1. It burns calories like crazy!
Seriously! The average person burns over 100 calories for every 10 minutes of running! A number of factors come into the exact number of calories you burn. Such as age, weight, height, gender as well as external factors: weather, intensity, speed etc.
According to the American Council on Exercise, a 120-pound person burns about 11.4 calories per MINUTE while running. So if that person runs a 10-minute mile, they’ll burn 114 calories. Great huh?
You can use a running calorie calculator to help you accurately track how many calories you burn. Like the Keisan Running Calorie Calculator.
2. Lower risk of heart-related diseases and illnesses
According to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, running can decrease your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases that might even lead to death from heart disease by a whopping 45%! That’s almost half as less likely!
This is all thanks to running. It helps you improve blood pressure, HDL cholesterol (it’s the good kind), and blood sugar sensitivity. It certainly exercises your heart along with the rest of your body – strengthening the muscles of your essential organ.
3. Running helps get those joints stronger
Despite the fact that running is said to have a bad reputation when it comes to the worlds of joints and knees, ironically enough, according to the research published in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, there is actually a lower prevalence of hip and knee arthritis amongst active marathon runners. Essentially that means there is no correlation between running history and arthritis.
4. Majorly increases the strength of bones
Running actually stimulates the growth of bones! High impact exercises promote healthy bone mineral density and spur bone growth. This can help with the significant decrease in bone density. Most people are prone to a decrease in bone density after the age of 30. Running is a great way to avoid fractures and even potential immobility in the long run, due to weak bones!
5. An amazing way to release endorphins and relieve stress
It’s known as “The Runner’s High”, a short-lasting, deeply euphoric state following intense exercise. Endorphins aren’t the only magical feel-good chemical that your brain rewards you with. Along with endorphins, running also stimulates an increase in dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. With the rush of all these happy hormones, this is a great way to relieve stress and clear your head.
According to a study published in a volume of Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, running actually mitigates the effects of long-term chronic stress on the brain! Sweet!
6. Helps boost your confidence
Running is such a bizarrely efficient way to boost your confidence. You’d think that heaving for breath while you’re drenched in sweat is the last place on Earth that will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
But amazingly enough, the intoxicating effects of all the feel-good hormones surging through your bloodstream combined with the invincible feeling of accomplishment every time you’re done with your run and realize you’re still miraculously alive, its no wonder you feel unstoppable.
Over time as your strength, endurance, stamina and speed get better and better, you’ll be riding that runner’s high on cloud 9 all day long!
7. Helps with cognitive function
Yeah, that’s right as much as your brain convinces you that you hate it, it actually works wonders for that fantastic organ up in your skull.
According to Johns Hopkins Medical school professor of neuroscience David J. Linden, PhD, running can help new nutrient-transporting blood vessels grow, blunt the brain’s response to physical and emotional stress, and even promote neurogenesis, the process of creating new brain cells.
I mean, this makes a lot of sense. Running = more blood flow = more oxygen for the brain.
As a result of this running can have phenomenal and long-term effects on the hippocampus (the part of your brain that does all the remembering and learning).
According to a Mayo Clinic study on the effects of running on the brain, high fitness improves total brain volume, including grey matter, which in turn gives you protection from the kinds of brain plaques linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease.
So long story short, running also helps you remember things better, learn things faster and prevents cognitive decline long term.
8. It can help you battle insomnia or simply just get a better night’s rest
According to a study done at John Hopkins Medical Center, it was found that cardiovascular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality. By wearing your body down and making sure that you’re tired enough to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, you can not only sleep longer but also sleep better!
Exercising also helps you stick to and manage a good sleeping schedule and a study done at MPDI on the effects of running on resting heart rate, found that long term runners experienced a lower resting heart rate as well as low blood pressure, which is known to be an important factor in having a good night’s sleep.
9. Maintaining a healthy body weight
We’ve all heard the story. An amazing inspirational and determined overweight person puts in all the hard work to melt off all those pounds and slim down to a jaw-dropping size that’s half of what they used to be. But losing the weight is only part of the equation if you want to keep that impressive figure you’ve attained.
According to a study by The National Weight Control Registry, upon following a large group of people who have lost an average of 66 pounds, and kept the weight off for over 5 years, 90% of them exercise an average of an hour a day.
By now we’ve established that when it comes to exercise, more often than not, consistency is far more important than intensity. Running is a fantastic habit to get into long term so that after you melt off all weight you worked so hard to get rid of, you can make sure it stays off for good.
10. Helps exercise self-control and self-discipline
As amazing as the physical benefits of running are, the life-changing and mental benefits are no less spectacular. Most runners have some kind of routine or schedule that they like to follow. This could be a specific time of the day that they run, specific days of the week or maybe specific distances, depending on their personal goals. Now we all know that goals aren’t always easy to follow.
However, determined runners tend to become masters of managing their time and also their urges to sit at home and take a nap instead of hitting the tracks.
This self-control and self-discipline to reach a fitness or health goal don’t have to be limited to just the fitness side of your life. Instead, these invaluable skills can be applied to different areas of your life such as study, career, family or work and it stemmed from what? That’s right. Running.
Want to know how you can help yourself on the journey of setting goals? Read our article on setting goals that you will always achieve!
11. Running can help you battle depression and other mental illnesses
Ask any long term runner why they run and there is a very high chance their answer has absolutely nothing to do with weight loss. Goals can often change over time but it is no secret among the world of runners that whoever is in it for the long haul, tends to stay because…well, it just makes them feel good.
With the constant flow of endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, as well as the relieving of stress, running has shown promising results in battling not just obesity or physical health problems – but mental illness as well.
Not only does running relieve stress but a 2016 meta-analysis on depression and exercises revealed that
- Exercise is “an effective treatment” for depression
- Exercising is as effective as psychotherapy and prescription meds
- Exercise “may serve as an alternative” to costly and often-hard-to-find/schedule medical treatments.
By no means does this mean this is the magical treatment for all mental illnesses or even all patients suffering from depression, however, it can certainly play a role in battling many mental illnesses with lots of positive evidence to back it up.
12. Running can lower your blood pressure
A review article in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension stated that both aerobic and strength training “elicited significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic BP.” This plays well into many of the other benefits discussed beforehand. Lower blood pressure not only reduces your risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart failures, but according to a Mayo Clinic study, it also makes for better and higher quality nights of sleep.
If you are looking to specifically lower your blood pressure with running, according to this 2019 meta-analysis, higher intensity interval training incorporated into your runs, will help more efficiently lower your blood pressure.
13. Actually helps boost your immune system
According to a paper by Nieman and Laurel M. Wentz “The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system.” They reported evidence that running can improve the body’s surveillance against disease, lower inflammation, enhance gut microbiota composition, reduce the risk of upper respiratory infections and influenza, and improve antibody response.
Many studies back this claim and have formed the conclusion that moderate and regular exercise increases immunity, however intense and extreme exercise temporarily decrease the body’s immunity – mostly due to the fact that after intense and extreme exercise your body goes through a period of recovery where it is often more vulnerable in terms of immunity.
14. Lowers your risk of developing cancer in the future
The Journal of the American Medical Association published an investigation into the exercise habits and cancer incidence of 1.44 million American and European adults. It was concluded that high-fitness participants, such as runners, had a lower risk for developing 26 different kinds of cancer in comparison to the low or non-fitness participants.
It is worth noting that the benefits could not be traced to either non-smoking or low-body-weight–two known cancer-protectors. There was just something about exercise that lowered cancer risk.
Many different studies have also found similar results. However, if you do unfortunately develop cancer, it has been found that regular exercise lowers side effects from the difficult treatments while supporting you physically and emotionally. It also reduces mortality from cancer and decreases the likelihood that you develop another type of cancer.
15. Is a great excuse to get outside and get some fresh air
Some benefits are in the little things. We live in such a bustling and busy world, it can become easy to remind ourselves to be present and appreciate the beauty of the world around us. For a lot of us, even our fitness time is usually indoors in an air-conditioned gym or at home.
However, running is a great excuse to give yourself some time away from reality, get some fresh air and learn to be present and enjoy the beauty of the world around you. If you have a dog, that’s even more of an excuse to go on that run. By spending some quality time outside together with your pet, not only will you get that well-needed exercise, but you can also relieve your stress and give your spinning head a break from all the mundane tasks of the day.
16. It’s really easy and convenient for most people
I mean, most of the time all you really need is a pair of trainers. And as long as you have some ground to pound, you don’t have to be too picky. Whether you’re looking to do some trail running or even just a jog around the city in which you reside, you can pretty much run anywhere. There is no need for any extra equipment or fancy gadgets unless you want to add them.
Want to know how you can have more fun on your next run? Read our article about 13 different ways you can change up your run and make it more exciting.
17. Adds years to your life
There are countless studies available that show the ways in which running increases lifespan. You’ve probably heard the phrase “If exercise were a pill, it would be the most popular pill in the world.” before.
A 2018 meta-analysis on running and longevity found that runners have about a 25% – 30% lower rate of all-cause mortality on follow-up than non-runners. “Any amount of running, even once a week, is better than no running.”
According to other papers on running, it was shown that runners gain about three years of extra life. I mean if you consider the greater cardiovascular fitness, lower fat percentage in body composition, lower cholesterol, excellent glucose and insulin control, stronger bones, better hormone regulation, and positive neurological functioning, it seems like a pretty big “Well duh.”
Let’s be honest. By no means is running “easy”. It’s still going to be hard when you start out and it will get less hard as you go on your journey of being a runner. But fitness is not the only lesson that this amazing exercise teaches you. Goodluck fellow runners!