Running, it can be a hard slog for some people. That’s especially true when you’re not used to doing much physical activity because there will be moments where you want to pack it in and quit.
They could be mental barriers and they might be physical but regardless of when they occur you can get through them and find enjoyment from your run. Here are seven reasons why you should!
Solve your insomnia
The first benefit of taking up running is that it aids your sleep. It’s well documented how important sleep cycles are for our health but, in spite of that, most people still find themselves sitting up beyond what is – or what should be – their bedtime.
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Now, you might think that being active and sleeping like a baby are contradictory. You’d be wrong though. Numerous studies have been done to link physical activities, such as running, to sleep routines and it is proven that moderate – not intense – exercise can see you nod off more quickly with your sleep being of better quality. Don’t just take our word for it though, look up Charlene Gamaldo MD the who explains the link in more detail!
Reduce your cancer risk
Cancer is a horrible disease and whilst there are no guarantees in life a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that runners – and other highly physical activities and sports reduced the chances of a cancer developing. In fact, the study identified the risk for 26 different types of cancer was reduced.
This is compared to those who do little to no exercise. The other associated benefit of being a runner is that, if you are one of the unlucky people who develop a cancer, the mortality rate in those who are fit is reduced greatly whilst side effects of treatments, such as chemotherapy, are also reduced.
Boost your immunity
It might sound crazy but a study from D. C. Nieman and L.M. Wentz makes the claim that there is a running ‘sweet spot’ that sees your immunity levels peak. This is due to the way the exercise activates leukocytes in your system, which directly links into body tissue and circulations.
One key thing to note, however, is the use of that word ‘sweet spot’. The same study that proves a link to exercise and immunity also shows that extreme activity levels can have the opposite effect and actually being about a drop in immunity.
Protect yourself against Alzheimer’s and more
If you thought a boosted immunity was a bonkers benefit of running, then protecting yourself from diseases such as Alzheimer’s might be another that raises an eyebrow.
Alzheimer’s is an illness linked heavily into the brain and, specifically, brain matter. With running, your boosted red blood cells and see these transported around your body. One of the stops on that journey is the brain with BDNF, a naturally occurring protein, being released. That protein is proven to help slow Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders.
Right, we’ve looked at a couple of ‘hidden benefits’ of taking off for a run and now we look at one of the more obvious benefits – losing weight. The concept of losing weight can be easily over complicated but, ultimately, it’s about burning more calories than you consume. This is where running comes in.
If you were to walk a mile, you’d burn circa 50 calories. If, however, you went for a run across the exact same path your calories burned would be around double – and the run would have taken less time. As you start to crank that logic through a few miles more then you can see how much difference it could make.
Manage your mental health
There is regularly talk of exercise being good for your mental health but it’s not just an old wife’s tale – there are numerous studies that support the claim. One of those aforementioned studies was authored by Siri Kvam back in 2016 where they concluded that physical activity could aid depression.
The believed reason for that, which has been cited by other studies, is that activities – like running – increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are two chemicals used in anti-depressant medicines. Alongside helping depression, running can also help reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Prolong your life
Last but not least we come to what we believe to be the biggest reason to take up running, which is the simple fact that it can add years to your life. We’ve already cited several physical and mental health benefits and all of that pooled together can help you reach a ripe old age.
If you want some proof of that, how about a study completed at Stanford University where they found that the ‘exercise group’ had a death rate that was 50% less than that of the ‘non-exercise group’ by the time they reached the age of 70-years-old.
There you have it, seven reasons to take up running!