You probably know the reasons why you run already. But wouldn’t it be great to know exactly what running is doing for your general wellbeing, the health of body and soul?
See our list of surprising health benefits that running gives you:
- 1) Happiness – There is much anecdotal evidence of the so-called “runners high” that is such a common experience among joggers. Many, if not most, runners describe this feeling as a “sort of euphoria” that takes over the mind once they have been running for a certain time. This positive feeling is certainly one reason why many runners get hooked on the running habit.
But it’s not just during a run that the activity makes you happy – it also improves your mental health when you’re back at home too - A recent study by University College London found that exercising three times a week could lower the risk of depression by 16%. Running releases endorphins that can improve our sense of wellbeing, and make our mental health more robust.
- 2) Weight loss – Whilst cutting back on calories can produce some weight loss results, as a practice it’s hard to maintain in the long run. Exercise, such as running, is easier to maintain in the long run and thus will be a more reliable way to keep off any weight you have lost. With dieting alone, it’s easy to go back to one’s old habits once the diet is over. Add running in, and weight maintenance becomes a more long term project.
Also – in the same way that exercise improves mental health for days after the run, it also works for burning fat – calories are often burnt long after you exercise. This is known as “afterburn”. This bonus can double your weight-loss-by-running efforts.
- 3) Reduced risk of cancer and other illnesses – Our friends over at Runner’s World cite a study by the Journal of Nutrition that reviewed 170 epidemiological studies. This meta-study concluded that regular exercise is associated with a lower risk of certain cancers. Running is almost like a miracle drug – studies have shown it can lower the risk of conditions such as diabetes, stroke and dementia. Miracle drug indeed!
- 4) Running adds years to your life – Many studies say that if you meet just the minimum exercise amount (perhaps the NHS recommended amount – 75 mins of running per week) you will live longer. Even smokers can add years to their life – studies show regular running can add 4 years to a smokers’ life; non-smokers can gain up to 3 years. Cancer survivors can extend their life by 5 years. It’s funny what going for a jog can do!
- 5) Taking in the great outdoors – Running provides one of the great benefits in life - just getting out in the fresh air. Being outdoors, in the fresh air and getting off the sofa in the evenings can simply improve your quality of life, in a very real way. Being outside in the summer is also a great way of getting Vitamin D from the sun.
So you can see why people call exercise/running a miracle drug! Get out there and pound the road; you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!