Wellness Wednesday – The Benefits of Running

If you are not already an experienced runner, whether casually or in pursuit of half-marathons and improved times, the health benefits of the activity seems too difficult to obtain.  Runners often talk about how much they love to run (and find time to do it everyday) and the “runner’s high” they experience in long distances.  This sounds amazing, but in every attempt to start a runner’s lifestyle it seems all you get is pain, exhaustion and less time in the rest of your life.  You can only put up with these for so long before you give in and give up.  However, running has an incredible amount of health benefits that are worth it to tap into, if only you stick with it.

Running

The activity combines not only your physical health, but also your emotional/mental health.  When you run, your body uses excess hormones and energy, which can relieve stress and tension in your mind and body.  In fact, running is considered a great, natural way to avoid or eliminate depression.  Your focus goes to your body and distracts you from the vicious cycle of thoughts and feelings that feed depression and anxiety during the routine day.  In addition to the exertion of hormones and energy, the act of setting, working toward and reaching goals gives you feelings of satisfaction and confidence.

As you may already know, running helps us control and/or lose weight, but more than that, no part of the body goes unworked in running.  The cardio aspect increases your lung function and strengthens your heart.  It can also lower bad cholesterol levels and raise the good cholesterol levels.  Keeping with this exercise lowers your risk of stroke and heart attack because the blood circulation improves, thus preventing blood clots.  Of course, the muscles in your legs are strengthened and, if you maintain an upright posture, your abdominals will get a workout, too.

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One of the perks of living in this day and age is that we get to share what we know with the world through the internet.  If you’re struggling to get on a running routine, or if you’re just interested, there are plenty of websites where you can read information as well as ask questions.  And I cannot tell you how many beginner’s schedules and tips I’ve seen posted.  So, if I’m writing this for you, just get out there and start running!

If this has not motivated you to just get up and go, here are some websites for additional information and inspiration:

101 Tips for Your Best Run Ever – http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/101-running-tips

Exercise, Heart Disease, and High Blood Pressure -http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/heartdisease/exercise.htm

Depression and Anxiety: Exercise Eases Symptoms -http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495

Runners World – www.runnersworld.com

All about running -http://www.medicinenet.com/running/article.htm#what_is_running

6 Benefits of Running -http://www.active.com/health/articles/6-benefits-of-running