walking, and slowly build yourself up to a regular running routine. Most importantly, please always check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.