Never been a fan of running? We’re about to change your mind.

Truth is that running in particular has health benefits that extend well beyond any pill a doctor could prescribe.

And, for those who have been using the “ugh, it’s too hard on my knees” excuse, well, you can throw it out the window … pure mumbo-jumbo! A 2016 study found that running may in fact benefit joints by changing the biochemical environment inside the knee in ways that could help it working smoothly.

Still not sure?

Research shows that running benefits almost every part of your body and lifts your mood. Here’s how:

  • It slashes your risk of heart disease. Running could cut your risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 45% according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. How? It improves your blood pressure, raises your HDL (good cholesterol), and improves blood sugar sensitivity.
  • It burns calories. Running is the second most effective exercise in in terms of calories burned per minute, following only after cross country skiing.
  • Running keeps your joints strong. It increases oxygen delivery to the joints and strengthens your joints’ bones as well as the ligaments around your joints.
  • It relieves stress. When it comes to curbing anxiety, studies prove that running is 3 times better than spending time resting.
  • Running boosts confidence. By setting achievable goals you’ll give yourself a sense of empowerment.
  • It strengthens your bones. High impact exercise spurs bone growth and promotes healthy bone mineral density.
  • Running boosts levels of BDNF, or brain-derived neurotropic, so yes, it makes you smarter.
  • Running makes you happier. Researchers found that even a single bout of exercise could instantly lift the mood of someone suffering from major depressive disorder.

The good news is that you don’t need to be a marathon runner to reap all these rewards. Phew! Running (even just a little bit) can bring you gobs of health benefits. According to a 2012 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health proved that just 30 minutes of running during the week for 3 weeks can boost quality of sleep, mood and concentration. Amazing right?

It's convenient and affordable. Travelling for work or not a gym member? No problem. You can still run. Also, runners are awesome people. Whether you join a running club or a charity’s running team, just take a look around you, you’ll be amazed at the support and good vibes you get.

Here’s a little secret about running though: It never get’s easier, you just get better at it. However, the way to make it feel a little easier is to be consistent with your training. Just make sure you practice responsible running that includes starting slow and paying attention to signs of pain or injury.

Good luck to everyone participating in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on Sunday 15 September!

Source: www.runnersworld.com, www.active.com, shape.com, openfit.com, www.womanshealthmag.com

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.