Many runners probably begin their running program with a physical goal foremost in their minds, like losing weight or toning their legs. These are definitely some potential benefits that come from running, but they’re not the only ones. One of the greatest benefits of a runner’s lifestyle is that it strongly contributes to overall health in so many ways. It could even be a way to meet people or to compete with others in races. Well, the fact is, running has a lot of benefits. And here’s a list of some of the best.
1. Win the battle of the bulge.
Many people start running in order to win the battle of the bulge. Whether they are obese or just want to lose that last ten pounds, or even if they just want to stay at the weight they are at, approximately 60 percent of runners start running to manage their weight. Running is one of the top activities for burning fat. In fact, with the exception of cross country skiing, running burns more calories per minute than any other form of cardiovascular exercise.
2. Prevent muscle and bone loss.
Our bones are made to accommodate the demands placed upon them. By sitting in front of the monitor all day many of us allow our bones to grow weaker, but by running regularly our skeleton gets the demand it needs to stay healthy. In addition to keeping our insides from aging quickly, regular, high-intensity exercise, like running, has also been proven to promote the human growth hormone, which celebrities have taken injections of for years to keep them looking young.
3. Fight disease.
Running reduces the risk of stroke and breast cancer. Regular running has become a treatment option for doctors to prescribe to patients who are at a high risk, or early stages, of osteoporosis, diabetes, and hypertension. It reduces the risk of heart attacks, by strengthening the heart and lowering blood pressure. Running maintains the elasticity of arteries incredibly well because as you run your arteries expand and contract nearly three times as much as usual.
4. Maintain and improve general health.
Running is one of the best activities most people can do to improve their health. It raises HDL (or “good”) cholesterol, reduces the risk of blood clots, and encourages use of the 50 percent of your lungs that usually go unused. Running also boost the immune system by creating a higher concentration of lymphocytes (white blood cells that attack disease).
5. Get confident.
Jogging builds confidence and self-esteem like few other individual sports can. It allows the runner to defeat trial after trial, growing stronger and more sure of themselves with each footstrike. It allows you to truly climb hills and clear obstacles. It provides a feeling of empowerment and freedom that comes with knowing that your legs and body are strong and capable. Confidence is even more a product of running for those who lose weight and gain a better self-image through running.