Why do runners do it? What makes them take a perfectly good day and decide to take an hour to run when you can get great health benefits from walking as well? There must be some reason they do it? There are actually many reasons, here are a few, including some that are a little less known:
The best known benefit to running is the cardiovascular boost runners get. Part of how it improves cardio health is that running lowers your blood pressure and helps maintain elasticity in your arteries. Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, do you need any other reason to go buy those new running shoes?
Get an Endorphin Rush!
There’s a good reason for the famous “runner’s high.” When you exercise, particularly in a vigorous fashion like running, your body releases endorphins that give you a sense of calm. This is at least partly why regular exercise is linked to reducing symptoms of depression.
Exercise has a potentially double-edge sword effect on your joints. While any activity can result in injury, running (when done right) does more good for your joints than bad. Also, the weight you lose from running will reduce the pressure on your joints. Running also improves your joint health by increasing oxygen flow and flushing out toxins. You also strengthen the ligaments around your joints.
While the first preventable disease that comes to mind is heart disease, there are even more diseases you can prevent with running. There has been research that supports the notion that running (and most regular exercise) can help minimize the risk for certain cancers, stroke and diabetes.
A Longer, Healthier Life
Living longer is one thing, but it’s not great to live long if you aren’t healthy as well. Stanford University School of Medicine researchers studied 538 runners and 423 healthy non-runners, above the age of 50. The runners reported less issues with disabilities, with 85 percent of them still alive at the end of the study and just 66 percent of the non-runners able to say the same.
Saving the most surprising benefit for last, running can be good for your eyes as well. Two studies from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory discovered that running reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
December 13th, 2011