BY ABIGAIL CHEW
Most people are well aware that running provides an excellent way to get into shape, but they are unaware that it can improve almost every aspect of life. While it may not be everyone’s favorite exercise, knowing what it can do for their life may give entirely new perspectives.
A daily run can have monumental physical benefits. Running will help to raise an individual’s levels of good cholesterol as well as reduce the risk of developing blood clots in later years. The lung function and use will significantly improve due to the constant focus on steady breathing. The immune system will be boosted, preventing sickness.
Illness prevention is an important aspect of running that more people should take into consideration. For women specifically, running is known to lower the risk of developing breast cancer. The risk of heart attacks and strokes will also be greatly reduced. Many doctors even recommend running for those in early stages of diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.
The other often not as highly recognized advantages that running provides are the mental benefits. Stress relief is a major example of such benefits. Runners are found to show more optimism compared to those who do not incorporate the exercise into their daily routines. Studies show that sleep quality improves as well as a healthier appetite. Running gives an individual the time to clear their mind, reducing the chances of developing tension headaches.
Running has also been well known to reduce depression. As one is running, the brain will begin to secrete hormones that naturally improve one’s mood. The creation of increased feelings of energy and focus allow life to be better enjoyed. The act itself presents a different focal point (since one must divert all attention to their breathing), eliminating the opportunity to have negative thoughts.
Being able to set and accomplish goals is an extreme confidence booster, which is an opportunity running offers. Feelings of empowerment and satisfaction with oneself are developed through the knowledge of strength and capability. If the choice to run is based on a goal to lose weight or to tone the body, then a better self-image is acquired.
Becoming part of a running community itself provides an excellent way to improve the social component of life. There are always clubs, teams and fundraising events that offer running opportunities, which allow one to meet others with similar goals and outlooks. There is always constant support provided by this group of wellness-focused people.
Though there are numerous ways running can improve one’s mind and body, many people still find excuses to avoid it. Not having the time for a daily run is a common reasoning. A 30-minute run is all it takes to reap all the benefits, which is very little time that can easily be set aside during the day. Plus, running does not require any equipment to assemble in order to partake in the exercise. Finding motivation is another deterrent when it comes to running.
However, finding a friend to run with and hold you responsible is an excellent solution for this issue. Some people find themselves self-conscious about running in public. Again, running with a friend can be a solution, and so can choosing to run on a treadmill rather than outside. Fear of injury is probably the most reasonable excuse to running, but it is a fear that can be easily abolished. Educating oneself on the proper stretching techniques before and after a run will assist in avoiding joint damage.
For so many people, it is surprising to learn of all the different ways that running can improve overall physical and mental well-being. The truth, however, is that these are only a few of the many benefits that running can offer the body. Making running a daily routine can leave one feeling more energized, more focused and better able to enjoy what life has to offer.