That’s right, we went there with the cheesy title. Running is a super accessible form of exercise for all abilities; you can run indoors, outdoors, alone or with company. It provides a fantastic workout and boasts an abundance of benefits to your physical and mental health. Here are 5 reasons to make a date with your running shoes this Valentines.
Running is great for your whole body. It improves your cardiovascular health, helps to lower blood pressure, raises your levels of good cholesterol, boosts your immune system and reduces the risk of blood clots… we could go on. According to the American College of Cardiology, running as little as five minutes per day could add years to your life.
It also helps to keep your mind healthy. A 2012 review of research has shown aerobic exercise helps combat age-related mental decline by improving functions such as working memory, focus and task switching ability. A study from Nottingham Trent University, showed interval running improves aspects of “executive function” – basically a higher-level controlling attention, tuning out brain function and solving problems. They studied a group of young adults and found clear gains after 10 minutes of interval sprints which accumulated after seven weeks of training.
According to Runners World, running is one of the best forms of exercise for losing or maintaining a consistent weight – not that their biased. It’s a fantastic calorie burner and if you exercise regularly you can boost the calories burnt after your workout too – bonus! Weight loss is of course dependent on the workout and your routine must boost your activity level of what it was before. If you find your weight loss plateauing you need to change something up – either the duration of your run or the intensity.
If you are a running fanatic you will be well aware of the ‘runners high’, a rush of hormones known as endocannabinoids. This high also does not come with an imminent come down, quite the opposite. Research has shown that regular running will increase mood in the long term. The journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise published a study that showed even a single period of exercise, in this case just a mere 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill, had the power to instantly lift the mood of someone suffering from a major depressive order. We have written about the positive effects that exercise can have on your mental health in a previous blog, check it out for some more info.
Running can help to boost your confidence. When you start to set and achieve fitness goals you will feel a sense of accomplishment. That’s why its great to record your fitness journey, either online or good ole’ pen and paper. Once you see how far you have progressed the motivation and empowerment can spill over into other areas of your life too.
Running is a well-documented stress alleviator. Not only does it act as an escape from the day to day stresses of life, it stimulates the release of endorphins which make us feel good, and it goes beyond just the workout. According to a 2012 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, regular exercise will help you cope with stress even after your run. If you struggle to sleep, a well-timed work out can increase the quality of your sleep.
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