Five Ways Running Can Improve your Health

Running has become such a huge trend during the pandemic. The first reason is that because a lot of people took up running as a new hobby to fill in the additional time that the pandemic has brought. Running has been a great option to try especially because it allows one to be outdoors, do a physical activity while also being socially distanced from the public.

Reduce Weight and Obesity

  • Probably the most known benefit of running to our health is the fact that it can lower our weight and prevent obesity. Like any cardio exercise, running in one of the workouts that burn the most amount of calories reduces fats in the body that causes an increase in the body’s cholesterol count. The reduction of body fat can be achieved even without any change in the diet as long as there is a consistent running routine that follows FITT principles.  A study with 33,480 male runners and 14,211 female runners, it was observed that even those who have higher risks due to inheriting a gene for obesity have significantly reduced the risk due to running (P.William, 2012). In another study by William back in 2013 he also observed the body mass index of runners and non-runners, after comparing, runners’ BMI was significantly lower as well.   

Can Lower Risks of Diabetes and Hypertension

  • In the same study mentioned above 33,060 runners and 15,945 walkers showed a lower prevalence of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease. It was also observed that those who tend to run in a higher intensity have lower risks of developing the following chronic illness mentioned. The same observation was made from those runners who run longer distances as well.

Strengthens the Cardiovascular System

  • When muscle building, one would use weights and body weights, however for the muscles in our heart, there is no amount of weight that can make it stronger. For our heart muscles, performing cardio is the best way in order to make it stronger specifically the walls of the heart. Running sufficiently increases the heart’s efficiency. Like everything else in our body, running also trains the heart and lungs to comfortably pump enough oxygenated blood hence helping the cardiovascular system minimize its workload. According to Dr. DeLucia, those who start running on a regular basis tend to have a reduced risk for heart diseases by 35 to 55 percent. 

Reduces Risks of Cancer

  • An analysis in the National Runners’ and Walkers’ Health Study of 90,000 individuals showed that the risk for kidney cancer has reduced by up to 61%. It is also seen that a lot of kidney cancers have been caused by taking multiple medications such as medications for hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and coronary heart disease, which are also illnesses reduced by running. It was also seen that running has reduced the mortality rate in breast cancer patients by 42%. It has also reduced the mortality rate of brain cancer patients by up to 43 percent (P. William, 2014).

Stronger Mental Health

  • It has been and is continuously being observed that running helps reduce stress levels, this is in connection to the fact that the brain releases a lot more norepinephrine that is very essential to the brain’s stress management. Although these chemicals can be released with whatever physical activities, running has been said to contribute to calmness because it is to be done outdoors surrounded by nature. Studies were also able to prove that those who regularly run and do physical activities tend to have a more productive day and are able to do a lot more work. Cardiovascular activity can help to regenerate brain cells and improve overall brain function. A challenging run raises blood levels of a brain-derived protein that is thought to aid decision-making, higher reasoning, and understanding. Running is also able to slow down cognitive decline that prevents the degeneration of the hippocampus and overall improves memory.

With a lot of gyms closing it is harder to perform cardio activities without the help of equipment such as treadmills and stationary bikes. The pandemic has also prevented us from being with a lot of people especially in close proximity. This is when a lot of cardio activities have shifted to either indoors or jogging around the neighborhood. A lot of people saw this time as an opportunity to also start taking up a lot more physical activities because the self-isolation has resulted in inevitably having a more stagnant lifestyle and most of the time the only physical activity being performed is the walk from the bed to the working area one meter away. Running is a free exercise that you can enjoy solo or with your preferred company – pre and post-pandemic. 

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