There are many reasons why running is beneficial for a person’s overall physical, mental and emotional health. Running strengthens the heart and improves the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body. Running boosts the immune system and lowers cholesterol levels. Running burns calories and helps us lose weight. Running is a social exercise that can be shared with partners, friends, families and communities; there are numerous 5K, 10K and marathon running events throughout the world. Running improves energy levels, relieves stress, and boosts self-esteem. Running is inexpensive and versatile enough to be taken up by nearly anyone, nearly anywhere, anytime.
As one of the best and most vigorous aerobic exercises, running offers a plethora of physical health benefits. As we run, our heart and lungs are conditioned to work more effectively and efficiently than at a normal resting state. By getting the heart and lungs in shape, we are greatly reducing the risk of suffering a heart attack. With an efficient and more lively immune system, running will help our body fight off germs, toxins, viruses and disease, and keep our body moving through the changing variable challenges of our environment. As it challenges us to push through normal distance and time barriers we usually succumb to in our daily resting states, running helps us train to improve our stamina and overall physical fitness. And combined with a healthy diet, running is a great way for us to burn calories, lose weight, build muscle and increase our metabolism.
Running also offers many psychological, mental and emotional benefits. Studies show that regular exercise leads to greater general happiness and lower levels of stress. Running, then, proposes to deliver greater levels of energy and creativity while eliminating mild depressive mood swings of negative feelings and thoughts. Runners speak of an intense happiness, extreme exhilaration and a euphoric, calm clarity of being, known as the “runner’s high”, achieved after a run. This is actually a chemical biological function of the body as it releases beta endorphins through neurons in the nervous system intended to support the body’s bones, muscles and organs in the stresses placed upon them during and after the exercise. This “runner’s high” can be a motivating factor in maintaining a regular fitness running exercise regimen and doing away with other addictions to drugs and alcohol or any of the countless other harmful negative behaviors. Running requires a mental focus and transcendence over the daily worries and stressors of work and family life, and as the physical challenges are overcame there is a sense of pride and self-esteem in accomplishment of specific goals in time and distance of a fitness running exercise. An improved focus on keeping the body fit and in shape for exercise can also help improve eating and sleep habits that might otherwise go unchecked.
The social benefits of running are numerous as well. Running gets us outdoors, through our neighborhoods and into the places we otherwise might not notice when we are traveling in our cars and through our daily routines. Besides being a social event in and of itself, many 5K races, 10K races and marathons benefit charities in the form of monetary fund-raising. In this way, running enables us to meet new people and make positive social connections while making significant tangible contributions to society as a whole. Regular fitness running with a partner or with a group in one’s community is a wonderful way to stay motivated, maintain a fitness running exercise regimen, share advice and celebrate achievement while developing friendships and a sense of meaningful place in one’s community.
And, since all you really need to begin running is a good pair of shoes and some open space, a fitness running exercise workout can be taken up where ever we find ourselves in life, whether we are at home or traveling. With all of the positive benefits of running for fitness and exercise, it is easy to see why it is just simply a good thing to do for improved overall physcial, mental and emotional health.