I tend to have a love/hate relationship with running, and so many of my clients feel the same way. While it is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to exercise, it’s not always the most fun way.
That’s probably why exercise classes like Spinning and CrossFit have become so popular.
But what motivates me to go for a regular run is the overall health benefits not just to my fitness levels, but so many other parts of my body. When I explain these benefits to clients, it often helps to convince them, so I decided to set up this dedicated page.
Let’s dive right in.
1 - Overall Mental Health
Because running is an aerobic exercise, your body will start to trigger a lot of detox and hormone balancing processes.
From a detox point of view, getting rid of free radicals and by-products of the food you eat, will have the effect that you don’t feel drained and unhealthy. And with your body under less influence of toxins, your mind will be a lot clearer.
Add to that the hormonal balances and reduction in the hormone cortisol, and you will significantly reduce anxiety and stress levels.
2 - Sharper Mind
I already mentioned the fact that exercising will help to remove toxins from your body. But in many ways, your brain actually works on similar principles to your muscles. Because running will increase blood flow and circulation, you will be delivering more oxygen and nutrients to your brain.
Ultimately, you end up in a positive feedback loop. By running more, your brain becomes sharper, which helps to keep you motivated. The increased motivation will make it easier to go running more, which will further sharpen your mind.
It’s the perfect win/win situation for mind and body.
3 - Lessen Effects Of Asthma
Running helps in two ways when it comes to asthma. First of all, your lungs will have to work more and harder. This directly strengthens the muscles that work your lungs.
At the same time, the increased deep breathing clears out your respiratory system, including bronchi.
The second improvement comes from effective weight management. The more at risk you are of being overweight, the more severe your asthma can actually become. By keeping your weight down and reducing constant fluctuations, you’ll see a decrease in the impacts of asthma.
4 - Helps Prevent High Blood Pressure
One of the causes of high blood pressure is restricted blood flow. The more difficult it is to get the blood circulating to all parts of your body, the more strain your heart will come under to pump the blood.
By doing aerobic exercises like running, your blood vessels will expand to a more natural level.
The increased heart rate will also exercise your heart muscle, and just like weight training makes it easier to lift heavy weights, your heart will find it easier to pump more blood while reducing the pressure.
5 - Strong Immune System
Your central immune system is very effective at dealing with intruders like viruses, bacteria, and fungi. But in order for it to perform at it’s best, you need to get all the protective cells to where they are needed.
As your immune system creates these antibodies, they are released into the bloodstream where they then circulate and deal with the unwanted intruders.
Running helps with this process as it increases blood flow and circulation, meaning that antibodies travel faster and more effectively to where they are needed the most. As a result, all sorts of infections can be dealt with a lot faster.
6 - Weight Loss
This seems to be an obvious one, but running is very effective at helping you manage your weight. Even if you stick to a more modest pace for some light cardio, you’ll manage to easily burn 500 calories per hour.
Once you get a bit fitter and you can increase your speed a bit, then the aerobic phases of a run will burn more than 700 calories per hour.
That’s a considerable amount of energy, and if you combine this with a balanced diet that controls your calorie intake, then fat burning will quickly kick in.
7 - Physical Strength
Everything from your calves to glutes and your lower core will be strengthened through running. But this does require developing a good running style and focusing on getting your core muscles fully engaged.
It’s not the same as weight training would do for a full bulking phase, but the more you run, the more your leg muscles will develop and the less body fat you’ll have around your lower body.
As you gradually increase the speed and distances you run, you’ll find that your legs and core become stronger. A good test for this is to regularly check at the gym how much weight you can add to the leg press.
8 - Increase Bone Density
While running does put some strain on your muscles, joints, and bones, those stresses actually have some positive effects.
Most people are aware that working your muscles hard will actually result in new muscle tissue being developed. That’s basically what bodybuilders aim to do with their training routines.
However, similar things happen to your bones as well. The increased stresses result in your body sourcing and sending more minerals and nutrients to your bones. This increases bone density for a much healthier bone structure.
9 - Joint Strength And Stability
It is true that many runners end up with some problems in their knees and hips. In many cases, this is down to poor running techniques and even bad shoes, but when done correctly, this form of exercise will actually improve your joint health.
The strain on your tendons and ligaments will signal that they need to be strengthened, and your body will produce growth hormones and nutrients that are necessary to build up these parts of your body.
With the strengthened ligaments, tendons, and muscles, your joints will be more protected and less likely to fall victim to repetitive strain injuries.
10 - Personal Control
One thing that I always love to see with my clients is the way they gain more control over their busy lives. People that thought they were too busy to exercise, realize that exercising actually enables them to take hold of the reins again.
With the increased mental health and confidence and the overall improved health, comes a lot of motivation to get stuff done. You will feel more organized with every aspect of your personal and working life.
This frees up time to exercise more and gain further benefits from improved health. It might take a few weeks or months to get to this stage, but it’s well worth the effort.
If you’re not a fan of running outdoors or on the treadmill, then hopefully these 10 benefits will help to change your mind just a little. It’s certainly not something that should be your only form of exercise, but by adding even a few 20 to 30 minute runs every week, you will start seeing the benefits.
I would recommend working with a personal trainer or fitness coach at your gym, just to make sure that you’re not making some common mistakes in your techniques. And it’s a great way to have someone hold you accountable for your plan of action.
Don’t forget to leave a comment on social media if you’ve seen some of these benefits.