Running is one of the oldest and most effective forms of exercise, and many people today use it as their primary workout source or as a cardio-boosting addition to a more elaborate routine.
There are many reasons why running as exercise can be great: it increases stamina, tones the body and blasts calories.
Furthermore, its benefits for mental health are not negligible either – running can help balance stressful schedules and help you center your thoughts.
Moreover, it’s practically free and can be done pretty much anywhere!
If this intro hasn’t made the case for running yet, let’s dive into all the reasons why this type of exercise might just be the ideal fit for you.
It Lowers Stress Levels
If you tend to exercise on the regular, you might already be aware of the fact that workouts can do wonders for your mood.
When we’re breaking sweat, our body releases endorphins, neurotransmitters which are incredibly beneficial in reducing stress and pain levels.
Even as little as 20 or 30 minutes of uninterrupted exercise can trigger the release of endorphins and contribute to an overall improved mood.
And running is a great way to squeeze in that precious endorphin-boosting session into your day-to-day routine.
Not only will running activate your muscles and get the blood flowing through your veins, it will also give you an opportunity to be focused on nothing but yourself and your thoughts.
This will help you clear your mind and re-balance yourself.
Moreover, if your daily schedule tends to be hectic and your sleeping pattern is all over the place, running can contribute to a more regulated sleep-wake cycle, due to release of serotonin and other sleep-facilitating hormones.
Finally, the more you exercise, the physically fitter you’ll get. Watching your body transform for the better will increase your confidence and make you feel more comfortable in your skin.
It Increases Your Productivity
Our day-to-day lives are riddled with all kinds of stressful situations.
Whether you are worrying about your job, studies or other obligations, sometimes it’s hard to focus and keep your priorities straight.
When your mind is frazzled, it’s easier to slip up and fall behind on your schedule.
With running, you will not only feel more energized and physically fit, you will also improve your concentration and sharpen your mental abilities.
You will feel revitalized and ready to take on whatever challenge is presented before you.
Moreover, if you turn running into a regular habit, you will feel motivated to arrange the rest of your schedule around it and stick to your routine.
It’s no wonder that so many great minds of our time were also enthusiastic runners.
It Will Make You Go Outside
Very few modern-day jobs require being on your feet or spending prolonged periods of time outdoors – the majority of people go about their day sitting behind screens in stuffy offices and cubicles.
This can greatly affect your mood and make you feel sluggish and devoid of energy.
And if you don’t often come up with an excuse to venture outdoors, running can be a great tool for readdressing this issue.
By exercising out in the open, you will find a way to reconnect with nature, which will instantly make you feel more happy and fulfilled.
How is this the case?
Well, being out in nature is closely linked to feelings of accomplishment and happiness.
Moreover, running outside will also replenish your body with Vitamin D, which tends to decrease during dark winter months.
Vitamin D can also contribute to strengthening your bones, soothing your nerves and improving your overall immune system.
And when you mix the benefits of being out in nature with a body-boosting workout, it becomes clear why this combination can be so beneficial for your overall wellness.
It Doesn’t Cost a Thing
One of the main reasons why people are hesitant to take up exercising is the potential cost.
These days, even the most basic gym membership can put a strain on your wallet, not to mention the dizzying prices of tailored workout routines and personal trainers.
Furthermore, once you fall down the rabbit hole called the fitness sphere, you might start feeling that you’re not doing exercise right unless you’re shelling out big bucks for all the right equipment, workout gear, and state-of-the-art accessories.
It’s no wonder that the financial aspect of exercising turns people off physical activity.
Luckily, this is not the case with running.
To start running, all you need to do is get out of the apartment and get your two legs going.
OK, perhaps a pair of good running shoes might make your life easier.
Of course, if you want to enhance your running experience at a later date, you can always do so with various workout-facilitating accessories.
However, none of this is absolutely essential if you’re just looking to set your body into gear – which is what makes running one of the cheapest forms of exercise.
You Can Do It Anywhere
Sometimes, the hardest part about exercising is actually dragging yourself to the gym.
This is especially the case if you don’t live close to it.
And if you exercise at home, sometimes you’ll find this isn’t the ideal setting either, especially if your living space is cramped or if you share your apartment with other people.
If you decide to go running, you won’t have to worry about any of this.
And yes, while running on treadmills is very convenient and requires the least amount of effort (especially during cold winter months), going outside to run is even better and more beneficial for your mind and your body.
Is there really that big of a difference, you ask?
The answer is yes! Whether it’s in nature or an urban environment, trail running activates more muscles than running on a treadmill, since your legs and feet move at different angles, depending on the surface and incline.
Consequently, you burn more calories and become firmer in a shorter amount of time.
Moreover, you’ll be more mentally stimulated due to constant changes in your surroundings – as opposed to the faceless interiors of gyms and exercise studios.
It’s Great For Losing Weight
If weight loss is the primary reason why you have decided to take up running, then you’ll be pleased to hear that this type of exercise is extremely effective at burning those extra layers of fat.
Even a simple, slow-paced jog can speed up your metabolism and help you shed the pounds faster.
But if you take it up a notch and start doing high-intensity runs, your body will be able to melt those calories away even faster.
Another great thing about running is that your muscles have to keep on working even after your workout is over in order to recover. This is called “the afterburn effect”.
Even better, combine your running routine with a couple of weekly strength training sessions, and your muscles will turn into bona fide fat-blasting machines.
And if you want to fully maximize on the weight loss potential of running, try to maintain a balanced diet. Processed sugars and fats may slow down your calorie-burning journey, so it might be best to switch to a diet packed with whole grains, veggies and nuts.
It Tones the Body
So, we learned how running can be extremely helpful in shedding excess weight.
But this type of exercise can also be efficient in sculpting your body and firming your muscles.
When you run, your legs tend to do most of the work. With time, you will notice how your calves, your thighs and your hamstrings are becoming more defined.
If your workouts involve running on diverse terrain with plenty of inclines, you can also rest assured your glutes will become toned as well.
However, firming your body through running doesn’t end with legs.
If you work out continuously, you will develop a strong and resilient core, which will result in more sculpted abdominal muscles.
A stronger core will improve your posture and prevent the occurrence of injuries during future workouts.
If your main fitness goal is to tone your body, you should make the most of your running sessions.
The best way to do this is to keep them varied and interesting. Combing long-distance runs with high-intensity sprints; try to run on all kinds of surfaces with different inclines.
This type of exercise will activate a good chunk of your muscles and enhance your performance. Plus, you can rest assured your workouts will never be boring!
It Clears Up the Skin
Some benefits of running are skin deep.
But hey, who’s complaining? If you can achieve a glowing complexion in addition to a healthy, toned body, then all the better.
There are many ways in which running helps improve your complexion.
For one, running boosts your circulation, which increases the delivery of oxygen and other nutrients into your cells. This increases collagen production, which then results in plumper, firmer skin.
Moreover, when your skin cells are feeling energized, they are then motivated to shed your body of all the toxins and pollutants that can cause a host of different skin woes.
Moreover, when we exercise, the levels of stress hormone cortisol become gradually lower. And with lack of tension and stress, you lower the chances of developing stress-caused skin conditions, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.
However, in order to maximize on all the perks running has for your skin, you need to take a couple of precautionary measures.
For one, when possible, try to avoid wearing makeup when running.
A combination of thick product and sweat may cause breakouts. A lightweight, salicylic acid-enriched cleanser should give you a clean canvas and reduce the chances of spots and blackheads.
If your skin is prone to breakouts, be that on your face or your body, you might want to invest in quality workout gear. Avoid anything that’s too tight and opt for nature-derived fabrics like cotton or hemp. This way, your skin will be able to breathe and you won’t have to worry about pimples caused by sweat-drenched clothes.
Exercising can often feel solitary.
Between the unfriendly hours and drab gyms, it’s hard to look forward to a good workout when you know you’ll be alone with your thoughts for the entirety of the time.
This doesn’t have to be the case with running, though!
If you find yourself an exercise buddy, you’ll never have to worry about your runs feeling dull or lonely.
Moreover, when you set plans to run with another person, it makes it harder to bail out on workouts. Plus, having someone to talk to and catch up with will definitely make you excited for every running session.
Also, running with friends might awaken your competitive streak – by comparing yourself to another runner, you might feel extra motivated to do better with each running session.
And if you don’t have any friends who are willing to jog with you, you can always join a local running club. Not only will you have company during your sessions, you might make some new friends!
Finally, a great way to boost your performance is to join a race in your area. Half-marathons, marathons and charity races will inspire you to achieve better results and become a more accomplished runner.
Has this list convinced you to finally go for a run? With all the benefits running will provide for your body, you’d be foolish not to. Now it’s time to put on your best pair of trainers and hit the ground running!