Running is one of those activities that you either love or hate. However even if you don’t like to run, it should be part of your daily exercise regiment. Running is one of the top cardiovascular exercises. It is great for your body, mind and spirit. Here are the reasons you need to get motivated to start running.

1. Burn Calories and Lose Weight- Compared to other cardiovascular workouts running beats the competition in burning calories. It’s one of the most vigorous exercises to lose weight. Running uses every muscle in the body, increase the heart rate and blood flow, fringing nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. As you run blood is forced down through the legs and pushed back up to the heart. Which in turn is pumped through the heart and back out to the body. The faster you run, the harder your heartbeats and the faster it works, making the heart stronger. The better you get, the longer distances you can run, and the faster you can run, the stronger your muscles will get and the more weight you will lose. For those of a healthy weight, running will help your maintain it.

2. Stress Relief- When we exercise our body releases endorphins, happy hormones, which relieve stress. Endorphins are neurotransmitters, released during times of stress such as long, continuous workouts. Upon release into the body they create feelings of euphoria, happiness, and ease. This can create what’s known as a “runners high”. It eases stress, reduces irritation and relieves tension. By concentrating on the body’s movements while running, you can clear your mind of stressful situations, giving you a clearer outlook on life. Running is a great way to increase self-confidence and treat symptoms of mild depression and anxiety.

3. Good for joints- Because running requires the constant movement of the legs and the force from striking the ground goes up through the legs many believe that running will ruin your knees. As opposed to popular belief, osteoarthritis is caused by cartilage breakdown, which occurs as we age and is worsened by excess weight. Runners especially experienced runners are normally of a healthy weight, which significantly reduces the risk of osteoarthritis. In reality running protects cartilage, it doesn’t destroy it. Running shields the knee from arthritis because the knee develops a motion groove that loads the cartilage during regular movements such as walking and running. Running increases the heart rate, which in turn increases oxygen and blood flow to the knee and flushes out toxins. Running also strengthens the ligaments and muscles around the joints such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and core abdominals. Strong support structure keeps the knee balanced and in proper alignment. This reduces the risk for injury to the knee.

4. Disease Prevention- The health benefits of exercise are abundant, and as one of the most effective and efficient exercise, running produces major benefits. Running has great ability to prevent and fight disease. Many of the major diseases can be greatly affected by exercise. A sedentary lifestyle, inactivity and unhealthy habits lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and cancer. Running reduces the risk for many kinds of cancer including colon, breast, endometrial and lung. It reduces the chances for diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Running lowers blood pressure, reduces bad cholesterol, raises good cholesterol, and boosts the body’s immunity to fight off colds and flu. Running can also help prevent vision loss caused by macular degeneration and cataracts.

5. Live Longer- Although there is no definitive proof that running makes you live longer. It reduces the risk of disability and risk of death. Running increases cardio fitness, bone mass, lowers inflammation, improves thinking, learning and memory function. Running makes the body healthier and stronger, giving it the ability to ward off bacteria and viruses and prevent disease. A healthier body and good cognitive ability will prolong your life. Therefore running will help to add on years to your life.

6. Improves Energy- Running is a great way to boost your energy. Endorphins and adrenaline released during exercise lift ones mood and boost energy levels long after exercise has finished. When you are feeling tired or sluggish a quick jog can boost your energy. Running in the morning can give enough energy to last you throughout your day.

7. Easy and Cheap- Running is probably the easiest and cheapest exercise available. Even if you are not an experienced runner or have perfect form, everyone has the basics to put one foot in front of the other. All you need is a pair of running shoes and who doesn’t have a pair of sneakers in their closet. You can run pretty much anywhere sidewalk, trails on a track or even on a treadmill.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah Labdar graduated with a BA in exercise science and has worked in the medical field since. Her focus is alternative medicine and how it interacts and works in conjunction with traditional medicine.
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