Top 5 Body & Mind Benefits of Running
Running benefits your body and mind in many ways, including:1. It strengthens the heart:
Enabling it to pump blood more effectively around the body (whether when exercising or in relaxation mode) which in turn ensures that oxygen is sufficiently transported around the body. This also keeps the arteries in good condition so that they are better able to flush out any harmful fatty deposits that tend to stick themselves to the artery walls. So long, risk-of-heart-attack!
2. It increases lung capacity:
The body’s need to absorb more oxygen means that the capillaries allow blood to pass more easily into the lungs. This strengthens the lungs and maintains healthy respiratory function, whether we’re snoozing or going for gold.
3. It conditions muscles:
Rarely do you see a runner with excessive wobbly bits. Running leads to better muscle tone which in turn metabolizes fat so that unwanted amounts of the stuff don’t make themselves too ‘at home’ in our bodies. Improved muscle tone also protects the joints from injury during both aerobic activity and daily ho-hum tasks.
4. It reduces stress:
Running triggers endorphins which induce a sense of euphoria – you may have heard of the ‘runner’s high’. It’s virtually impossible to feel so elated and feel stressed by anything at the same time. Stress receptors are effectively suppressed leading to an overall sense of wellbeing - as well as physically being all-of-a-tingle, mentally you feel all aglow.
5. It diminishes depression:
Practitioners in psychotherapy have been known to suggest running to alleviate clinical depression, and to good effect. Whilst running, the brain is so focused on the action being undertaken and the anticipation of reaching a destination, as well as being caught up in the euphoria of rapid physical movement, that it is unable to dwell on negative thoughts that form the basis of depression.
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Like with any form of exercise, there are risks to participation. Running looks easy and simple, just put on your shoes and away you go but the reality is there are running negatives:1. High chance of injury:
Running is a high impact sport and not suprisingly, but when you participate in high impact sports, you are increasing your chance of injury. In fact runners injury rates are some of the highest per any sport. A runner can expect to get an average of 4 injuries per 1,000 hours of running. Which works out to be two injuries per year if you are running 5-10 hours per week. Common running injuries include; sprained ankles, shin splints (sore shins), runner's knee (also called patellofemoral pain or PFP), plantar fasciitis (foot irritation), iliotibial band syndrome (thigh irritation) and Achilles tendinitis (lower leg irritation).
2. Running is worse for women:
Research shows women are more susceptible to running injury. The reason being because women have naturally wide hips (to accommodate the demands of childbirth), this gives them larger Q-angles (the angle formed between the knee and hip) than men. A large Q-angle has been found to heighten the amount of knee torque during impact activities such as running resulting in patellar tracking problems.
3. Running can result in weight gain:
People can fall into the trap of actually increasing their calorie intake when they increase their exercise. Don't fall victim to drinking high calorie sports drinks or eating that extra serving of pasta just because you think you have "been for a run today" so you can eat it. Whilst running is a very good way to burn calories, the average person would need to run for about 30min to burn 240 calories. Of course body weight, exertion, temperature all affect your actual baseline calorie burn.
4. Bad for your bank balance:
All you think you need is a new pair of runners, but it doesn't stop there, all of a sudden you are buying comfy socks, the new running outfit, the sunglasses, a Garmin or Polar, your own foam roller, weekly massages, running clinics and then the entry fees in various races because you keep wanting to smash your PB.
5. It takes time:
It would be fantastic if we could go from couch to marathon in a few weeks, but in actual fact, we need to condition our body to run the distances we would like it to. Don't fall victim to inadequate stretching, an increase in hills and/or km's, not enough rest between running sessions. Give yourself at least 10 weeks of training if you are wanting to run a good 10km or the City2Surf.
Wanting to stay fit? Join a Spring Day Program or request a consultation with a Springday expert for more tailored advice.Spring Day is your online personal trainer with exercise programs, expert advice and tracking tools to help you reach your sporting goals.