What else besides running provides you with a healthier body, a better outlook on life, and calorie-burning benefits that are simply unmatched? There’s nothing that even comes close.
Plus, that’s not even the beginning to what running can do for you. We tried to narrow it down to the Top Ten Reasons Why Running is Great, but just couldn’t limit ourselves to only ten reasons. Therefore, what you have below are 15 reasons why running is the best form of exercise.
15 Benefits of Running
1. It’s Good For Your Health
This one, of course, is a no-brainer. While we could fill an entire encyclopedia with ways that running improves your health, there are some that really stand out as truly wonderful and important health benefits. Here they are…when you’re active, you’re less likely to:
- develop colon cancer
- get breast cancer
- experience mental decline in old age
- get heart disease
- have bad cholesterol
- develop blood clots
2. It Wards Off Depression
Ask any runner, and they’re sure to tell you one of the top reasons they love running is the mental benefit that it gives. Running will cause depression to go away withing minutes because it causes your brain to secrete endorphins, which alter your mood.
Sometimes it’s counter-intuitive because when you’re down in the dumps the last thing you feel like doing is strapping on some sneakers and hitting the treadmill (or the pavement), but most runners quickly learn to overcome those feelings. The benefit is so certain and so quick to occur that most runners have no problem overcoming initial sluggish feelings about exercising if they’re feeling blue. Bye-bye, depression. Hello, runner’s high!
3. Running Keeps You From Overeating
When you run, a lot happens in your brain, chemically. One thing is the release of Dopamine, known as the pleasure chemical. If your brain doesn’t release enough Dopamine, you are more prone to overeating. It’s your brain’s way of trying to bring pleasure into your life. When you eat quickly, dopamine levels are raised. Therefore, if you raise your dopamine levels by running, your brain won’t be telling you to overeat. Running keeps your dopamine levels up so you don’t have to eat as much to get pleasure.
4. You’ll Sleep Better
While we’re on the subject of brain chemicals, there’s another one that gets produced when you run: Serotonin. This one is responsible for maintaining your sleep patterns.
Another reason you’ll sleep better is physical: your body will be tired and sleep will come easily.
5. It Burns Calories Like Nothing Else
Again, ask any runner if there’s anything that even comes close to the calorie-burning effects of running.
The answer will be a resounding “no way!”
Running is, hands down, the single best exercise for burning calories. That means it’s the best way to lose weight, too. That means it’s the best way to lose weight, too. To many people, this is one of the main benefits of running…losing weight or maintaining weight.
5. You Won’t Get as Many Colds if You Run
Running greatly improves your immune system. That means not only fewer colds but fewer diseases in general.
6. Running Makes You Smarter
When you run, your blood gets pumping really fast and strong. This increases blood flow to all parts of your body, including the brain. Improved blood flow to the brain makes your brain work better…it’s now been shown in studies. This is related to Benefit #1 of Running, above. Mental decline in old age is not as likely in runners, and it’s partly due to the increased blood flow to the brain.
7. Hardly Any Equipment is Needed & You Can Do it Anywhere, Inside or Out
Just you and a pair of good sneakers is all it takes. For ladies, a good jog bra is pretty essential, too! Unlike most other forms of cardiovascular exercise, no special equipment or terrain is necessary.
- For hiking you need a mountain.
- For cycling you need a bicycle.
- For Spinning you need a gym.
However, one of the great things about running is that you can also run in a gym, on a treadmill, for variety or when the weather isn’t cooperating.
8. Running Helps You Build Bone
Your bones actually get stronger when you run! It takes time, of course, but it’s actually better than any other aerobic activity in this regard. Bone density becomes more and more important as you age. The benefit actually comes from the impact of running, which you don’t get with cycling, swimming or elliptical training.
9. Running Helps Men Function Well
Men who run are less likely to suffer erectile dysfunction…a lot less likely!
10. Running Helps Your Vision in Old Age
Age-related vision loss is a problem for most of us, but we’re less likely to suffer as much if we run a lot.
11. Your Confidence Will Grow
It’s true: running is a great confidence-booster. Suffering a bout of low self-esteem? Go for a quick run and then see how much better you feel. Finishing a run gives you confidence because you achieved a goal…you’ll feel empowered afterwards.
12. Running is a Stress-Buster
Stress is terrible not only because it’s unpleasant but also because it causes health problems on top of everything else. Stress kills everything: sleep, happiness, health, relationships…the list goes on forever. Running will reverse stress, simply because it releases stress-busing hormones. Problems just seem a little bit tinier and less significant after a good run.
13. Running Can Be a Social Activity
Instead of hitting the bar to meet people, you can join a running club to meet like-minded health-conscious people. You can also run with a buddy for motivation. Studies show that having a workout buddy decreases the chance that you’ll skip a workout.
14. Runners Can Eat More Carbs!
Eating carbs will actually increase your potential for a good run. Carbs will improve your performance and put you in the mood for running. What’s not to love about this?
15. You Can Bring Your Dog
Last but not least, running is something you can do with your dog. What better way to spend the morning than improving your health and your outlook…with Fido.