1. Improves cardiovascular health
Running helps you build a strong and healthy heart. According to a study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, by building a strong heart, you can lower your overall risk of mortality by 30% and overall risk of death due to heart disease by 45%. Interestingly, you can significantly improve heart health with the most soft-core type of running or jogging for only 5 to 10 minutes daily.
2. Increases leg strength and strengthen bones
Running also increases your leg strength and can help to strengthen bones. There are only a few exercises that can get your body in shape the way that running does. It strengthens and defines your calves, hamstrings, quads, adductors, and glutes. This is because while running, you are intensively using all of these muscles. Bones also grow the same way as muscles; you use them, they adapt, and they grow. In fact, running is a weight-bearing exercise that stresses the bones enough to build density. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that running’s effect on bone density are greater than non-weight bearing exercises like cycling, and even other weight-bearing exercises, such as resistance training.
3. Gives you happiness and a natural high
This is true for every sport and any type of physical activity. Physical exercise is known to release endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are natural “drugs” that make us much more energetic, fully awake and happy. Running releases these “drugs”, triggering our overall happiness. Specifically, running or racing toward set goals is one of the most effective ways to get in shape fast and in return, happy, once those goals are met.
4. Be more adaptable to other sports
Running is an essential component of the majority of sports. For example, football, handball, rugby, NFL, AFL, cricket, baseball, tennis, basketball, cycling, etc… All of these sports require us to have stamina, speed, and endurance. If you are a runner and one day want to try something new, you already have a strong foundation. You may even be better than sport-specific athletes at the speed and endurance game!
Finally, running is one of the most convenient exercises. Unlike powerlifting, weightlifting, tennis, swimming, etc., running doesn’t require any expensive equipment or memberships. There is no necessity to drive to a gym, tennis court, pool, or sports field. Just put on your running shoes and step outside.
There are 3 types of running that you can do: jogging, distance running and sprinting.
- Jogging: This is probably the most common form of running. Jogging is defined as running at a pace slower than 10 kph. For people who don’t enjoy running or who have minimal running experience, jogging is a friendly way to start off while still receiving health benefits.
- Distance running: In distance running, runners have to keep their pace above 10 kph and keep up that pace for more than 8 km. This type of running is increasingly attractive to aging people who are slowly losing fast-twitch muscle fibers (activated when sprinting). Distance running is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health. Additionally, mental toughness is a byproduct of distance running; specifically, boring repetitive movement for a long period of time in the heat, cold, or rain, while constantly sweating and increasing your heart-rate are just some of the challenges that all distance runners have to mentally overcome. Have you met our Sponsored Athlete James Wilkinson? Check out his blog Outdoor Expat. He will be competing at VMM 70km this September, we are so excited!!!
- Sprinting: Unlike slower versions of running, sprinting targets your fast-twitch fibers. This is similar to weightlifting. This is due to speed work, bursts of energy and bursts of intense effort. Sprinting increases your speed, running efficiency, fatigue resistance, muscular power and endurance. Additionally, sprinting is one of the best ways to shred stubborn fat.