Is running good for you? Not only can you learn how to run, you were actually made to run. That’s right — humans evolved to be effective runners, from the length of our legs to our ability to sweat. This alone should tell you how good running is for human beings.
If you’re curious about the health benefits of running, you should know that there are many, and they are just as important for your mental health as they are for your physical health. Whether you already have a running routine or you’re looking to start one, here are a few of the reasons why running is so good for you.
Running can help lift your mood.
Many studies show that even a short run can improve your mood, no matter if you’re in a bit of a funk or struggling to find your motivation. Running for just 30 minutes produces mood-enhancing effects and a feeling of overall well-being that is much greater than what you felt before the run. Add in an upbeat playlist to take with you in an armband for your phone, and you’ll feel even better.
Running helps your brain function.
Running will also help your brain’s performance just as much as it helps your mood. In studies, those who ran regularly showed signs of better psychological functioning and improved focus on work or school during the day, and they were even able to fall asleep more easily once the day was done.
Running improves your cardiovascular health.
This one is a biggie, and it’s one that you likely already know: running (like all aerobic exercise) helps to keep your heart strong and healthy. Some studies show that running for even five minutes per day could have tremendous benefits to your health and even your longevity. Next time you’re on a difficult run, keep that in mind!
Running helps you to lose weight.
If you’re looking to lose some weight, running is a great habit to build to help you achieve your goals. Even at a moderate pace (about a 12-minute mile), a 160-pound person would burn more than 600 calories per hour and a 200-pound person would burn more than 750 calories per hour — a pretty impressive achievement.
Running helps to fight off cognitive decline as you age.
We all worry about our memory slipping as we grow older, but luckily, running can help to keep your brain sharp as you age. Studies show that adults who run regularly showed improvement in task switching, focus and memory--effects which last well into older age.
Running keeps your knees healthy.
Here’s a surprising one! While many people think that running puts strain on your knees, studies show that running actually reduces the risk of osteoarthritis and knee pain associated with aging. While overtraining can cause knee pain after running, it isn’t permanent. In fact, running strengthens your bones and keeps your leg muscles strong.
The Conclusion on Running
Yes, running is good for you! In fact, it’s pretty great for you. From your mental health to your cognitive performance to your overall strength and stamina, running is one of the best things you can do for your body.