We All Understand That Running Is Good For You. But the Variety Of Ways It Can Help Are Often Surprising–Here Are Six To Get You Started


Hitting The Wall: How Running Is Actually Great For You In A Wide Variety Of Surprising Ways

They say laughter is the best medicine. And there is truth in that. But more and more, evidence is accruing that shows that diet and exercise are actually going to get you a leg up on someone who religiously attends comedy night at your local bar.

Science has shown us again and again that regular exercise amounting to 150 minutes per week can benefit our health in ways that can hardly be measured. And running in particular, that most adored and hated of exercises–have you ever noticed that hardcore runners have a tone akin to that of a Stockholm Syndrome victim when they talk about their passion?–has been proven to be among the best forms of exercise. Here are some great reasons why you should get out there this summer.

• Happiness is a warm run – Exercise will almost always make you feel better, emotionally. And this isn’t some Zen-nrivana runner’s high mumbo jumbo either: there have been numerous studies showing that even 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill can instantly elevate the mood of even major depressives. But once you kick it up to running, studies showed that as little as 30 minutes of running a week for three weeks helped people with sleep quality, mood, and concentration.
• Weight loss – This is probably the most obvious among running’s benefits, but what many people don’t know is that the calorie-burning effects of running continue long after you’ve showered off and hung up your stinky running shoes. Regular exercise produces what scientists call EPOC, or exercise post oxygen consumption, or colloquially, afterburn. Even working out for 30 minutes at about 70 percent of your max rate can help you continue to burn calories all day.
• The bee’s knees – A common misconception–one that is often conveniently trotted out by people who simply don’t want to run–is that running may be harmful to your knees. This is simply untrue, and science has proven it. Running in fact strengthens bone density, and a study that looked at knee damage from arthritis alongside participants’ history of running found no correlation. Now, if you ALREADY have knee damage, running might not be your thing. But those who eschew running because they heard from some guy that they should have some vague fear of knee trouble forty years down the road are looking for excuses.

Even a gentle run that shifts between walking at a brisk pace and running is better than nothing. And its great excuse to get out and enjoy the weather!

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