Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise with young, fitness-savvy people. You can often see runners on tracks, sidewalks, and even on treadmills at the gym at all hours of the day. Nearly every runner will tell you that running makes fitness better. While you might think their view is biased because they enjoy running, the facts speak for themselves. This blog explores several evidence-based benefits that running can bring to your overall health and fitness.
8 Ways Running Makes Your Fitness Better
Running is not just a pastime for when you don’t have access to a gym. It is one of the healthiest activities you can do with little to no equipment. In return, regular running often improves knee and back health, as well as adding years to your life. It is by far one of the best exercises to lose weight. Modern scientific knowledge about health and fitness has made it possible to isolate and prove several astounding benefits of running. Here are 8 ways running can be good for you:
- Helps Lower Blood Pressure
- Reduces The Risk of Diabetes
- Improves Mental Health
- Boosts Immunity
- Reduces Cancer Risks
- Improves Brain Function
- Burn Fat and Keep it Off
- Adds Years to Your Life
Let’s take a closer look at these below.
Helps Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the most common and most dangerous health risks. According to this 2019 meta-analysis, running is a good way to combat blood pressure problems without having to resort to prescription drugs. Both strength and aerobic exercise can help reduce high BP.
Reduces The Risk of Diabetes
With an ongoing obesity epidemic in the US, Europe, and other western countries, diabetes remains a serious and common problem. It is mostly caused by high glucose levels in the blood. The American Diabetes Association has found that running can help reduce and even prevent Type 2 diabetes. The ADA also states that exercise can significantly benefit those with Type 1 diabetes as well.
Improves Mental Health
Mental health disorders like anxiety and depression are very common. They have a number of devastating effects on an individual’s life, including reduced social ability, difficulty in managing daily life, and irregular emotional outbursts. This can prompt several other conditions such as smoking, alcoholism, and drug abuse, which can lead to cardiovascular issues, liver diseases, cancer, and even, in some cases, male infertility. This 2016 study into the relationship between depression and exercise established that exercise can:
- help to treat depression,
- is often as effective as prescription medication and psychotherapy,
- and can be a low-cost alternative to hard-to-find treatments.
There is a solid link between the human body’s defense mechanisms and regular exercise, as found in this 2019 paper. According to the paper, moderate exercise like running can help boost the immune system, whereas ultra-high-endurance exercises can reduce it. Running also helps build up healthy gut bacteria, lower inflammations, and improve the body’s antibody response.
Reduces Cancer Risks
This 2016 original investigation published by the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the incidence of cancer among nearly 1.44 million people along with their exercise habits. The study found that high-fitness exercise, such as regular running can help reduce the risk of a person developing 26 different types of cancer. In case you already do have cancer, running can help combat the side-effects of cancer treatments and offers emotional and physical support.
Improves Brain Function
Running can help improve gray matter volume. It also improves the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain. As this study shows, both of these can help combat the onslaught of brain plaques that can cause problems like Alzheimer’s disease and declining cognitive function. Running also improves overall brain health.
Burns Fat and Keep it Off
It is no surprise that running helps with weight loss without having to resort to slimming medication. In any case, who do you think wins between slimming pills vs diet and exercise? Running burns more calories than most other exercises because it involves moving your entire body weight. Running burns roughly 100 calories per mile. You should ideally be burning .75 times your body weight (in lbs) per mile to shed and keep the fat off. Even if your weight loss diets fail, regular running will still burn off some of the excess calories.
Adds Years to Your Life
In 2018, a meta-analysis was conducted on research available on exercise and longevity. The results were quite astonishing. We all know that running is a good way to stay fit and healthy. But the meta-analysis shows that runners have a 25 to 30% lower rate of mortality for any cause than non-runners. Not only do you live longer with regular running but you also stay healthy and productive as well.