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5 ways running benefits health

Incorporating physical exercise into our daily lives is important to keep us fit and healthy. Discover 5 reasons why running is great for our health.

Running is one of the most straightforward ways to get the important benefits of exercise, it's easily accessible without the need to sign up to a gym and is a great way to help improve cardiovascular health. Here's 5 key ways in which running can benefit your health.

1. Burns calories

Running helps to burn calories which can aid with weight loss or maintenance of your weight. The burning of calories even continues after you stop your run. In a similar way to how a car’s engine remains warm after being turned off, once you have finished running, your body’s metabolism can continue to burn more calories than when at complete rest. This effect is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), also known as oxygen debt. EPOC is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal, resting level of metabolic function. Regular exercise boosts excess post oxygen consumption (EPOC).

2. Strengthens muscles

Running strengthens your muscles. Even though running is primarily an aerobic activity, you still use a variety of muscles which will increase in their strength, tone and endurance. Running is an effective core workout, as it works and tones the muscles of your torso, the muscles from your pelvis to the shoulder and the abdominal, lower back, pelvis and hip muscles, to keep your spine aligned as you run.

3. Improves mood

Feel good brain chemicals and hormones such as serotonin and dopamine are produced when you run. This can help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression and make you feel happier. Concentration, memory and sleep also improve which in turn leads for a happier you!

4. Increases cardiovascular health

Muscles get stronger with regular exercise, and it is important to remember the heart is also a muscle, therefore, the same rule applies. But just like other muscles, after intense exercise, you need to give yourself rest period to allow the heart time to recover.

Running can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 35%. This can also mean a reduction in blood pressure and ‘bad cholesterol’ which also helps keep your heart healthy.

5. Strengthens joints and bones

Running not only strengthens muscles but also strengthens your joints and bones too (including your knees!) Running increases bone mass and can help to prevent age-related bone loss such as osteoarthritis. So, despite hearing many people say 'running can be bad for your knees', studies show that running can actually improve knee health [1].

Decided to take up running recently and want to understand how it's affecting your inner health? Our Endurance Fitness Blood Test is the perfect place to start. It includes a full blood count as well as tests for inflammation and muscle damage, cholesterol for cardiovascular risk, hormones which can be affected by training such as testosterone, oestradiol and cortisol as well as markers for fatigue such as a full iron profile and vitamin B12. You can establish your pre-training baseline and then track changes as your training load increases. 


References

ScienceDaily. (2014). Running does not lead to knee osteoarthritis, may protect people from developing disease, experts say. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141116094058.htm [Accessed 25 Feb. 2019].