You don’t need an expensive home gym or monthly membership to get fit from head to toe. All you need to do is slip on a pair of running shoes.
Running involves a lot more than your legs. Sure, it seems like they’re doing all the work, but in reality running is a total-body work out that engages just about every muscle in your body as well as a number of vital organs.
How Running Benefits Different Body Parts
There are very few activities that provide such an amazing all-in-one exercise like running. Check out how different body parts are affected below.
What’s happening: Running creates a lot of activity in the brain, including the creation of new brain cells (neurogenesis) and the release of the hormone dopamine.
The benefits: New brain cells created by running can help you recollect things more accurately and perform cognitive tasks better. Dopamine is a mood-enhancing hormone that is so powerful it can squash food cravings. Both dopamine and neurogenesis can help to ward off depression.
What’s happening: The heart is made of cardiac muscle, and like other muscles exercise helps tone it and keep it in top shape. Running also causes the arteries to expand and contract, which helps them maintain their elasticity.
The benefits: The heart benefits of running are huge: lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and reduced risk of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
What’s happening: While running, the muscle cells will require an increase in oxygen. This forces you to breathe harder, which in turn means lungs have to use more tissue to produce the needed oxygen.
The benefits: This increased use helps lungs reach their full potential, keeping them strong and healthy. Studies have shown that running can help everyone, even smokers, realize their full lung potential.
Your Core Muscles
What’s happening: The core muscles work to keep you upright and stabilized while you run. As you run outside over a variety of surfaces and elevations, the core muscles are constantly working to keep you balanced and moving forward.
The benefits: Stronger core muscles. Every movement involves the core muscles, so they will get a constant workout when you run.
Your Gluteus Maximus
What’s happening: Like your core and legs, your bum helps stabilize the body during a run. It is also part of the hip area, which directs the body and controls your gait.
The benefits: Running burns fat and builds muscle, so the butt is one of the places where you’ll see physical improvements including less cellulite, better tone, and less sagging.
What’s happening: To keep the body upright and propel it forward you have to work against gravity. Two main thigh muscles, hamstrings and quads, act as anti-gravitational muscles during a run.
The benefits: Like it does with the gluteus maximus, running will lead to leaner, toned legs and less cellulite.
What’s happening: During your run, cells will draw glucose from your blood in order to release the energy molecules that are stored inside.
The benefits: Lowers blood sugar levels and improves overall cardiovascular health.
What’s happening: That healthy flush you get with a good run is a result of blood, as well. As you heat up, the circulatory system redirects blood flow to the skin. You’ll also begin to sweat to help tame the rising temperature of your body.
The benefits: Running does more than give you a healthy glow during your run. The increase in circulation nourishes skin cells to make them healthier. It also helps pull waste products, like free radicals, away from the working cells.
About the author: Inspired Endurance sells runners jewelry to marathon runners, triathletes, and hobby runners who want to express their dedication, reaching of milestones, and accomplishments over the great challenges of running. Our running jewelry is available in gold and sterling silver, and comes in the forms of runner charms, running necklaces, bracelets, and running beads that add flair and show the world what you’re passionate about. Much of the Inspired Endurance runner jewelry line can also be engraved with run times, distances, and race names to mark each one of your accomplishments in a personalized way. We offer free shipping and our products are 100% guaranteed. To view our selection, visit www.inspiredendurance.com.