A recent survey suggests that less than 1 out of 4 adults have gone for a run or jog in 2018.
While running isn’t for everyone, there are several health benefits that come with going for a jog. Even when jogging for as little as 30 minutes, once a week. So we wanted to go over some of those health benefits in the hope that it will inspire at least one of you to pick up running as a new hobby.
1. Runners live longer than Non-runners
A 2017 study compared the health of runners vs. non-runners and found that runners lived an average of 3 years longer! If that’s not convincing you to lace up the running shoes I am not sure what will.
While there are many studies confirming the fact that running increases life expectancy, there was no correlation found so far between the frequency of running and said health benefits. Meaning, people who ran once a week saw similar health benefits as those running every day.
2. Running is actually good for your knees
Say what? I’ve always heard the exact opposite my entire life. So you could say I was very surprised when I came across this study. In 2018, 675 marathon runners (mean age of 48) who ran a minimum of 10 miles per week were studied for knee pain and arthritis. Arthritis was reported for only 8.8% of the marathoners — compared to the national average of 17.9%.
So there goes one excuse that keeps you from hitting the roads. If you’re still worried about your knees, treadmills are cushioned and have a much lower impact on your joints and knees. Head over to TheHealthPlaybook.com for a great review on the best treadmills under $1,000.
3. Running improves your immune system
Exercising regularly doesn’t only strengthen your core, but turns out it also strengthens your immune system. A 2018 study found a “clear inverse relationship between moderate exercise training and illness risk”.
When you’re exercising heavily, your body is essentially “flushing” your lungs from bacteria which decreases your chances of getting a cold or a flu.
Exercise also gets your blood flowing, and with that, your white blood cells — which are the warriors within your blood that fight diseases.
4. Running reduces stress and depression
I’ve been waiting to use this saying, so here it is:
“Health body, healthy mind”
This is especially true when it comes to running — no wonder they call it a “runner’s high”.
During a run or jog, your brain releases endorphins, which are feel-good neurotransmitters. Endorphins are responsible for you being in a good mood (or in a bad one when you’re lacking them). Not only do endorphins put you in a good mood, but they also have a lasting, relaxing effect on your mood. Similar to meditation.
So next time you have a stressful day, try going for a quick jog. Even as little as a 15-minute jog can turn your day around.
Along with the health your body, running can cure the soul of any weight and ailments. It can help to get your mind off virtually anything. No matter what might worry you, bills, breakups and bothers. Kick it off with a little warm up, follow it up with a test of your stamina or some explosive sprinting.
Go ahead and make sure you have a sexy running mate, to motivate you and bring out that inner animal. The Ivana Models will make for some excellent training mates.
5. Running helps you sleep better
Getting good sleep every night is so important in so many ways. It’s during sleep that our body and mind regenerate and get ready for the next day.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, give running a try. John Hopkins recently confirmed that exercise does improve sleep — even though there is much we don’t yet.
The good news is that only 30 minutes of exercise daily seems to be enough to get your good night sleep. With that said, you won’t be a sleeping beauty overnight, but rather after a few weeks or months — so stick to a regular schedule that you can maintain.
Timing is also important. As we mentioned, during exercise your brain releases endorphins. The endorphins will likely keep you awake — so try to exercise at least 2 hours before you go to bed to make sure you’re rested by the time you hit the sheets.
6. Running lowers your blood sugar
According to the AHA, more than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure — with deaths related to high blood pressure on the rise.
While there are many medications out there on the market, running can be just as good, or even better than some medications. Not to mention it’s cheaper and much better for your body.
The Mayo Clinic confirmed that regular exercise can lower your blood pressure “by an average of 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg)”.
This is especially true as you get older — which is when many adults stop exercising.
What to do if you can’t go running?
I understand that not everyone either enjoys running, or is even physically able to. While I strongly encourage everyone to try to get to the point where you actually enjoy jogging a few times per week, here are a couple of other exercises you can do if running isn’t an option:
Walking: simply walking, or even fast walking, is always a great exercise. Even though it’s less intense than running, it still comes with many of the benefits.
Swimming: Swimming is a great cardio exercise that is easy on your joints. Swimming is a great alternative to running.
Biking: Biking is a great alternative to running as well and is less intensive on the joints.
Golf: If you like to play golf, try walking instead of riding the cart. Even if you have to go down to 9 holes. It’s a great exercise that will keep you healthy — and you’ll have fun doing it.
Elliptical: In terms of exercise, ellipticals are very similar to running and are a great cardio exercise.