Health Benefits of Running

Being able to run fast was the key to our survival in ancient times. It was this requirement―to be able to escape from predators, that boosted the evolutionary change which enabled human beings to stand erect. The significance of running for our survival still holds ground. However, in today’s fast-paced life, where we depend a lot on processed and ready-to-eat foods, running assumes a whole new meaning. Running burns more calories than most other forms of exercise. Weight loss is the most obvious positive outcome of running. However, there are other long-term benefits too. Let’s take a look at how we can benefit from 30 minutes of running daily.

Weight Loss: Running is a very popular form of exercise for losing weight. It is difficult to give the exact number of calories burned while running, as that depends upon one’s weight, speed at which one is running, and the distance covered. Nevertheless, it is a known fact that running in order to burn fat is more effective than any other form of cardiovascular exercises.

Cardiovascular Health: Running increases the requirement of energy by the cells of our body, which results in greater demand for oxygen and nutrients. To meet this need, the heart starts pumping blood at a faster rate than normal. The blood vessels dilate to facilitate transport of gases and nutrients throughout the body. This regular dilating and coming back to its normal size improves elasticity of the arteries, that reduces the risk of heart attacks and high blood pressure. An increased heart rate results in better supply of blood to different parts of the body, and elimination of waste with increased efficiency. As cardiovascular health improves, all other systems of the body also receive a boost.

Improved Bone and Muscle Health: A continuous demand on the bones and muscles of the body is created due to regular running. Simply put, the bones grow stronger. Due to this, individuals who run regularly are less prone to suffer from effects of old age on these tissues. One of the most significant health benefits for women is that, running fights the onset of osteoporosis due to old age.

Psychological Benefits: Running also has psychological benefits. Most people report feeling good and mentally relaxed after running. This is due to the release of the feel-good hormone, endorphins. These hormones that keep circulating in the body for quite some time after a good run, impart a sense of euphoria in a runner. This feeling is most commonly referred to as the ‘runner’s high’. Other than improving one’s mood, running also enables one to cope better with stress. This is because, while one runs, he is focused on the job at hand, and does not think about other responsibilities or problems. This lowers one’s stress levels. Running is physically strenuous. Hence, when one accomplishes covering a certain distance set by him, he feels a sense of achievement, which boosts the morale.

Other Health Benefits

  • Running is beneficial for those suffering from cancer as it improves their health.
  • Another health benefit of running daily is that it increases capacity of lungs.
  • Other than helping to keep one’s weight in control, running increases the level of HDL or good cholesterol in the body.
  • This form of exercise increases the number of lymphocytes in the body which in turn strengthens the immune system.
  • Regular running also adds glow to one’s skin and makes the skin look young and healthy.

To make the most of the numerous health benefits, it is important to do warm-up exercises first. Also, there are possibilities of hurting oneself while running. It is important to use proper gear for this.

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