Running is one of the easiest exercises. You don’t have to hit the gym and you don’t even have to run very long to yield a tremendous amount of health benefits. Dozens of studies found that running a few miles a week would already lower blood pressure and improve blood sugar. There are many benefits to running that you may not be aware of.
Here are five health benefits you can get from running:
Running is perhaps one of the best things you can do to release your stress. When you run, your brain releases endorphins and endocannabinoids that help boost your mood. Endocannabinoid is a chemical that’s similar to THC in marijuana, which is why people experience the so-called “runner’s high”. Even if you are not a regular runner, you can still feel the energized and euphoric from running because of these two chemicals.
Lower Risk of Cancers and Diseases
The Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who exercise leisurely have a lower risk of 26 types of cancer. Women, in particular, have a lower risk of endometrial cancer and breast cancer if they exercise. Researchers said that you gain these benefits from exercising regardless of your body size or smoking history.
Running is also proven to prevent heart attacks because of the cardio training. Simply running 10 minutes a day can already reduce the risk of dying from heart disease significantly.
Stronger Joints and Bones
Some of you might think running causes injuries to your bones over time. Quite the contrary, runners are half as likely to suffer from knee osteoarthritis, a disease that weakens your bones. Osteoarthritis is more prevalent in women and it’s worse with age. To prevent your bones from losing density as you age, start running to build your bone mass before the age of 30. Running can help improve bone strength and give you a stronger spine, even more so than cycling and swimming.
Better Memory and Focus
A few days of running can generate hundreds and thousands of new brain cells, which improve your cognitive abilities. Running can keep your brain healthy by sparking the growth of fresh nerve cells, a process called neurogenesis. You can recall someone’s name much quicker and become more attention to your environment. Because running literally expands your brain’s capacity, you’re also less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease when you grow older.
Are you struggling to manage your weight? Running is an excellent way to burn calories. A general rule of thumb is that you burn about 100 calories per mile. If you just jog leisurely, you can still burn about 400 calories in an hour. However, this rule differs according to your body mass. You can use a running app to track your workout and see if you’re actually burning enough calories. You’ll need to at least lose 500 calories each day in order to lose one pound per week. Of course, you can also achieve this by a combination of running and healthy diet.