For many people out there, the idea of going on a simple mile run around the block is a dreaded thought. The long distances, the heavy breathing, the dripping sweat and everything else that goes along with running just doesn’t seem to be worth it. Well I am writing here today to give you five reasons on why starting a running routine is absolutely worth it in the long run, no pun intended.
If we take a flashback to a few years ago, I was admittedly one of these people who had not been on a run since I played lacrosse back in high school. Through the encouragement of a friend, adding running to my life became one of the best decisions I could have made to better my own health. Not only did running help me to lose weight and stay toned, it also aided in taking some unnecessary thoughts and pressure off of my mind as well.
Whether you are already an avid marathon runner or if you are looking to start out with small walks, here are five great reasons to put on your best pair of sneakers and take a jog around the neighborhood today.
1. A Skyrocket in Productivity
When feeling lazy or unmotivated, pushing yourself to get up and get your body moving daily is a great way to increase your mental drive. You feel immediately loosened up physically as well as mentally which allows you to feel ready to tackle the day.
Research shows that those who are active during the day show increased productivity when compared to those around them who are inactive. Adding in cardio can help to improve your brain’s overall performance by creating new brain cells that are known to help with learning, awareness and decision making.
2. Instant Stress Reliever
In the current state of the world, it is too easy to make the decision to stay indoors for the majority of the day. With many now able to work remotely straight from their kitchen tables, taking the time to get outside to breathe in some fresh air works wonders for your mind.
When I started running a lot, one of the biggest factors that I noticed was my stress and anxiety levels went way down during and after I completed my run. I gave myself a goal everyday to hit a certain mile mark and when solely focusing on accomplishing these goals, it takes a huge toll off of the racing thoughts in your head.
While running, there is no worrying about work, there is no worrying about relationships, the only thing you should be worried about for that hour of running is taking time for yourself to get in shape and do something to better yourself. That hour of running is YOUR time to do whatever it is you need whether it be just getting out of the house or listening to your favorite podcast or playlist.
One excellent way that helps me to feel calm while I run is to focus on my breathing. This acts as a great meditation technique in which you are only thinking about breathing in and breathing out, concentration is key here.
3. Improved Quality of Sleep
After a hard run through terrains such as winding trails or busy streets, you will surely be exhausted after the work that was just put in. Sometimes you will be so drained of energy that the only thing your heart desires is to run home and jump into bed for the rest of the day.
If you currently have trouble sleeping or are looking for a better night of sleep, running might just be the solution to your problem.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the effects on sleep caused by exercise are similar to the effects of taking a sleeping pill. While you are running, the stress relieving impact of the workout helps to decompress your mind and balance out your overall mood which is crucial when attempting to fall asleep.
Whether you take that run early in the morning or late at night after work, you will feel the sleep benefits of your workout at bedtime!
4. The Ultimate Calorie Burner
Did you know that running burns more calories than weight training, swimming or cycling? Going on a run requires no equipment other than a comfortable pair of sneakers and the attitude of wanting to push yourself to the limit.
There are many factors that determine how many calories will be burned on your run such as sex, weight, age, terrain, altitude, etc. To keep it simple though, the average person will burn around 100 calories per mile, pretty solid if you ask me.
Keeping up a high intensity while mixing up your run in intervals of sprints is vital for calories to continue to keep burning even after you are done with the workout. Don’t forget that a healthy diet also plays a massive role in how many of your calories are burned!
5. Reduced Risk of Cancer
According to a study by The Journal of the American Medical Association, those who are frequent runners show that they have a reduced risk to developing certain forms of cancer such as bladder, breast, and cold cancer, among others. This research found that people who exercise regularly are 7% less likely to develop any form of cancer in their lifetime when compared to those who exercise the least.
These studies also found that there is a 42% lower risk of esophageal cancer and a 27% lower risk of liver cancer among people who are actively keeping up their workout routine.
Not only will running aid in helping you to lose weight, sleep better and relieve stress, it can protect your long term health too!
So there you have it. My five reasons on why adding running to your daily lifestyle can change your entire outlook and feel. Looking to get started and need a fresh pair of sneakers to hit the trail? Check out this great list of top running sneakers here.