Running can be tiring and painful and yet millions of people around the world run regularly to keep themselves fit. Most kinds of physical exercise are beneficial for remaining healthy, but a lot of people prefer running over other forms of physical exercise. This may be because running does not require expertise and specialized equipment. It is free and accessible to all who want to practice it. Some runners choose to run for the adrenaline and others choose it for the health benefits.
Help to Build Strong Bones
Running is a weight-bearing exercise and therefore helps you strengthen the musculoskeletal system. It is especially helpful for young children and teenagers whose bones have not completely developed. Running is also helpful in improving joint stability, but if not practiced properly, it can cause substantial damage and injuries to the joints. Some magazines report that running can prevent the loss of bone density related to aging in adults, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
Management of Weight
Brisk walking, jogging and running are all considered efficient ways of losing fat and managing a healthy weight. The major difference between running, jogging and brisk walking is the intensity. Running increases your heart rate and improves circulation. Increased aerobic capacity keeps you fit and eases daily activities such as climbing large flights of stairs. It also helps you improve the health of your heart and reduce risks of cardiovascular problems like angina, heart attacks and high blood pressure.
Improving Mental Health
Running is good for both your body and your mind. A lot of runners experience a sense of elation and happiness after a run. Running releases endorphins in your brain. These are chemicals that enhance mood. Endorphins also naturally help relieve stress. Since running increases release of endorphins, it improves sleep, raises self-esteem and keeps you in a good mood. The aerobic benefits of running can help work out feelings of anger, frustration and stress. This relaxes your mind and is greatly beneficial especially on a particularly stressful day.
Disadvantages of Running
While running is considered a great exercise, it should not be the only form of exercise that you perform. Running regularly, especially with improper running gear, could increase the risk of pain in the knees and hip. It could also cause damage to the knee joints, making you prone to develop arthritis. Along with running, also perform some upper body workouts so that a balance of strength is maintained between the upper and lower parts of the body.
- Vanderbilt University: The Benefits of Running; Elizabeth McLeod Sadler
- Bupa: Benefits of Running