Numerous studies have shown the many ways that running can prevent chronic diseases and improve mental health. Even a light jog a couple of times per week can make a significant, positive, difference in your health. From reducing your risk of early death to fighting anxiety, running can do wonders for your overall well-being. In this article, we look at 10 positive impacts of running.
10 good reasons to start running today
1Running lowers mortality risk by 27%
A large-scale meta-research study published in 2019 by the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggested that running is associated with a lower risk of mortality. A group of scientists analysed 14 studies from 6 cohorts with a pooled sample of over 232,000 participants. Participants had their health tracked for between 5.5 and 35 years.
The analysis of the data showed that those who ran had a 27% lower risk of all-cause mortality, 30% less risk of cardiovascular mortality and 23% lower risk of cancer mortality compared to those who did not run. Participants with different running intensities, paces, and styles achieved such health benefits. Clearly, even running once per week is better than not running at all.
Yes, you read that right; running may help prevent cancer. A 2018 study showed that physical activity is associated with a lower risk of colon and breast cancers. Scientists analysed information from nearly 58,000 adults aged 20 years or older.
A group of researchers estimated total physical activity by sex, age groups, and federative units in Brazil and then compared it to the estimated cases of colon and breast cancer in those areas. They conclude that physical activity may play an essential role in cancer prevention strategies by reducing up to 12% of postmenopausal breast cancers and 19% of colon cancers in Brazil. Other studies have also shown that running helps to prevent the risk of adenoma polyps which are considered a precursor of colorectal cancer.
3Improves your cardiovascular health
Regular aerobic exercise such as running has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Runners also have higher insulin sensitivity and a more favourable plasma lipoprotein profile.
It is proven that regular moderate-intensity aerobic exercise reduces the risk of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. People who exercise show lower resting heart rates and cardiac hypertrophy.
4Lowers blood sugar levels
If you have diabetes or are at risk for developing diabetes research shows that regular aerobic exercise, like running, can help keep blood sugar levels at healthy levels.
A study published in the National Library of Medicine suggests that running may be associated with a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The research, conducted over a 32-year period, followed a group of 19,000 adults free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes at baseline. During a follow-up of 6.5 years over 1,000 participants developed Type 2 diabetes.
The researchers found that those who began running as a form of leisure-time activity had a 28% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t run at all.
While the exact mechanisms by which running may help to prevent type 2 diabetes are not fully understood, the study’s authors believe that physical activity may help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. Regardless of the underlying cause, these findings suggest that running could be an effective way to lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
5Helps to lose and maintain healthier weight
Although the results are not immediate, running is an excellent way to lose weight and manage your weight long-term. Numerous studies have shown that people who run regularly are more successful at maintaining their weight loss than those who do not.
One of the reasons this aerobic exercise is so effective for weight loss is that it helps to boost your metabolism. When you run, your body releases hormones that increase your metabolism and help your body to burn more calories. In addition, running also helps to build muscle, and muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. As a result, running can help you to lose weight quickly and effectively.
6Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to the thinning of bones and the loss of bone density. This can lead to an increased risk of fractures, especially in the hips, spine, and wrists. According to the National Institutes of Health, osteoporosis affects over 54 million Americans.
While this condition is most common in older women, it can affect anyone. However, steps can be taken to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. One of these is regular running; studies have shown that running can increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. This is because running helps to stimulate the production of hormones that are responsible for bone growth. As a result, such a hobby is an excellent way to keep bones healthy and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.
7Improves your mental health
Exercise, especially running, is proven to be a non-pharmacologic option for treating mental illnesses, including depression. Several studies have shown that running can help to improve mood and reduce anxiety.
How does running have such a powerful effect on the body? It largely relates to hormones. Running releases endorphins, which are hormones that can boost mood and relieve pain. In addition, running also helps to increase levels of serotonin, another hormone that is linked to happiness and well-being.
8Reduces stress levels
Numerous studies have shown that running can help to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, resulting in a feeling of calm and well–being.
Furthermore, running also boosts levels of endorphins, which are hormones that have mood–boosting and pain–relieving effects. In addition, running can help to clear your mind and give you a sense of accomplishment, while being a terrific method to socialise and meet new people.
9Boosts your brainpower
Need a mental boost? According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, aerobic exercise like running improves cognitive function and memory.
A meta-analysis of 36 randomized controlled studies showed that aerobic exercise interventions positively influence episodic memory among adults ≥55 years without dementia. Other studies show that aerobic activity improves brain health at any age.
Why? Scientists have suggested several plausible biologic mechanisms, including direct influence on neuronal growth, improved growth factor modulation, and reduction of cerebrovascular risk factors.
10It actually eases pain
If you suffer from chronic pain, you may want to consider giving running a try. Numerous studies have shown that running can help to ease unpleasant chronic pains, such as arthritis. Though it may seem counterintuitive, multiple studies have shown that running can provide significant relief for those dealing with back pain.
One of the primary methods that running helps is by releasing hormones that act as natural painkillers. In addition, running helps to strengthen the muscles in your back and improve your posture. Over time, this can lead to less pain and greater mobility and prevent future injuries.
More interesting facts:
Recent studies associate the runner’s high effect with the release of endocannabinoids in the runner’s body.
Running is a low-impact activity, meaning it puts less stress on your joints than other forms of exercise like jumping or weightlifting.
An average-sized runner will burn about 100 calories per mile.
Why running is good for you
What better way to improve our health than by taking up running? It is low-impact, easy on the joints, and free. There are many benefits that come with hitting the pavement regularly. It improves cardiovascular health, helps reducing the risk of cancer, lowers blood sugar levels, and helps you lose weight. It also reduces stress levels and protects your mental health.
If you are looking for a way to get healthy, look no further than your own two feet; lace up those sneakers and run away towards a healthy lifestyle.
Hungry for knowledge? Here’s more
Watch this video from Big Muscles YT Channel which explains likely positive impacts if you run 30 minutes every day.
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