There are many health benefits to running, and it’s not only your physical health that improves when you hit the pavement. Whether you like to run long distances outside, jump on the treadmill at the gym, or do some barefoot running at the beach, it is a great way to stay healthy. While it is obviously good for controlling your weight, strengthening your heart and keeping your whole body conditioned and in shape, this type of cardio also has an impact on your mental health and even your social health. Here are some of the best reasons to run:
• Weight loss. There is no better way to melt the pounds and fat off your body than to start running or jogging. You get a top-notch cardio workout, and almost every muscle in your body is becoming more healthy. Start off slowly with half a mile if you have never been into running before, and slowly build your endurance until you can run for longer distances. You’ll love the shape your body takes, and how healthy you will feel in all aspects of life.
• Heart and lung health. Running keeps blood flowing throughout the body, which is a great way to reduce the risk for a heart attack. It has also been proven to improve health by increasing your chances of fighting off all kinds of illnesses – from a simple sniffle, to certain cancers.
• Bone health. Running increases your bone density because it is a weight bearing form of cardio exercise. This prevents osteoporosis, which will improve health as you get older.
• Stamina. I remember when I went hiking through Utah with friends who are runners, I was wishing I was a runner too. They felt better, had increased energy and managed altitude changes better. I was the only one bent over and gasping for air. Running leaves you with improved all around health.
• Depression. Studies have shown that people who run for cardio exercise are much happier than people who do not. Running is a great way to fight off depression and keep your moods balanced. It relieves stress, keeps you energized and provides what many people describe as a “runner’s high,” which is probably the endorphins flooding your body when you run.
• Social benefits. Running places you in a category of other runners, and that’s a pretty cool social circle to find yourself in. There are a lot of races that raise money for charity which you can compete in as a runner. Some people join running clubs, others compare times or run competitively, and who wouldn’t love a jog through the park as a date?