Why you will love running too

running woman photo

It Makes You Feel GreatThe first one may be blatantly obvious but I can’t overstate how true it is.   Let’s look at some of the science behind this statement.  Running, like other cardiovascular exercises e.g. swimming and cycling, helps to stimulate your body to release endorphins, which are one of the brain’s chemicals known as neurotransmitters; they send electrical messages to the nervous system and tend to relieve stress and also pain.  They can make you feel energized and often euphoric during and after your training and the effect is usually referred to as ‘runner’s high’.  It’s a guilt-free pick-me-up!

Lose FatOne of the most common reasons that women turn to running is often the knowledge that it helps to burn fat.  But what are the figures behind it?  This question is a little like ‘how long is a piece of string’?  The number of calories that you burn will depend on your weight, how long you run for, your fitness levels and the speed that you’re running at.  But as a very general rule of thumb you will burn an average of 100 calories per 10 minutes of running at about 6 miles per hour (which is about 9.65km per hour).  So, if you run for 30 minutes you’re burning the equivalent of a small Mars Bar.  Not bad!

I Heart RunningYour heart is a muscle and, like any muscle it gets stronger when it’s used.  Engaging in cardiovascular exercise, will help to strengthen your heart and improve your circulation, which can lead to a decreased risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

It’s (almost) Free!What’s the saying?  The best things in life are free!  Well, running comes under that heading.  To become a runner, you won’t need to pay hefty gym membership fees or invest in expensive gear.  Aside from a good pair of trainers and, for the ladies out there, a supportive sports bra you won’t need much more to kick-start your running.

Running BuddiesRunning can be a way of socializing as well as a great way of getting fit.  There are running clubs all over the world that accept new members; you can meet new people while you improve your health and well-being.  It’s win-win!  Running is also a great way to catch up with friends or to spend some quality time with your partner.  You’ll be surprised how fast the miles go when you’re chatting and enjoying the company of others.

Be Kind to Your Bones You may think that running damages your bones but it’s actually the reverse that is now believed to be the case.  It has been demonstrated that engaging in moderate running can actually increase bone density.  This is particularly important for women as bone density starts to decrease after the age of 40, especially in menopausal or post-menopausal women.  So how does it work?  When you run you put more strain on your bones than you do when you’re walking, your bones notice this difference and respond to it by activating reactions to increase in strength.  Clever bones!

No SAD for YouWe all need Vitamin D; it helps our body to absorb essential minerals e.g. calcium, iron and zinc.  We can ingest it from our food (from oily fish, eggs etc.) and our body also makes Vitamin D from sunlight, but many of us don’t get enough of it.  This can cause SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) a form of depression, some common symptoms include: lack of energy, moodiness, sleeping too much, change in appetite.  By running outside, even for only 20 minutes a couple of times a week you can top up your Vitamin D levels, avoiding SAD and keeping your bones and teeth healthy in the process.

Keep Cancer at BayThere are many kinds of cancer that experts agree can be reduced by taking part in regular exercise, some of these include: breast, lung and colon cancer.  So, in short, running regularly can help you to steer clear of cancer, sounds like a pretty good reason to get those trainers on to me!

Enjoy Some ‘You’ TimeRunning is a great way to spend time with others, but it’s also a fantastic way to get some peace and quiet.  Lacing up those shoes and going for a run, no matter how short or how slow, can give you some much-needed head space and time away from the problems of the day.  It’s amazing how a run can help to clear your head and give you some time to reset your brain, ready to take on the next challenge. 

Remember when…?Running can help to give your memory a (sometimes) much needed boost.  Being physically active, especially while you age will help to keep your mind sharp as a tack.  It’s been demonstrated that regular exercise can completely halt the decline in the part of our brains that deals mostly with learning and memory, called the hippocampus, which is also one of the first parts of the brain to be damaged in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.