What are the health benefits of running?
Running, by its very nature, is generally unique. This is one of the most natural activities for a person, both in history and in particular for each person. Tell me, who didn’t run as a child during games or just like that on the beach?
Running is also amazing in its biomechanics. A large number of muscles, ligaments and joints are involved in the work. According to the research, only swimming and skiing can be compared in terms of load. But running is still more affordable than swimming or skiing.
- Lung function improves . Running increases the efficiency of gas exchange, strengthens the cardiovascular system. Oxygen enters the tissues of the body more efficiently, the body is cleansed of toxins.
- The body’s immune system becomes more resistant to viruses and bacteria. In the event of the appearance of malignant cells, the body is more actively involved in the fight with them.
- The nervous system works more actively. The activity of the brain increases. Running can help cope and prevent depression.
- Performance increases after training, the brain works faster than those who do not run. After running, the body produces more hormones such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, which, in fact, affects mood.
- The amount of body fat decreases, the body mass index returns to normal. This, in turn, creates a more attractive shape. If you want an affordable cosmetic procedure, then this is a run that affects the buttocks, hips, torso, and face shape.
- The risk of death from various diseases decreases . According to studies, runners have 25-40% less risk and live 2-3 years longer.
Even more benefit
Scientists from all over the world love to explore the topic of health and longevity, and how to achieve not only long life, but also high quality ones. Therefore, there are many discoveries about the positive effects of such cardio loads.
1. Running and the brain
The effects of exercise on the brain have long been known. Memory improves, attentiveness increases, learning is more efficient, thought processes are faster, cognitive functions of the brain increase. Running is more likely to prevent dementia and also promotes the production of nerve cells, i.e. Neurogenesis occurs. According to research, in the brain, in the hippocampus, about 700 neurons can be formed every day.
2. Running and cardiovascular system
Everyone knows that cardio loads are called so because they put stress on the heart. Running gives a form of load that strengthens the myocardium, and the heart itself becomes capable of pumping more blood volume per unit of time. What does it mean? This means that oxygen is more likely to get to its destination, and everything unnecessary is removed from organs and tissues. Thus, toxins, waste products and carbon dioxide do not accumulate.
If you have high or low blood pressure, i.e. hypertension or hypotension, then running will help. During running, the general vascular tone increases, which leads to stabilization of blood pressure. In addition, due to the fact that the blood circulates through the body better, more actively, and the cholesterol level is normalized, the risk of atherosclerosis decreases. Well, we know that the heart and blood vessels play one of the key roles in the body.
And you can’t ignore the opportunity to strengthen your cardiovascular system. Mortality rates due to heart or vascular disease are still the highest in the world.
3. Running and respiratory system
Running has a positive effect on the lungs. It is possible to improve ventilation of the respiratory system, which helps to increase the vital capacity of the lungs, strengthen the diaphragm and increase vascularization. Thanks to all this, more oxygen enters the body, which in turn is directed to the blood cells, and they already carry it throughout the body.
4. Running and the immune system
When running at a low or medium pace, the body’s protective properties increase. This is due to the fact that the activity of immune cells and protective proteins increases. Thus, the body is less prone to colds and other diseases. The body is more successful in resisting viral infections, which is especially important in the modern world.
However, anyone who intends to exercise should take into account that low and medium intensity loads are beneficial. Because during excessive exercise, such as during a marathon or interval training, the immune system weakens. It may take the body either several hours or even several days to recover it.
5. Running and the digestive system
During running, rhythmic movements occur, which in turn work on the principle of massage for our internal organs, in particular for the intestines. This improves his peristalsis. What does it mean? The body will get rid of disorders, constipation and indigestion. In addition to the intestines, the gallbladder, stomach, pancreas and liver also begin to work better.
6. Running and the endocrine system
You may not have heard of such structures in your body, but the pituitary gland and hypothalamus undergo a complex effect while running. This improves their performance, and they in turn affect the metabolism of hormones in the body.
An example of an impact? In girls, the skin becomes better, the menstrual cycle is normalized, and in guys, testosterone is better produced, the amount of which also depends on potency.
7. Running and musculoskeletal system
Running has biomechanics that includes the entire body. Not only legs work, not only their muscles develop. The process includes the buttocks, abs, back, arms, shoulders, and neck. An even greater effect of exposure can be traced when a person does not run along a path, but is engaged in trail running, i.e. jogging over rough terrain. As you run up and down slopes, a lot more muscle is activated. Therefore, if there are no mountains nearby, then you can run up the stairs of your house.
What will be news to some is the effect of running on the spine. There are studies that have proven a positive effect on the mobility of intervertebral discs. Along with a positive effect on joints and ligaments, jogging can and should be recommended for older people.
But you should always remember about the correct training and the number of loads. Knees, ligaments, muscles are prone to injury and sprains if you ignore the reasonable approach to running.
Running is medicine
1. Running and sleeping
If you want to normalize sleep, then running will help. It has a beneficial effect that balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. But if you run in the evening, then you should take into account that you should do it no later than two hours before bedtime.
2. Running and weight
Many people start jogging to deal with excess weight. Even a light jog can burn hundreds of calories. But running is not a panacea in this matter. It is much more important to adhere to discipline in the diet and exercise regularly. In addition, if a person is overweight, then you cannot immediately proceed to intense training. The loads should be increased gradually.
You should not rush headlong. Firstly, this way you will only harm, and, secondly, running will not help from everything at once. Plus, you can make things worse. Therefore, both to combat excess weight, and to improve the work of your body as a whole, you should adhere to some rules in training and running.
1. Medical examination
If you want everything to be certain, see your health and wellness coach or doctor first. He will give you a proper consultation, or you can sign up for a full examination. This will help avoid unpleasant incidents if you have chronic diseases. It is also necessary if there are injuries, because they must be taken into account and the running loads must be adjusted. But there are not so many contraindications in general.
Running is not suitable if found:
- Congenital heart disease
- Heart failure
- Thrombophlebitis of the legs
- Acute form of an infectious disease
- Serious injury to the musculoskeletal system
However, if a medical examination reveals either mild illness or illness in the initial stages, then running will benefit:
- Mitral valve prolapse
- Mild aortic or pulmonary valvular stenosis
- Mild to moderate insufficient heart valves
If you have the first symptoms of a cold and do not have a fever, then running will help stimulate the immune system, which will help you recover faster. Running will also help in the early stages of varicose veins. Blood circulation improves, which removes congestion in the legs, and this can even stop the disease.
3. The right time
It’s never too late to start. They run both at the age of 7 and at 100. But, of course, it is necessary to take into account the level of loads according to the age and individual characteristics of the organism. If you have taken everything into account and the medical examination did not reveal any contraindications, start today. Don’t put off the opportunity to improve your health.
It may be inspiring to learn that the oldest marathon runner, Fauja Singh, started running at age 81. At 89 he ran the first marathon. At the age of 100, he ran 42.2 km in 8 hours and 25 minutes.
The main thing is to increase the level of loads gradually and regularly. The body needs to adapt to new conditions, and then the described positive changes occur. Ideally, if the process will be supervised by a trainer who will tell you about both the loads and the technique. But listening to the sensations while running, how the body reacts to training, is also necessary.
And only regular training will lead to maximum benefits. This can be twice a week for 30 minutes, but it should be done regularly. If you like the process, then you can increase the number, duration, connect strength training for muscles, stretching for ligaments and joints.
If a person has never jogged, then you can start with 15 minutes of running at a comfortable pace. If it’s hard, then you can switch to walking. Do not think that it does nothing. Even a regular 10 minute workout has an effect. The most effective duration is achieved with a workout of 30 to 40 minutes.
According to the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization, for the most beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, you should exercise for at least 150 minutes per week with aerobic activity at a gentle pace. Or 75 minutes with a combination of light and medium intensity workouts.
What can be said to summarize? Running is a great way to maintain good health and invest in your longevity. If you adhere to the recommendations and a disciplined approach, you can get a set of positive effects for the body, which are confirmed by scientific and medical research.
Even the ancient Greeks had an expression: “if you want to be strong – run, if you want to be beautiful – run, if you want to be smart – run!”