By Dr. Trevor Tew
Running is one of the most readily available exercise options. The saying “exercise is the best medicine” isn't only a great catchphrase, but also the truth. Running is one of the best forms of exercise with a multitude of health benefits. Some of those being the prevention of obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and much more. While running benefits the body physically, it also has proven to improve the quality of mental and emotional stability as well. Here are 4 science-based benefits that come from running on a regular basis.
1. Adds Years to Your Life- Studies show that running may be the single most effective exercise to increase life expectancy. If we add the suggested amount of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week exercising, we will add years onto our life span. A daily run can add up to 3 additional years onto your life. No other exercise styles are comparable when it comes to the impact of life expectancy.
2. Running Boosts Mood and Sleep- When you're running, your brain is pumping two very powerful "feel-good" chemicals called endorphins and endocannabinoids. If you currently workout, you have already come to the realization it has the ability to lift your mood. Physical activity releases endorphins into the brain. These endorphins act as a drug in the body increasing happiness and energy. Not only that, but it also improves your sleep quality. Exercise can help a person cope with anxiety, stress, and depression over time. If you're having a rough day, get out there and take 30 minutes away from those thoughts and get on the trails.
3. Strengthens Bones and Joints- Many lifelong runners have struggled from knee or ankle problems. Although for many years we have heard that running is bad for our knees, studies show that running can actually improve bone health and build bone mass. It's been proven that people that run well over 26.2 miles daily are half as likely to develop osteoarthritis than a walker. Low impact exercise does not have the same bone-building benefits as running does.
4. Increase Weight Loss- Running is one of the most effective ways to lose weight. The average person burns about 12.2 calories when running a 10-minute mile. These statistics were taken from running on a flat road. Increase the burn by finding a spot where the wind and uphill climbs will make it that much tougher.