Running is one of those activities I have a love-hate relationship with. Whenever I’m running, I always ask myself “Why I am doing this?” It’s because running is hard. And usually things that are hard are not very fun.
But when I can’t run, all I want to do is go outside and run. Whether it’s weather, injury or illness, if I can’t run – it’s all the fills my mind.
You love running when you can’t do it and hate it when you can.
Regardless of your feelings about running, it does have a lot of benefits.
Running is a simple, easy and relatively cheap method of exercise. Running does not involve a lot of instruction. Sure there are proper techniques on foot strike, how to hold your upper body, etc., but it’s not like swimming where you need to take tons of lessons before you get good at it. Some simple instructions on proper technique and you are all set. And with all the wonderful information on the internet and local running stores, you can easily find some great running technique information for free!
And other than a good pair of running shoes, you don’t need any extra equipment. You can walk out your front door and start running, without having to fight traffic to get to the gym or wait in line for a piece of equipment. You can run at any time of day, whether or not the gym is open, and make it easily fit your schedule.
Running helps you lose weight. Running burns a lot of calories! The average person burns about 100 calories per mile they run. So paired with a healthy diet, running can help you lose any extra weight, and it is also a great tool for weight maintenance.
Running improves your cardiovascular health. Simply put, running makes your heart stronger. And just like when you make your arms stronger you can lift heavy objects easier, when your heart is stronger it can pump blood throughout your body easier. And this is a great thing! It makes daily activities easier, increases your endurance and lowers your blood pressure. A strong healthy heart is a great side effect of running!
Running improves your bone health. Just like we want to strengthen our muscles and heart, we want to strengthen our bones. This helps prevent injuries (bone breaks and chips), as well as osteoporosis. The way to train your bones to make them stronger is to do high impact exercises. This includes jumping, plyometrics, and yes, running. When you run, the impact of your foot hitting the ground makes your bones stronger.
Running can improve your coordination. Unless you are on a treadmill or track, it’s rare that you are running on an even surface. Road speed bumps, curbs, uneven pavement and cracks in the sidewalk are all hazards that all runners need to be on the lookout for. But the benefit of these hazards is it helps improve our coordination. We have to navigate these uneven surfaces which tests our balance, and with practice, we become better at navigating this rough terrain because our coordination has improved. This is especially true if you are a trail runner – leaves, rocks, roots, limbs, etc. A trail is great to improve coordination!
Are you a runner? What benefits have you noticed from running?