As the ancient Greeks used to say, ’if you want to be strong — run. If you want to be beautiful — run. If you want to be smart — run.’ And it turns out they were right.
Of course, running in itself won’t help you leave all your troubles far behind, and you’ll need to consult your physician before you start prepping for a marathon. But if running becomes a part of your routine, you’ll definitely notice some positive changes. It’s a nice — and mostly free — way to get fit. It doesn’t require a lot of special equipment (invest in decent running shoes, though) or a gym membership. All good reasons to start running. And we bring you nine more benefits of running:
- Running strengthens your heart, increases the number of capillaries in your body as well as the number of red blood cells. Your heart as a muscle becomes stronger.
- The capacity of the muscles to use the oxygen when it gets to them also increases. A well-trained heart pumps much larger amounts of blood per cycle than an untrained one. And when the blood flow increases, the oxygen consumption follows. All the tissues and organs in your body receive more blood, enriched with oxygen and nutrients.
- It’s a great stress relief. Your body accumulates waste products from all the nervous tension and fatigue during the day. To get rid of it, you need to have a good sweat, and running is perfect for the task.
- When you exercise, your body releases special hormones called endorphins. These are also called ’happiness hormones.’ And for a good reason: when the concentration of endorphins in your blood increases, you experience a slight feeling of euphoria, and depression disappears.
- Mental activity increases. While you’re busy jogging, your brain often comes up with creative solutions to tricky problems seemingly all by itself. It’s all thanks to the oxygen, which helps the central nervous system — including your brain — function more actively.
- Regular running boosts your immunity by increasing levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin in your blood. At the same time it lowers blood cholesterol, reduces hunger and improves your intestinal motility. Combined with the improvement in your metabolism, all of this leads to the normalization of your body weight.
- The time of the day doesn’t matter. In the morning, when your hormone levels are slightly higher than usual, a jog will act as a relief, and help return your body back to normal. Running after a day at work in the evening, on the other hand, will help you relax, recharge, reduce feelings of hunger and, later, fall asleep like a baby.
- Studies indicate that running helps with the partial regeneration of your liver cells.
- Regular running can also have positive effect on your musculoskeletal system. It’s particularly good for the elderly, since it prevents degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis.