The benefits of running.

29Aug10

Today I want to explain the benefits of running, not exercising in general, but just running as in getting up and going out for a 3-5 mile jog everyday. I want to emphasize running over any of the other exercises because I feel that out of them its the best form of exercise. Unfortunately its also feared by many, runners seem to sometimes be looked at as insane for enjoying something that other sports use as a form of punishment. So I want to get that fear out of your head and hopefully embrace you to a healthy life style.

Physical health Benefits

Just like any form of exercising, there are physical health benefits that improve the structuring and mechanics of your body. Running is a Cardiovascular exercise meaning that it focuses on your Lungs and Heart making them stronger and more efficient. In result you decrease your risk of blood clots, you gain more white blood cells which defend the body from diseases, and it also encourages more usage of your lungs giving you the ability to take in more oxygen. Running also gives your arteries quite a work out, making them stronger, in result you lower your blood pressure reducing the risk of heart attacks. If your looking to running as a way to lose weight (which most are), running has been well know to burn fat, in fact it burns more calories per minute than most cardiovascular exercises, as a bonus you also lose your bad cholesterol and replace it with good ones. Other benefits of running include the prevention of bone and muscle loss as well as the prevention of disease. As you can see running has a wide range of benefits to keep your body strong and well tuned.

Mental Health benefits

Unlike many exercises, running also builds your mental state of mind. Its a great way to build confidence as you can easily feel yourself getting stronger and stronger the farther you go on runs, each run has its own obstacles and its your goal to overcome those. Even better is that this mental strength builds and you teach yourself how to focus and concentrate better. For anyone in school, running has been proven to improve your grades. In running you can find ways to get a sense of accomplishment, whether it be overcoming a huge hill, or running your best time in a 5K race, the journey may be tough, but once accomplished its a feeling like no other, the sense of accomplishment is almost addicting and soon you find yourself wanting to run better. Its a great exercise to “defeat your demons” as well such as anger, aggression, and depression as fast runs or even intervals (even better in the snow or rain) are just as affective as pummeling a punching bag.

Besides using running as a way to “explode”, it also can be used in time of peace. If your life is feeling chaotic, going for a simple run can easily take away the headache and clear the mind. Its a great excuse to “run” away from life for a while (pun intended). If you are stuck on a life problem and need some alone time to think, go out for a run. The scientific reason that causes this relief in stress and gain in confidence by running is caused by a release in Endorphins that create this “runners high”.

“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.” -Steve Prefontaine

Social benefits

Running has a big following, and in result is a great way to not just meet people, but great people as well. People who have goals in life and/or look to better themselves whether it be from obesity or a bad addiction. Running is well accepted as a way to socialize with friends. From my personal experience, I would run with a group of friends and just gossip while running, even better is that you tend to run more when your all caught up talking to your friends. Personally I also think that the runners tend to be very friendly, its a sport where everyone roots for each other and If you ever join a XC team or something similar, you will create a family bond.

Affordabilty

Probably the best thing about running that overdoes any other exercise or sport is its affordability. Sports and exercises usually require equipment and that means money. Running is very natural and fundamental, all you need to pay extra for are shoes and some runners don’t even wear shoes. You can also do it anywhere and practically anytime. How much easier can that get?


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