We all know the saying with the apple and the doctor that is kept away by a sort of magical force-field that is created by the apple previously eaten, but does this apply to running? May it be that it could replace medical prescriptions for anti-diabetic medicine, for beta-blockers and cholesterol lowering tablets and calcium supplements? Well science says: yes, yes and again, yes! And runners know it: regular jogging improves physical and mental health, increases bone density, reduces blood sugar levels, blood pressure and most of all enables the production of endo-morphines, our inner happiness drug. But let us get into all the wonderful reasons for running on a regular basis:
Looking better ( and yes, that includes weight loss )
Yes lads and lasses, the truth of the matter is that running WILL aid you in your battle with the extra pounds (and as funny as it may sound, 60% of runners take up running exactly for that reason: weight management). This mean calorie burner ranks number one amongst cardiovascular exercise (cross country skiing excluded but let’s be fair, neither you nor me are thinking of taking that up pretty soon!). Not only that, but running gets the lymph system moving, that means it unclogs important waste delivery highways so to speak, and your skin will see it!
Increase life expectancy
Although it may not be on our minds just yet, postponing the day we die is something that will concern us as time goes by, so why not make sure that that lovely black Reaper misses the bus stop next to our house at least every day for say…between 20-50% more often than houses of non-runners? That is just what studies show- that sedentary individuals can reduce their risk for premature death by exactly that percentage by simply taking up running because it actually reverses disease.
Killing diabetes before it gets you
Even here we find benefits of running as it not only prevents the development of this tricky disease but it also helps in managing already existing cases. Studies have shown that inactive male participants were 1.7 times more prone to premature death than their active counterparts (even though both had type 2 diabetes).
Fight off cancer
Good news when thinking about one of the most feared diseases of the 21st Century. Running not only prevents many types of cancer but it contributes to reduced recurrence rates. According to meta-analyses that included more than 100 studies, researchers concluded that high intensity activities such as running were more effective in preventing cancer development than lower intensity ones.
Running is by definition a high impact activity because it places stress on bones with each stride taken, and this is essential in osteoporosis prevention, as studies have shown that higher bone density is found with athletes who undergo high impact sports as compared to other athletes. This is because bones, as muscles, react to stress by increasing density, and if not sufficiently and consistently stressed, they will become weak and brittle.
This might seem a silly reason as not many of us realize the connection between confidence and physical activity, but indeed, jogging will build self-esteem like few other sports can because runners constantly have to meet their “wall”, where they feel they cannot take another step, but the feeling of that next step and the one after that is so empowering that obstacles in day to day life become smaller.
This is an important one: not all of us can afford to take up a sport like cycling or go to a gym because we just have more pressing financial concerns. But running can be done with virtually no gear (running shoes are always a must but other than that, you can just run around the block). And the best thing is that even when traveling there is always room for a pair of running shoes( granted the ladies let a pair of high heels home).
Mind work underway
The lovely thing is that while training the body the mind gets a workout too. We improve determination, focus and ambition simply by overcoming obstacles that come along with running. And when by sheer willpower you are able to push through long runs instead of just skipping this will translate into other areas of life.
Or the proverbial “runner’s high” is a sudden release of endorphins that generate a sense of happiness. And doctors are well aware of this since running has been a tool used for treating addiction and depression for years.
Cure for insomnia
According to studies, sleeping comes easier to runners who not only fall asleep faster but also sleep longer. Therefore instead of the sleeping pills you keep on your nightstands.
So whatever your reason may be, make sure your shoes are strong and your will ready. Or was it the other way around? Either way, I’m off for a night run! See you there?!