Running is probably the most common form of aerobic exercise, and usually one of the first types of activities people engage in to lose weight or stay fit.
Yet, not everyone believes running is healthy, and some studies and reports have claimed that running can put undue stress on joints and muscles, especially if it’s done with poor form.
What Are The Running Exercise Benefits?
Running is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories quickly.
A 155-pound person will burn around 738 calories in that same period, while a 200-pound runner would tally about 980 calories during 60 minutes of exercise.
However, you don’t have to run the entire time to get some great benefits from this activity.
A study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine found that interval training—alternating short bursts of high intensity with brief intervals of lower intensity or rest—can provide many of the same health benefits as traditional steady-state but less time.
Don’t worry if you are not up for running at full speed just yet. Any form of exercise is better than none at all.
A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that overweight women who walked briskly for 2 miles three times a week for 16 weeks increased their aerobic fitness levels more than those who did not work out at all.
Reduce the risk of heart disease
Running can reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of developing diabetes.
The American Heart Association recommends running four days a week for 30 minutes to help reduce your risk of developing coronary artery disease and other severe health conditions.
Increase bone density
Running can increase the calcium content in bones due to increased absorption brought about by particular exertions that tell the body to break down bone matter when it needs calcium because running uses up an excessive amount from food.
This makes for stronger bones.
Thus reducing the chances of suffering from stress fractures or broken bones, giving runners added protection against osteoporosis later in life.
It also increases flexibility in leg joints because every time a foot hits the ground, impact forces move your hip, knee and ankle joints and running more often makes them more pliable and less likely to be injured.
Running increases the metabolic rate (the rate at which calories and fat are burned) and can burn up to 700-900 calories an hour depending on the runner’s speed, intensity, and weight.
This effectively helps with weight loss because when your BMR or basal metabolic rate is higher, it means your body is burning more energy even if you’re not doing any activity.
This makes running a great adjunct to other forms of exercise that require no equipment like shadow boxing or yoga.
Increase muscle strength in legs
Many novice runners complain about calf pain, but this can be remedied by stretching before each workout session though it isn’t indispensable unless you plan to run for more than an hour.
In addition, the long-term benefits of running are that it increases muscle strength in your legs, which can help prevent injuries while doing other forms of exercise that require a lot of leg work like jogging and sprinting.
Increase mental health
Running is a great way to clear your mind and relieve stress because endorphins released during physical exertion have been shown to promote feelings of happiness or euphoria.
This “runner’s high” helps with depression, too, so if you fancy yourself as a brooding artist, lace up your shoes and get running!
Running does burn body fat, but this depends on many factors, including the runner’s weight, metabolism, eating habits, and exercise intensity.
However, it’s a known fact that long-distance runners have lower body fat percentages than people who don’t run because running allows for sustained calorie burning.
The more your body uses energy (in this case, by running), it has to pull from available calories and break down existing triglycerides first before building new ones to keep up with the demand for energy during a workout.
Decreased health risks
Running is considered the most practical exercise because you can do it anywhere; at home, in your local park, around your workplace compound or even up and down stairs inside shopping malls!
It burns fat by elevating heart rate, thus increasing calorie consumption while strengthening muscle tone across all major body parts, including the legs, calves, thighs, hamstrings, glutes (butt), hips and buttocks, abdominal muscles and the upper back.
The benefits of aerobic exercise like running can’t be denied
It reduces body fat percentage, improves cardiovascular function (your heart’s ability to pump blood) by strengthening your heart muscle thus increasing your stamina and endurance, enhances lung capacity.
So you’ll have more breathable air passing through your alveoli to exchange carbon dioxide with fresh oxygen thus increasing physical strength for everyday activities, preventing cancer.
Because it depletes excess body fat that accumulates near your waistline which is a significant cause of obesity-related cancers like breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
Prevents diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels since exercising reduces insulin resistance while increasing sensitivity to insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates the amount of glucose) in muscle cells thus giving you more stamina and energy.
Prevents arthritis by strengthening bones and joints to improve your everyday posture and reduce the risk of getting arthritis, prevents stroke by improving blood flow throughout the body including the brain (which is why women who experience migraines during menstrual periods are advised to run because it works as an abortive medication for migraine attacks).
Reduces anxiety and stress by reinforcing neurotransmitter release which regulates mood resulting in a relaxed state, reduces depression because it releases endorphins that give you a feeling of euphoria similar to how morphine does.
So without being addictive or harmful to your physical health, improves mental function by increasing oxygen supply from enhanced cardio-respiratory efficiency.
While providing essential nutrients to your brain’s grey matter and white matter (the former is responsible for muscle coordination and the latter enables the communication between different parts of your brain) thus increasing mental alertness, motivation and clarity.
Although running isn’t as demanding as other high-intensity workouts like heavy weightlifting that can give you a hernia if your abdominal muscles aren’t developed enough to support such physical load.
It’s pretty challenging, especially when done outdoors because this type of exercise overestimates your body’s energy expenditure by 20 per cent so losing those extra pounds won’t be as easy as you want it to be.
Is running healthy?
Whether or not running is healthy depends on each runner and how he trains; if his form is proper and he eats well, then yes, it can be considered as such.
But if he lacks stamina or runs too much without rest, then it’s not advisable because both high-intensity anger training sessions like interval training combined with inadequate rest can lead to injury or even more severe health problems.
Length of a workout session
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of running at 5 kilometers per hour (about 15 minutes per mile) at least three times a week.
Still, the best method is the “dosage method“, which has you run for more extended periods on fewer days so that your body builds up stamina and overall endurance.
This works better than alternating between long-distance running on some days and interval runs on others because it doesn’t give your muscles enough time to recover between workouts, thus increasing your risk of getting injured.
Treadmills vs outdoor runs
A study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found those treadmill runners who trained at 8.5 kilometers per hour (about five miles per hour) burned around 10 per cent less body fat than outdoor runners who burned the same amount of calories running at 11.2 kilometers per hour (or seven mph).
Reasons for this are that treadmills have rubberized surfaces that act like springs, thus giving you more bounce when you run while preventing injuries when your feet hit the ground.
And also, when it’s cold outside, you’re more likely to stay indoors and use the treadmill since running in air-conditioned gyms is more comfortable than doing so in humid or hot conditions where temperatures exceed 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).
Although treadmills may be easier on your joints because they absorb impact than hard asphalt roads where every footfall feels like you’re running barefoot on gravel, many runners prefer outdoor running because it offers them a better workout that’s more similar to real-life conditions.
However, treadmills are an excellent alternative for those who don’t like running outdoors or can’t do so because of weather conditions like rain and snow, making outdoor runs impractical.
Exercise is a great way to combat the adverse effects of stress, as it releases endorphins and dopamine.
It also helps you stay in shape so that your body can fight off diseases better.
If any of these points sound appealing to you or someone close to you, I hope this article will help motivate people around you to start exercising!
For those who are already in to working out, hopefully, there were some new tips here that they didn’t know about before.