The primary benefits of running, we all know, are fairly easy to recognize. So, why do you ask, shall you continue reading this article? Well… I find it interesting…and we come across the upcoming topics frequently, because wellness, good or bad, is part of our everyday lives.
As I started on this list, and likely my muse, I recalled a recent visit to my primary care doctor. We all notice, while waiting for the Doctor, the posters all over the walls. Most of us are trying to look past the abundance of information regarding medications, to find only a chart explaining where we land on Body Mass Index or one that tells us tobacco use is harmful. Yet, these prescription drugs are utilized to ‘Improve’ something about ourselves. Running can be that free “drug” to improve those same things we turn to medication for. And although the list of the benefits of running is large, I have listed just a few of the big topics, hoping to generate a good discussion.
Improving one’s overall health is something I think we understand as being important, but until your doctor gives you your numbers does it really resonate as a concern or not. Some people may be predisposed to illness within the history of their families. Others may have another illness that contributes to having a higher risk of these. Either way, we know nutrition and exercise can decrease the risk. I have listed a few of the known medical issues below which the impacts can be reduced or even eliminated with a consistent running plan:
- Diabetes – lowered levels of sugar.
- Heart Attack – improved functionality through consistent exercise, less strain from weight loss, and increased lung function.
- Stroke – decreased cholesterol levels.
- Common Illnesses – increased immune system.
We have all experienced lack of energy – some more so than others. Running is one of the fitness regimes that is easy to measure: speeds, lengths, time and heart rate. With that you can easily regulate your runs to build up overtime, having consistent and visible improvements over time. Running can easily be alternated with other muscle-building workouts as the cardio part of one’s fitness plan. Benefits include:
- Stamina from increases in muscle mass and increases in heart & lung functionality.
- Regulation of sleep from the body needing to recharge.
- Consistent use of body, as a whole.
- Immune system build up.
Once a person becomes consistent with running, it becomes important to understand nutrition needed for the body to perform at the desired levels pertinent to one’s routine. And our bodies will tell us this. Most workout routines are based on the premise of nutrition and exercise, as the two go hand in hand. Benefits include:
- Caloric intake is regulated to the improving overall body health.
- Body will crave nourishment from foods with essential vitamins and nutrients.
Improved Mental Health
Mental and Behavioral heath is a growing topic in the medical field. The idle mind and stagnant physical activity can take its toll on everyone. Just by pushing yourself the very first day, you get that sense of accomplishment and the feeling of tiredness is most welcome in our minds because we understand how positive it is for our personal growth. Pushing ourselves day after day feels less of chore and more of a welcomed escape. The run itself can recharge us from the stresses of every day life and give us something that we will come to look forward to. Benefits include:
- Improved concentration (very present during the run).
- Regulated sleep needed to revive the mind and body from the exercise.
- Increases in self-esteem, self-worth, and accomplishment.
- Routines of exercise will bleed over into other facets of our lives, including work/life balances.
These topics are things that we thought were obvious, but take them in context of our everyday lives. Think of the benefits of running and how this exercise type will help in all of our everyday activities. I focused on topics that dealt with the individual runner’s self all the way up to and including their Health. Each one of these topics have been very present in my life and running has been there to support those improvements.
To get the ball rolling, I’ll give one of the not so evident benefits of running outside of just improving ourselves. An additional result from the improvement topics above are the relationships with family & friends. Loved ones. Attitudes will change as the novice runner takes the journey. Running can also be a healthy family activity, strengthening relationships through the shared interest.
Now let the discussion begin – in hopes of sharing something that may resonate with everyone in this running fellowship. Share the benefits that you have had because of this activity and where you are in your running journey.