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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Benefits of Running: Why You Should Start Now

It’s the first Wednesday of June and the US is celebrating National Running Day. So to honour this and the life-changing exercise (that most likely made me a healthier person), here are some of the benefits of running that I hope will convince a lot of you to start a commitment to it.

 Benefits of Running: Why You Should Start Now

1. Strengthens your lungs

When you run, the muscle cells you’re using need more oxygen and nutrients in order to sustain your movement. This makes your heart compensate by beating faster and harder. Your lungs, on the other hand, increase its capacity to keep up with the oxygen demands of your cells by increasing blood flow, gas exchange and number of capillaries used in your lung tissues.

2. Is good for your heart

 Benefits of Running: Why You Should Start Now

Running is a kind of cardio and even though it stresses your heart (to beat faster and harder), it’s the good kind of stress that eventually makes it stronger. According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, running for even just 10 minutes a day can drastically reduce your risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease. So when you keep a habit of running, your heart eventually does not need to work as hard as before. 

3. Prevents disease

A study in 2014 from the National Journal of Cancer found out that running beats walking in fighting off breast cancer. Although both running and walking can potentially reduce the risk of cancer, they have confirmed that running may be more effective in the fight. It can also reduce the risk of having a stroke and heart attack. How? Running, along with other forms of exercise, strengthen the heart and help arteries maintain their elasticity.

Doctors often recommend running for people in the early stages of diabetes, osteoporosis and high blood pressure.

4. Helps in losing or maintaining weight

Running is one of the most successful ways of shedding those extra pounds. It is the second most effective in terms of burning calories. And they found out that there is a direct correlation to the amount of fats that are being burned off to the time of your run. Meaning the longer you run, the more fats are degraded by your body.

5. Boosts memory

 Benefits of Running: Why You Should Start Now

Believe it or not, running actually helps in boosting your memory. How? Regular exercise increases the blood flow to the brain which also means an increase of oxygen and nutrients for your brain cells. These events can adversely affect brain function. Also, regular exercise has been proven to beat age-related mental decline such as in your working memory.

6. Makes you happier

Ever heard of runners high? Well, they’re real. Scientists found out that when we run, our brain releases two feel-good chemicals: endorphins and endocannabinoids. Endorphins are proven to relieve pain and induce the feeling of euphoria or great pleasure. Endocannabinoids have effects that are quite similar to the compounds found in cannabis. Some mental health experts also use running to help treat clinical depression and some psychological disorders (like alcohol and drug addiction).