Long distance running can be a love hate relationship at times. Overall though, if you ask a runner, they love doing it. Runners enjoy numerous health benefits that come from an endurance-based fitness routine. The simple act of running can help to not only improve physical health, but also to contribute to emotional and mental well-being.
One of the most obvious benefits to running is the cardiovascular health boost that runners receive. Runners actually exercise their hearts by elevating the heart-rate during their workouts. By increasing the heart-rate, the heart becomes stronger and is more resistant to heart disease and heart attacks. Distance runners greatly strengthen their hearts by elevating the heart-rate over a long period of time.
Running can also help with weight management. The average person, weighing around 150 pounds, burns around 100 calories for every mile run. By running two or more miles a day, a person can easily increase his daily calorie use and reduce his waistline. Running has also been connected to helping to prevent diabetes and to increasing a healthy appetite for those struggling to eat.
Some runners may also see an increase in their weight when they first start running. This weight gain is due to new muscle developing from the activity. On the whole though, runners will eventually stop gaining weight and they should be able to maintain a healthy weight just by running daily and eating a healthy diet.
Aerobic benefits can also be attained from distance running. Runners are able to increase their aerobic ability by maintaining a regular distance routine. Many athletes use running to boost their aerobic ability to improve competitiveness in their sport. Daily running can help in almost any other sport by giving the athlete greater endurance and strength.
Anyone who has heard of a runner’s high, knows that running can boost mood. The runner’s high occurs when the body releases endorphins to help the runner deal with pain during the workout. These endorphins act as pain killers and mood boosters. When released into the body, they can make the runner feel euphoric, creating an emotional high.
Because running promotes the release of endorphins, some have used it as an added treatment for depression. Running will not work for everyone fighting depression, but it can help some to boost mood and create a better sense of self-esteem. I personally have an anxiety disorder and running really helps me to keep it in check.
Running has also been linked to aiding memory and growing brain cells. According to a study by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, running at least two days a week can help to improve memory and actually improve brain power. As reported in a Telegraph newspaper article by Andrew Hough, the study found that running contributed to brain cell growth in the area of the brain associated with memory. Increasing memory aids people in learning and comprehension, so running could actually help to make someone more intelligent.
Running offers ways to improve both physical and mental health. By maintaining a regular running regimen, people can enjoy benefits of greater stamina, better self-esteem, improved memory and a better overall mood. Though a workout like running can be difficult at times, it is clearly worth the extra work to enjoy all the benefits that running provides.
I love what running has done for my life. I feel great after a run and it helps keep me mentally centered.
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