25 benefits of running that you should know

First, a disclaimer: We love the gym. We love strength training with Free weights And workout machines. There are plenty of good reasons to lift, whether you’re looking to build muscle, shed fat and calories, or simply improve your overall health. But the benefits of running make a very strong case for anyone to consider became a runner.

Running is very popular, and there are all kinds of ways to do it, from jogging around the neighborhood to trail running or signing up for a race. After a temporary hiatus due to the pandemic, organized running events are gaining a lot of attention. According to Strava General Sports Reportthe number of Strava users who ran marathons nearly doubled in 2022 compared to 2021. From aesthetic benefits to mental perks, there’s a reason so many people are addicted to hitting the pavement.

While we’re not saying you should quit the gym (please don’t), we are We are Saying that you should consider taking up running, too. Here are 25 benefits of running to consider.

25 benefits of running that you should know

1. Running can help you live longer

Runners live longer than those who don’t. in one Archives of Internal Medicine In the study, researchers followed about 1,000 adults (ages 50 and older) for 21 years. At the end of the study, 85 percent of the runners were still kicking it, while only 66 percent of the non-runners were still alive. Yikes.

2. Running can lift you up

The runner’s high is real: Mounting research, including a study published in experimental technologyshows that when we run, our brains pump out endogenous cannabinoids, which are cannabinoid-like molecules that keep runners happy and suspended.

3. Running doesn’t require commutes

Going to and from the gym can take up 30 minutes of your day, in addition to the time you actually spend exercising. But the second you step out the front door, you can run, says Eric Moen, co-founder Physical Therapy Corpor Sano in Washington. After all, you spend enough of your time in the car. What’s more: Running can is being Your commute!

4. Streaming fights from beer bellies

As you get older, the weight has a way of attaching itself to your stomach. But in one Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise A study of more than 100,000 runners, those who ran 35 or more miles per week gained less weight in their stomachs throughout their midlife than those who ran fewer than nine.

5. Running can help you get vitamin D

The human body gets most of its vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, but since people spend all of their time indoors, you know very well how that goes. This explains why 41.6% of Americans are deficient in the vitamin, according to research published in Nutrition Research. Running outside can help boost your levels to ward off depression, prevent type 2 diabetes, and strengthen your bones.

6. Running burns crazy calories

“An average hour-long weight-training workout at the gym burns about 300 calories. Explains American Council on Exercise-Certified Personal Trainer Tammy Duberly, running coach with Full body fitness in Portland, OR.

Meanwhile, in one study from the Medical College of Wisconsin and Medical Center of Virginia, researchers found that a treadmill (used on the “hard” level) burned an average of 705 to 865 calories per hour. The stair climber, rower, and stationary bike burned significantly fewer calories.

7. Running doesn’t require a lot of equipment

says Jason Fitzgerald, USA Certified Track and Field Coach and founder Running power. “You can’t say that about many other exercises.”

No machines, dumbbells or even mats are needed.

A man in a yellow T-shirt is running through the woods.  Operating benefits

Westend61 at Offset/Shutterstock

8. You can run anywhere

Running will take you much further than the four walls of your gym.

“You can run anywhere in the world. There are already races in Antarctica and the Sahara,” Fitzgerald says.

Well, most runners won’t that Away. But that means a weekend away from home won’t ruin your workout routine.

9. You can run at any time

The sidewalks never close. Whether you want to work out at 2 p.m. or 2 a.m., you can do it, says Moen.

10. Your dog can run with you

Dogs are not usually welcome in the gym. But they are home on the right track. They even get higher levels of endocannabinoid-fueled antagonism similar to those enjoyed by their two-legged friends, according to Research from the University of Arizona.

11. Running turns you into an energizer bunny

“Running is such a great cardiovascular exercise that it makes you not tire easily from any given workload,” says Fitzgerald. “For example, if I’m helping a friend move, I can carry the boxes around all day and it’s not a big deal.”

12. Running strengthens your bones

Unlike every other aerobic exercise you can do in the gym, running is high impact, which means it loads and remodels your bones along with your muscles.

“Swimming, bicycling, and working on the elliptical machine don’t train your bones,” says Fitzgerald. “If these are the only things you do, you are at risk of developing weak bones and osteoporosis.”

A man in a gray hoodie is running along the river.  Operating benefits

Spectral Design / Shutterstock

13. Running helps you reach your goals

“Running makes you very goal-oriented. You’re always trying to achieve new PR, and you know you can’t beat your goal in one day. It takes time, work, and consistency,” Fitzgerald says.

This mindset, and the practice of working toward goals, can pay off in helping you reach professional, financial, and other personal goals.

14. Running makes you stubborn

“Running builds grit and mental toughness that translates into every area of ​​your life,” says Fitzgerald. If you can run 26.2 miles in a marathon or stick to a weekly running routine, you’ll be better prepared for the challenges that come your way.

15. Running fights off the common cold

“If you start to feel sick, an easy 30-minute run can stimulate your immune system to help fight off the cold before it has a chance to take hold,” Fitzgerald says.

in one British Journal of Sports Medicine StudyPeople who did aerobic activity at least five days a week had 43 percent fewer upper respiratory infections than those who did less aerobic activity. In addition, when the contestants caught a cold, their symptoms were much less severe.

16. Running is perfect for any fitness level

You may not be able to jump into just Olympic weightlifting. but you are can You woke up one morning and decided to go for your first run, says Janet Hamilton, an exercise physiologist with the American Heart Association Running hard in Atlanta. In addition, even after decades, you will not get rid of it. You can customize each running exercise so that you never reach a plateau.

A group of men and women running outside.  Operating benefits

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17. Social running

“These days, gyms seem to be a lot quieter than libraries,” Dubberly says. But on the trail, everyone’s talking. Whether you’re running with one friend or joining a running club, sports are about community. And happy hours after running.

18. Meditative running

More than an individual exerciser? that’s cool. “Running can be a time to let go of your own thoughts,” says the ultrarunner. Sarah EvansCPT is a personal trainer and running coach based in San Francisco.

19. Running is never the same

Contrary to what non-runners might think, every ride is different, and it doesn’t have to be boring. You can mix it up in a number of ways, from running hills, taking tempo laps, doing intervals, or mixing it up road and track.

20. You were born to run

“Running is the best exercise because it’s the simplest form of human exercise, using your body, weight, and legs to propel yourself forward,” says Evans. It is a process like a drill.

21. Running boosts your mood

No matter the runner’s heights, running can help get you through the day. For example, 2012 study From Switzerland, it was found that running for just 30 minutes each morning for three weeks significantly improved people’s sleep quality as well as mood and concentration levels throughout the day.

22. Running is an excuse to eat carbs

And not just “healthy” whole grain carbs. We’re talking about refined pasta, white bread, and crackers. Simple, fast-acting carbohydrates are the best fuel for runners, and boosting your intake—strategically—can help you run better and recover faster, according to research published in Journal of Applied Physiology. Some runners eat Skittles over long distances to stay active, says Hamilton.

A man stretches while bending his knee.  Operating benefits


23. Strengthens your knees

No, running doesn’t break your knees. He does exactly the opposite. Search of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that running (even a marathon!) reduces the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis. This may be because running increases the flow of nutrients to the cartilage in your knee while also strengthening the ligaments around the joint.

24. Running can get your heart pumping

“First and foremost, running is an aerobic sport,” says Fitzgerald. By training your body’s aerobic metabolism (oxygen uptake), it strengthens your heart while lowering your resting heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol. And guess what? Aerobic exercise is, by far, the most time-efficient form of exercise for improving your heart health, according to research published in American Journal of Cardiology.

25. It keeps your eyes healthy

When most men think of the benefits of exercise, they probably don’t think of seeing them. But the 2013 research was published in Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise It shows that people who run an average of five or more miles per day have a 41% lower risk of developing cataracts, the leading cause of age-related vision loss and blindness. The exact reason for this has not yet been discovered, but it could have something to do with the fact that running lowers your chance of developing high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes, both of which can contribute to cataracts.

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