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Regular physical activity, like running, has been shown to have numerous health benefits. Running is in our genes!
The goal of any exercise programs is not only living longer, but living better. People who incorporate a good run into their exercise program often feel more energized, they prolong joint health, prevent serious disease, and live overall longer happier – yes happier! – lives.
Now let’s see why.
Better Emotional Health
Vigorous exercise makes people happier. It produces hormones, called endocannabinoids, that instantly increase the mood. Researchers have found that just 30 minutes of physical activity can improve the mood of people suffering from major depressive order. Even those who cannot run every day will benefit from just 30 minutes each week.
Running has been shown to boost sleep quality, mood and concentration during the day. Being physically active also improves mood by increasing levels of neurotransmitters like epinephrine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These chemicals contribute to feelings of overall wellness and happiness.
Better Joint Health
The idea that running can hurt the joints of the knees has been disproven by science. It not only increases bone mass, but also has been shown to improve strength in the knees. In long term studies of people with a history of running, the subjects were shown to not have any increase of joint deterioration in the knees.
They were, however, shown to have a lower incidence of osteoarthritis than those without a history of the exercise. It is important to remember that the worst thing for the knee joints is being overweight. Exercise helps to maintain a healthy body weight, which will contribute to preventing knee joint issues.
Better Mental Functioning
Cognitive function is a critical issue in the aging population. Preventing memory loss and other dementia related illnesses is imperative. Regular exercise can help stave off age related memory loss issues like short term memory loss and working memory loss. For this purpose, a spin bike can do the trick.
Recent evidence points to exercise reducing symptoms of cognitive degeneration in those with Alzheimer’s disease and the aging population. It may also help by increasing neurochemicals in the brain that help to protect the pathways of memory.
Preventing cancer is always at the forefront of medical research. According to cancer.gov, regular physical activity has been shown overwhelmingly reduce the risk of colon, breast, and endometrial cancer. In addition to these cancers, other cancers have been shown in limited studies to be reduced with moderate, regular exercise.
Much of the risk can be reduced simply because regular exercise reduces rates of obesity, which contributes to different types of cancers. However, regular physical activity also lowers the levels of some cancer contributing hormones, reduces inflammation, improves immune system function, and alters harmful digestive system patterns.
Improved Longevity of Life
The minimum amount of recommended physical activity is 30 minutes per day, five times per week. Just doing this increases the longevity of people. Living a longer, more productive life is the main goal of any type of exercise.
The good news is that people do not have to run marathons or devote huge amounts of time to exercise to see an increase in the length of life. A long term study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that people need only run six miles per week, or about 52 minutes per week, to achieve the maximum longevity benefit from being a runner.
Starting any new exercise program can be overwhelming. Lead exercise physiologist for weight-loss company Retrofit, Gary Ditsch, suggests that new runners should focus on establishing a regular routine, rather than focusing on the length of the run. Investing in comfortable work out gear, especially sneakers, is important so that new runners are not experiencing unnecessary pain or discomfort. Olympic sprinter, Desiree Henry, advises new runners to purchase the right pair of shoes right off the bat.
For those who are new to an exercise program and are technologically savvy, there are great apps available to help increase enjoyment of physical activity. An app, like Marx Runner, lets users customize their music to help them exercise more effectively. Many people find that music helps them to enjoy exercise more and allows them to maintain vigorous activity longer.
For those looking for great gear for a new exercise regime, try a company like Sweaty Betty which has great outfits for new and current runners alike. Great work-out gear can help you stay on track with a new program while making it easy to look fantastic doing it.
There are many health benefits for those who run. The most important thing is to simply get off the couch and get going. It does not take a huge devotion of time each day to achieve the therapeutic benefits of starting a program. Becoming a runner increases not only the quantity of life, but also the quality.