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7 Impressive Health Benefits of Running

Hussain Ali

In 2020, a lot of people started running and didn’t stop. It’s an easy workout to take advantage of no matter where you’re located, and it’s an all-around workout that targets a lot of areas of your body.

It’s an activity that’s tempted a lot of people into working out in the past, and it’s something that can make a lasting impact when part of your regular routine — but what other health benefits of running do you stand to gain?

The list is endless, but we’re here to take you through nine. Read on to learn about the best benefits out there.

1. For Some People, It Can Improve Knee Health

While running can cause injuries in some runners, that isn’t always the case. A 2017 meta-analysis actually found that, in some recreational runners, it actually decreased their risk of knee arthritis when compared to sedentary people.

Knee pain is still a common complaint among runners, though, so what can you do?

The trick is to strengthen the muscles around your knee, like the ones in your legs and hips, so that you’re not putting so much pressure on your knees every time you go running. It’s also smart to change your shoes every 300 to 500 miles, and to make sure you’re wearing the right shoes and fit. If you’re not sure about your fit, you can check out this sizing guide.

Switching up the surfaces you run on can also help (grass isn’t going to be as hard on your body as concrete is).

2. Heart Health

Government guidelines suggest 150 minutes of “moderate-intensity” activity each week for good heart health, which running fits perfectly. It helps your heart in other ways, though.

When you run, your resting heart rate is going to slow down. When this happens, your heart can intake a higher amount of oxygen, meaning it can handle pumping a larger amount of blood per beat. Your heart is performing its job with ease, and you’re able to breathe easier.

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3. Reduce the Risk of Chronic Diseases

If you have high blood pressure, running can help combat your risk of heart attacks, stroke, vision loss, and a host of other health issues. If you don’t already have this health problem, running can serve as a healthy mode of prevention. When you take the necessary steps to keep your body healthy before issues arise, then you let yourself enjoy running more than you might if you had to be doing it.

Running can also help prevent other chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and even dementia. If you can’t run, however, you can reap these benefits from pretty much any physical activity

4. Help Your Sleep Schedule

When you start running, you get your body used to be being up and out the door at a certain time. If you go for early morning runs, then you’re definitely going to start hitting the hay sooner in the day, but it can help your schedule even if you’re not an early riser.

When you implement that into your daily routine, you can start structuring your day more rigidly, meaning you can make the time you need for running. Running also affects other daily behaviors like healthy eating habits, which can lead to other benefits.

5. Weight Loss

When you run, not only are you burning fat, but you’re also more likely to be cognizant of what you’re putting into your body. Not only this, but it can help suppress your appetite when you’re craving junk food.

Making a healthy choice first thing in the morning, like going for your run before drinking coffee, is a great way to structure the rest of your day around making the same decisions. When you go for that run, you’re more likely to follow it up with healthy choices throughout the day instead of negative ones.

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6. Help Your Brain Out

When you run, you get to check out from the world for a bit and focus on yourself and the world around you (especially if you run outdoors, which we always recommend). This 2016 meta-analysis found that the link between exercise and a boost in positive mental health was linked really closely.

It found that exercise is an “effective treatment” for depression (it’s just as effective as psychotherapy and prescription medications) and that it could serve as an alternative to expensive medical treatments.

7. Practice Mindfulness

Finally, you’re actually likely to start practicing mindfulness in your daily routine with the addition of regular exercise — especially running. Mindfulness is the practice of tuning in to the present and absorbing the world around you.

Your mind isn’t racing off to other things when you’re trying to make your morning coffee. You might find that you’re able to listen more attentively in meetings and work through difficult situations with more clarity.

This can happen whether you leave your headphones at home or not, but it’s especially effective if you can run while listening to nature. Pay attention to the things you hear, see, feel, touch, and even smell on your run. That act alone can help pull you back into the present.

The Health Benefits of Running Are Endless

As you can see, the health benefits of running are pretty limitless. It’s more than something you do when you need to lose a few pounds. In fact, making it a regular part of your routine can help your mind, body, and your soul if you want it to.

Not only does it help heart health, but it helps your mental health and can help you reconnect with your body when you need it most.

For more on the latest in health and exercise, check out the rest of our website.

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