For some people, running means being as fast as possible to the finish line, whereas for others, running is purely a form of exercise. However, running can give us so much more besides. There are at least six great reasons to run, and once you know about them, they will surely persuade lots of you to turn to running as your main form of exercise.
Studies have shown that running for just 30 minutes on a treadmill can immediately relieve some of the symptoms related to depression. Furthermore, if you have the chance to run outdoors somewhere, with fresh air and beautiful scenery all around you, that happiness could be doubled.
Running is a great way to burn calories. Even after running, our bodies continue burning calories (“afterburn” effect) for a certain period of time, particularly in those who run regularly. This means that huge numbers of calories are burned off during and after a running session. What’s more, running is good for the health of various organs, such as the lungs, heart and blood vessels.
When first starting to run, you will no doubt feel tired quite quickly, but if you train properly, your body will adjust accordingly and eventually you’ll be as fit as a fiddle!
When running, our bodies rely on various bodily functions and organs to help regulate the movement and to provide support for the weight transfer that’s going on. For this, the muscles and joints in the legs play a particularly large role. The pressure applied to the joints when we run helps improve the flow of synovial joint fluid. This pressure also builds strength in leg muscles which subsequently support the joints being used and reduce the impacts being sustained by the knee joints. Running at a constant pace while using the correct technique can also increase bone mass and prevent against bone mass deterioration.
Age instantly becomes just another number once you start running, as cardio exercise can aid the body’s oxygen transportation and therefore leave you with a healthy, radiant complexion due to the increase in the number and size of blood vessels as a result of regular exercise. The calorie-burning effect of running can also help maintain a flat stomach and make you feel great on the inside, too. Additionally, in patients who have suffered a stroke, regular exercise has shown to improve language functioning capabilities, critical thinking and decision-making skills.
While running is not a form of cancer treatment, regular exercise has been shown to be linked to a reduction in the risk of developing some forms of cancer. Running also increases strength and immunity in cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. Additionally, the social aspect of running, such as chatting to other runners, can help improve the mental wellbeing of people who are experiencing health-related issues.
Although exercising at an appropriate effort level and at an amount we feel comfortable with does lead to improved cardiovascular performance, studies have shown that we should be running for at least 30 minutes per session, five times a week (or 150 minutes per week in total) at a medium effort level to ensure maximum health benefits, meaning at a pace at which a song could be sung or at a level at which we could maintain a conversation with a friend.
If you would like to improve the efficiency of your running technique or make improvements in any other form of exercise, there are numerous types of assessments available that can evaluate and develop your fitness capabilities, for example development training for golf players to analyze the functioning capabilities of muscles utilized during your golf swing, or a triathlete fitness assessment in order to develop muscle endurance in accordance with the latest sports science available, or an analysis of muscle function necessary for playing football.
Once we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses, we can then make the necessary adjustments to our training regimes in a way that will ensure our body develops the way to suit our individual needs.
Now that you know all this, let’s dust off those running shoes, get changed and head outside to exercise!
M.D., Faculty of Medicine , Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, 2006.