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5 Reasons Why Running is Good for Your Health
There’s nothing like going outside on a nice summer day and taking a long run through nature. Running is a great activity that helps you build endurance and get some much-needed exercise after a long day of work.
Almost anyone can learn to run, and it is a relatively inexpensive activity even if you can’t afford a gym membership. All you need to run is a pair of good sneakers and a nice day.
Keep in mind that depending on your age and body, it may not be safe to run every day or for an extended amount of time. Running excessively can lead to ankle sprains or shin fractures, so if you have any questions about how long or how often you should run, consult with a doctor first.
Here are 5 health benefits of people who decide to take on the challenge of running every week.
Running can improve your sleep
One reason why running is good for you is that your sleep may improve. Researchers are finding that people who run are able to get more hours of quality sleep at night.
Running can help you sleep because when you exercise, your body temperature increases.1 Your body will be alert for thirty to ninety minutes after running, but afterwards your temperature will fall. The drop in body temperature helps you get better sleep at night.
A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health studied two groups for three weeks: those who ran and those who didn’t. Their conclusion was that those who ran every weekday were able to concentrate better because they received higher sleep quality.2
Consider running as a form of daily exercise to help your body relax at night.
Running can help you burn calories
Maintaining a healthy weight is important to keeping your body fit and reducing your risk of high blood pressure, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
According to Healthline Media, a 120 pound individual can burn around 11.4 calories every minute of a run.3 If that person were to run ten minutes, then they would burn 114 calories. A 180 pound person would burn roughly around 17 calories per every minute.
By simply running for ten minutes, your body burns excess calories. This can help you maintain your weight if you run as part of your regular routine.
The pace and length you run will also impact the amount of calories you burn. You’ll want to run at a pace that suits your endurance and will help you maintain or get to a healthy weight.
Choose running as an activity to help keep you fit and healthy.
Running can improve your mental health
Another reason why running is good for you is that it can help reduce anxiety and depression. Many runners will use running as a way to improve their mental health and alleviate their stress.
Researchers are also finding that there are scientific links between exercising and reducing depression. A 2016 study showed that regular exercise has a comparable impact to psychotherapy as well as antidepressants when it comes to regulating depression.5 This makes exercising a natural way to maintain your mental health.
One reason running may help with depression is like other cardiovascular exercises, running helps in the creation of new brain cells.6 Over time, routine running that pushes your body can help create new proteins that affect your critical thinking levels, which makes you more creative and productive.
Running is a natural way you can take control your of mental health and improve your mood. Try incorporating running into your lifestyle to live a happier, more fulfilled life.
Running can help improve your knees
Research suggests that running can improve your knees because runners are less at risk for arthritis.
A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy looked at 25 studies about running.7 The researchers determined that those who ran had less of a risk of developing osteroarthrities than their sedentary counterparts.
Another study compared runners vs. nonrunners, and the results showed that 29% of runners were less likely to experience knee pain.8 The study also followed those who were former runners, and they were less likely to experience knee pain than those who never ran at all.
One reason running may improve your knees is because it directly works out the muscles in your legs, from your hamstrings to your calf muscles. Having these strong muscles can help you maintain your mobility for years to come.
With these studies in mind, running is one way you can improve your knees. Consider adding running into your routine to reduce your risk of knee pain and arthritis in the future.
Running can improve your heart
Strengthening your heart is one reason why running is good for you. When you run, your heartbeat increases, which causes your heart to pump more blood throughout the body. Over time, running can help strengthen your heart, which can help it pump more blood efficiently as you exercise.
According to Dr. Delucia, people who run on a regular basis decrease their chances of getting heart disease by 33-55% because running promotes blood flow.9 A healthy amount of blood flow helps to prevent blood clots in the arteries and blood vessels.
Another reason running is good for your heart is that aerobic exercise can help your body control its blood glucose levels.10 This can help lower your risk of diabetes and other heart-related diseases.
Add running into your routine to help strengthen your heart over time and improve blood flow throughout the body.
Tips for running
If you’re new to running as a form of exercise, you might be wondering how you can get the most out of your workout.
Here are some tips to help you start running today:
- Stretch. Before you do any form of exercise, stretching is important to help loosen your muscles and prepare them for the workout. Do some stretches before you run to help your body better endure the workout.
- Bring water. One of the most important parts of exercising is making sure that you stay hydrated. Bring some water with you to drink in-between runs or during breaks, especially if you go outside on a hot day.
- Run and walk. When you first start running, you won’t immediately be able to run for miles without taking breaks. Try running for a minute, then walking for another minute. Then try running for two minutes and walking for a minute. Over time, you will be able to increase your endurance and the amount of time you can run without stopping.
- Eat 2-3 hours before running. You should eat a good meal before running to ensure that your body has enough of energy before you run. Some foods that are good to eat before running include a banana, half of an English muffin, dry cereal, egg whites, a bagel, and a baked potato.11 Avoid fast foods or high-fat foods because they won’t give you the energy you need for your workout. Always make sure you give yourself some time to digest the food before you run.
- Wear comfortable shoes. When you run, you’ll be putting some wear and tear on your shoes. Choose a pair of well-fitted sneakers that are suited towards running and will last you for the miles to come.
Start Running Today!
Here at Saber Healthcare, we encourage our residents and staff members to participate in exercises that help them stay healthy for years to come. Now that you know why running is good for your body, try adding running into your daily routine!
To learn more about our company and the care we provide to the residents we serve, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Exercising for Better Sleep.” The John Hopkins University, John Hopkins Medicine. Accessed May 27th, 2021. Link: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/exercising-for-better-sleep#:~:text=Based%20on%20available%20studies%2C%20%E2%80%9CWe,at%20Howard%20County%20General%20Hospital.
- Kaleek, Nadeem, et. all. “Daily Morning Running for 3 Weeks Improved Sleep and Psychological Functioning in Healthy Adolescents Compared With Controls.” Elsevier Inc, Journal of Adolescent Health. Published May 2nd, 2021. Link: https://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(12)00111-5/abstract#articleInformation.
- Goldman, Rena. Bubnis, Daniel. “How Many Calories Do You Burn Running a Mile?” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. Last updated June 13th, 2021. Accessed May 27th, 2021. Link: https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/how-many-calories-do-you-burn-swimming#takeaway.
- “Running Calorie Calculator.” Casio Computer Company, keisan.casio.com. Accessed May 27th, 2021. Link: https://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1350959101.
- Kvam, Siri. “Exercise as a treatment for depression: A meta-analysis.” Elsevier B.V., Journal of Affective Disorders. Published September 15th, 2016. Accessed May 27th, 2021. Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165032715314221.
- Brennan, Dan, ed. “What to Know About Running and Depression.” WebMD, webmd.com. Last Updated March 29th, 2021. Accessed May 27th, 2021. Link: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/what-to-know-about-running-and-depression#1
- Alentorn-Genli, Eduard. “The Association of Recreational and Competitive Running With Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, JOSPT.org. Published May 31st, 2017. Accessed May 27th, 2021. Link: https://www.jospt.org/doi/full/10.2519/jospt.2017.7137.
- Lo, Grace H. “Is There an Association Between a History of Running and Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis? A Cross-Sectional Study From the Osteoarthritis Initiative.” National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nih.gov. Published February 2017. Accessed May 27th 2021. Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27333572/.
- “Five Ways Running Improves Your Heart Health.” Bronson Healthcare, bronsonhealth.com. Published July 28th, 2016. Accessed May 27th, 2021. Link: https://www.bronsonhealth.com/news/five-ways-running-improves-your-heart-health/#:~:text=Because%20runners%20have%20stronger%20hearts,your%20risk%20for%20heart%20disease.
- Kerry, Stewart. “3 Kinds of Exercise That Boost Heart Health.” The Johns Hopkins University, John Hopkins Medicine. Accessed May 28th, 2021. Link: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/3-kinds-of-exercise-that-boost-heart-health#:~:text=Aerobic%20Exercise,-What%20it%20does&text=How%20much%3A%20Ideally%2C%20at%20least,per%20week%20of%20moderate%20activity.
- Van De Walle, Gavin. “What to Eat Before Running.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. October 16th, 2018. Accessed May 27th, 2021. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-to-eat-before-running.