10 Science-Backed Reasons to Lace-Up for Global Running Day
While it’s common knowledge that running is a great way to get into shape, there are many advantages that go beyond physical fitness. Whether you’re a newbie runner or training for the marathon, there are many reasons why this exercise is good for you.
In honor of Global Running Day, which was June 5, 2020, we wanted to share some of the top mental and physical health benefits:
Boosts your mood
If you ask runners why they love this exercise, the rush of feel good endorphins is probably at the top of the list. And the good news is you don’t need to run five miles to experience the “runner’s high.” According to one study, running for as little as 15 minutes each day can reduce your risk of depression.
Helps you sleep better
Looking to get more shut-eye? Running can help, according to research at John Hopkins Center for Sleep. Moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of “slow-wave sleep,” calming the mind and body and making it easier to fall and stay asleep.
There’s no denying the stress-fighting powers of exercise, and running is no exception. Researchers found “exercise training recruits a process which confers enduring resilience to stress.” In other words, running can actually make you resistant to stress.
Lowers the risk of heart disease
Heart disease is a major health concern, affecting millions of people every year. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death in the U.S. One of the biggest benefits of running is that it promotes cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of developing heart disease. Longer-distance runners are scientifically-proven to have healthier hearts compared to those who live a sedentary lifestyle.
Fights off anxiety and depression
Looking for a natural prescription to combat anxiety and depression? Research shows physical exercise – running in particular – is effective in treating symptoms of these common mental health conditions.
Prevents age-related cognitive decline
Worried about keeping your mind sharp as you age? According to a study published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, exercising on a regular basis helps promote brain health. This includes attention, working memory and multitasking. Running in particular increases the production of new neurons in the brain.
Helps you lose or maintain a healthy weight
While exercise burns calories, the best part about running is that the calorie burning continues post-workout. This is known as the “afterburn” effect or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
Bonus tip: If you want to lose weight, exercise is only part of the equation. Diet is also important.
Decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes
By making smarter lifestyle changes, many cases of type 2 diabetes can be managed. One of the best ways to reduce your risk is with physical activity. This includes walking, jogging and running.
As mentioned above, science confirms the brain benefits of running. Along with better memory and focus, running provides greater mental clarity. Not surprisingly, all of these combined make you more productive.
Not feeling motivated to work out these days? You’re not alone. Here’s a quick mental trick to change that.
According to a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine, running can add years to your life! Older runners reported fewer disabilities and lived longer compared to older non-runners.