By Hannah Dorfman is a syracuse graduate interested in business.
Over the part seven years, running has always been my outlet for stress, aggravation, and frustration. During this time, I have completed 10 seasons of track (including cross country) and have managed to run four to five times a week. I now have to figure out how to keep up a routine when I go to college. As far as cardio activity goes, running is at the top of the list and many positive health benefits come from running. When the word “run” comes to mind, it makes me think of all the benefits. Here are the top 10 reasons to I run:
1. Improves mood. When running, your body releases endorphins, which are the “feel good” hormones. These hormones can lead to a sense of euphoria or a “runners high,” and can make you feel on top of the world. It’s truly one of the best feelings.
2. Gets you in shape. When you run, you use up a lot of your body’s energy. This energy loss translates into calorie burning, which is how you lose weight. In general, running burns far more calories than other activities such as walking or yoga. The number of calories burned depends on your weight, the intensity of your workout, and the distance you travel.
3. Improved cardio health. Running helps lower blood pressure and helps arteries maintain their elasticity. Try running 30 minutes a day for four days a week to have great cardiovascular health.
4. Helps you become more coordinated. If you run on a trail or path, running causes you to maintain control over uneven surfaces such as roots and hills. Even running on a straight path is beneficial because you train your body to work together, keep you upright, and stay in the same direction.
5. De-stressing mechanism. Studies show that running actually lowers your stress levels. The act of running allows you to focus on your body moving forward, instead of thinking about that bad grade you got on a math quiz or your recent split from your boyfriend/girlfriend. At the end of a run, there’s a sense of accomplishment, which makes you feel good inside.
6. Social activity. Have trouble getting started alone? Call up a friend or two and chat while you talk. This way you can combine exercise into your social life. The great thing about running is almost everyone can do it.
7. Automatic health benefits. Researchers have found that people who actively run are less likely to get a stroke or breast cancer. In many cases, if a patient has been diagnosed with osteoporosis, diabetes or hypertension, the doctor will prescribe running workouts for treatment. Running reduces the risk of a heart attack by strengthening the heart muscle and lowering blood pressure. Running also raises HDL (good cholesterol), reduces the risk of blood clots, and can expand your lungs by 50 percent. An additional health benefit is the improvement in your immune system. Running increases the concentration of lymphocytes, which fight the bad cells in your body.
8. Explore new territory. During my track seasons, we would try to mix up the routes to keep from getting bored. It was awesome because I got to see all of these really cool places all over town that I would have never discovered if I hadn’t run there. Now that I’m heading off to college, I have to learn new routes to take.
9. Keeps you from aging. If you run regularly, you are less likely to lose bone and muscle loss when you age. Because running can be physically demanding, bones and muscles will only grow bigger and stronger and less likely to weaken when you age.
10. Mentally challenging. Sometimes it’s tough to get up that steep hill or make it through the last quarter mile – this is where running becomes all mental. If your brain tells your body that you CAN finish, you will be amazed at your body’s positive response to the encouragement.
Interested in becoming a runner like me? Grab a friend, an iPod or join a team. You will notice all of these benefits over time. If you have trouble getting started, make yourself bribes like, “if I run two miles today, I will treat myself to ice cream later.”
This article has been reviewed by BodiMojo health expert Tara Cousineau.