Exercise truly is the best medicine for your physical health. Medical science would even agree with this. According to scientific research, a person who exercises regularly for at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week, will see more health benefits than someone who takes prescription medication. Running, in particular, is one of the most beneficial exercises to your health because it will fight obesity, heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, certain cancers, and a variety of other health problems. Also, scientists believe that running will enhance your overall mental and emotional health too. Best of all, it will increase your lifespan.
Below are some of the ways in which running can improve your health.
1. INCREASE YOUR HAPPINESS
Anyone who works out often already knows that exercise can make you feel better, regardless of how you felt before starting your workout. Runners like to call this a runner’s high because running causes certain hormones called endocannabinoids to rush to your central nervous system and make you feel better.
According to a Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise study from 2006, just a little bit of exercise can make someone in a depressive mood feel better. This could be a mere 30-minute walk on a treadmill too. Another study from the same publication in May of 2013 showed that rats which ran inside of a wheel received antidepressant-type benefits. Based on these results, medical researchers concluded that physical exercise as an alternative antidepressant treatment was very effective.
When it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety, moderate exercise can help lift your spirits after the workout. This is beneficial for people who often feel miserable in the morning because they are worried about things that will happen later in the day. According to a Journal of Adolescent Health study from 2012, you can increase your overall mood, concentration, and sleep quality by running for 30 minutes per week for at least 3 weeks.
Running is considered to be a “drug” by some people. This might be accurate too because according to a 2015 Neuropharmacology study, the brain will have similar neurochemical adaptions from running as it does from additive prescription medications.
2. CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT
Most people know that running burns a lot of calories. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the calories keep on burning after you stop running. If you exercise on a regular basis, you will experience this “afterburn” effect where calories continue to burn following your workout.
You can achieve this effect without sprinting because the intensity of your running only needs to be roughly 70% of the max VO2. This is not as fast as marathon speed but a bit faster than a normal steady pace.
3. INCREASE KNEE STRENGTH
Bone mass can increase from running. When people start to lose bone mass from aging, running becomes even more important. However, a lot of people tend to think that running will hurt your knees more than help it. In actuality, this is not true. Numerous scientific studies have proven that running will increase the health of your knees. A lot of people who develop knee arthritis were never active runners before. But those who have been runners were found to have a reduced chance of obtaining osteoarthritis.
4. STAY MENTALLY SHARP
Most people worry about their mental health declining as they get older. But scientific evidence has suggested that consistent exercise will increase certain mental functions, such as memory, switching tasks, and staying attentive. Many scientific studies have shown that older adults with a history of consistent exercise are mentally healthier than older adults who have not exercised much. In patients who’ve had strokes, consistent exercise caused a 50% increase in their memory, thinking, judgment, and language abilities. The overall function of the brain improved.
5. LOWER THE CHANCE OF GETTING CANCER
Although running is not a cure for cancer, it can certainly reduce the chances of getting it. In the Journal of Nutrition, there were 170 different epidemiological studies which revealed that consistent exercise could help reduce the chances of getting certain types of cancers. For those currently dealing with cancer, you will see the quality of your life increase from running while in conjunction with your chemotherapy.
6. INCREASE YOUR LIFESPAN
All it takes is 30 minutes of physical exercise about 5 times each week, and you can live a much longer life. Studies found that smokers lived about 4.1 years longer from exercising regularly. People who don’t smoke live for 3 additional years. Those who survived cancer saw a lifespan increase of 5.3 years. Heart disease suffers had 4.3 years added to their life.