10 Reasons Running Is Good For You

Burn calories, fight cancer, and strengthen your bones.

Running is one of the most popular sports. From cross-country to track, there are many ways to practice running. Perhaps you’re a solitary jogger, enjoying the rhythmic pounding of your feet against the road. You could be a sprinter, someone who loves testing how fast their legs can move. You can enjoy running with a single friend or a community. You can run marathons, or run without set finish lines. You can run on trails, tracks, beaches, or roads. However you like to run, you’re not alone.

There are runners around the world, and it’s easy to see why. Running comes with a wide array of health benefits. It can help prevent diseases of all kinds, including mental conditions, age-related diseases, diabetes, and even cancer. If you’re looking for reasons running is good for you, check out these 10 amazing health benefits of running. You’ll be lacing up your sneakers in no time!

1. It’s a great form of cardio.
One of the best parts about running is that it’s a versatile form of cardio. You can run long distances or complete quick interval workouts that will get your heart pumping in a short period of time. Running is a form of cardio that you can do without previous training or fancy equipment. It’s great for beginners or gym veterans looking to burn more calories.

2. You can run indoors or outdoors.
Make the most of sunny days by running through the park, around a lake, or even in your neighborhood. Exercise on cloudy, rainy days by going on a treadmill. Though many runners have complained that treadmills can be monotonous, modern treadmills have screens so you can watch television or movies. Get your cardio in while catching up on your favorite shows!

3. You’ll be joining a community of runners.
Though it can be nice to run alone, it’s not your only option. Runners are all over the world. You can join a runner’s community online or download one of the many social apps that will help you meet a running partner. You can go on a group run or join a fundraising team and run a marathon for a good cause.

4. It will teach you motivation.
Although running is nothing more than putting one foot in front of the other, after you complete the first few miles, you’ll understand how much willpower it takes. As Murakami said in his autobiographical work, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” Running is effort. Even when your body is perfectly capable of completing another mile, your mind wants to stop and take the easy way home. When you run, you won’t only be working out your leg muscles. You’ll also exercise your willpower and motivation, which is necessity to become stronger.

5. Running relieves stress.
When work or school have your shoulders tense, running can help you relieve stress. Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel happy and relaxed. Running gives you a perfect opportunity to be alone with your thoughts. Running has been used to effectively treat clinical depression.

6. You’ll fight off sickness.
Increasing your daily activity levels has been proven to help ward off many diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Running has been linked to lower cancer rates. Although cancer is mostly linked to genetics and environmental triggers, recent studies have found that the cancer rate among people with high activity levels is significantly low. Treat your body right, because a healthy body can trap and subdue malignant cells.

7. You’ll prevent age-related muscle loss.
As we age, we lose muscle mass. You can delay and slow this process by frequently challenging your muscles. Running has been proven to help prevent age-related muscle loss, keeping your body young longer.

8. It increases endurance.
Even if running is not your preferred workout, it will still help you achieve your fitness goals. Running gives you better lung capacity and endurance. It also builds lean muscle along your calves, thighs, butt, and abs. This comes in handy if you’re into heavy weight lifting, yoga, pilates, or team sports.

9. It increases bone density and joint strength.
Running keeps your muscles tough. It also strengthens your tendons and ligaments, providing essential support to your joints. Being a runner can actually help you recover faster from joint injuries such as a twisted ankle.

10. You’ll accomplish your weight loss goals.
Adding running to your fitness regimen is a great way to work toward your weight loss goals. Whether you’re sprinting or jogging at a comfortable pace, you’ll burn roughly 100 calories per mile. You don’t have to be a marathon runner to lose weight. Even adding two to three miles before or after your workout can make a huge difference.

Ready to start running? Check out this beginner’s running plan or a quick treadmill workout.

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Sofia Lopez

Sofia received her BA from Cornell University and her MFA from San Francisco State University. She creates workouts and fitness challenges. Her hobbies include running, hiking, and listening to audiobooks from the exercise bike.

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