“Boy, it’s not even 5 am!”
To the sound of tweeting birds, you grab a bowl of porridge with blueberries on top, sip a hasty cup of coffee, wear your trainers, running outfit and sweat band, and gently close the door behind you.
Quickly, before the excuses wake up!
Oh, and your nifty red iPod Nano, mustn’t forget that guy… Unless you want to listen to your breaths for one hour, that is…
I’ve been running for over a decade and I don’t need anyone to convince me that running is good for me. The reason: The liberating feeling I get while I run, as my heart rate goes though the roof and I give it my all, and that high energy carrying me through the rest of the day, are out of this world. That’s why I would happily run any day of the week, even without all the extra benefits.
If you’re a runner, you probably know what I’m talking about. If not, here are five bullet-proof reasons to get out there and run. And remember — You’ll be in for an amazing treat for you body and your mind, but only once your trainer’s rubber hits the road…
1. Stay healthy, live longer
Running has unmatched health benefits.
According to Stanford University Dr, James Fries, who co-authored a 20-year-long study of over 500 older runners, “If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise”.
Released back in 2008, the research concluded that elderly runners are less likely to develop disabilities, and are half as likely as non-runners to die prematurely.
Dr Fries says that running “improves your blood pressure… It prevents fractures of the hip and spine. Lungs get stronger. Our physical reserve is greater”. Other health benefits include a stronger immune system, balanced cholesterol level and lower chances of developing diabetes.
2. Better memory, sharper thinking skills
Do you often forget where you left your car keys, your phone, or the TV remote control?
A study conducted at the University of British Columbia found that, unlike resistance training and other types of workouts, regular aerobic exercise (like running) can diminish the hippocampus — a part of our brain in charge of verbal memory and learning. In other words, running can help protect our memory and thinking skills.
Other studied have shown that regular physical exercise can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and regular running can lower the risk of dying from the disease by 40%.
3. Healthy heart
As you may know, most types of exercise strengthen your muscles. That’s why cardiovascular workouts like running have a huge impact on your heart, which is a muscle.
Studies have found a correlation between regular running and a high maximal oxygen consumption, as well as improved heart efficiency. According to a 2014 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, runners had 45% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality with three year extra life expectancy.
And no, you don’t need to run a marathon just yet. Run as little as 5 to 10 minutes a day at a slow speed and you’ll still reap these benefits!
4. Better love life
Being a runner can also pay dividends in between the sheets…
A Harvard study found that aerobic exercise reduced the risk of erectile dysfunction by 30%. According to Pete McCall, MS, an exercise physiologist and personal trainer for the American Council on Exercise (ACE), “Fast walking, running, and other aerobic activities help your sex life for the same reason that they prevent heart attacks. They keep your blood vessels clear.”
Add to this the relaxing effect of released endorphins running triggers, and you’ve got yourself, or your man, a recipe for longer, stellar erections and superior bedtime performance.
5. Shed unwanted pounds
We’ve saved the best for last.
Many people take on running with one goal in mind — to get back in shape. And for a great reason!
While high-intensity aerobic workout such as running cannot replace a balanced diet, it’s one of the best choices for weight loss.
Research shows that high-intensity running, such as hill repeats, burns many calories during the exercise and also trigger the “after-burn effect”, allowing your body to burn calories up to 48 hours thereafter! Running can also cut down your belly fat and help control your appetite by releasing more satiety hormones while reducing your hunger hormones.
Now, over to you. Do you love running, and why?
Over the next articles in this series we’ll help you get started running, stay safe and more. Watch this space!