Running has numerous physical and mental benefits

New to running? Welcome to one of the best forms of exercise you’ll ever discover. As you know doubt have already experienced, running makes you feel great. You may be wondering how you ever got along without it. And of course, you’re in for the loan haul. Welcome to the club! How about some really great validation for your newfound exercise?

Boosts brain function. Known as the most time-efficient exercise, running has been shown to boost not only aerobic fitness but also cognitive flexibility— in particular the brain’s ability to transition quickly between tasks. Actually documented: Running boosts levels of “brain-derived neurotrophic factor,” which stimulates the growth of new neurons, which in turn strengthens neural connections linked to high-level brain functions.

Builds a more powerful cardiovascular system. No brainer here! Running has been proven to lower your risk of heart disease or stroke by up to 50%. Distance running helps you take in more oxygen and builds a stronger left ventricle. The end result is that you use oxygen more efficiently.

Lowers risk of diabetes & obesity. Research has shown that runners decrease their risk of developing diabetes by 12 percent compared to people who do not exercise. In terms of weigh control/loss, running is among the top calorie burners of any exercise. Though healthy eating will, always trump any exercise in terms of losing weight, running (especially high-intensity workouts) continues to burn calories after exercising. And while slower running may increase your appetite, high-intensity running actually suppresses it to some degree.

Reduces risks of many types of cancer. While a detailed description of the mechanism is beyond this blog, it is known that running (not overtraining) helps boost your immune response by stimulating the production of natural-killer immune cells.

Slows the aging process. Lifelong exercise is one of the most powerful tools we know to fare well in your later years. In medical language, this is called “compression of morbidity.” Studies have shown that endurance exercise increases the production of telomerase enzymes and the length of telomeres, which protects cells from age-related decline.

Boosts confidence. Ask any runner how they feel after a run, and you’ll typically hear, “great!” And feeling great is a natural confidence booster. Additionally, the act of setting and achieving goals plays a very important role in one’s self-esteem.

Fights depression. This list of benefits could actually go on and on, but it would be remiss not to mention a big benefit. Running has been clinically proven to aid in fighting depression. Exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins, and virtually all studies associate physical activity with mental wellness. Couple that with the sense of accomplishment you get from setting a PR, and well, you’re not going to feel depressed!

So yeah, newbies, you’ve found a good one! And we don’t have to tell you to keep it up, because once discovered, most people keep running for life.

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