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Running or jogging are both forms of aerobic exercises and as such present the body with quite a number of amazing health benefits. The difference between jogging and running is basically the intensity and the speed in which they are done. 

Running is different from jogging in that it requires more effort from the heart, muscles, and lungs. 

Running also requires an individual to be at a higher level of fitness than jogging does and burns more calories than jogging (1). 

 

1.      Running can help improve your cardiovascular health

Running has been shown to be an excellent means of keeping the cardiovascular system in a good condition. As earlier mentioned, running is an aerobic exercise which uses up the fatty acids and the carbohydrates in the diet for energy needed during the activity. 

A characteristic runner usually has a slow resting pulse rate and an inversely high utmost consumption of oxygen. Studies on the heart have shown that people who run for distances have more defined, thicker left ventricles as compared to sedentary people (2). Their hearts pump a larger volume of blood per heartbeat and are more efficient than the hearts of sedentary people. Running also has progressive effects on a lot of coronary risk factors, which is a possible explanation as to why chronic endurance exercise is usually linked with lower rates of coronary death.

Bottom Line: Running is a highly effective coronary exercise which helps to use up fatty acids and carbohydrates. It generally promotes good cardiac health and prevents coronary death.

 

2.      Running can help improve one’s mood

Those people who have been running agree that running generally alleviates their mood regardless of what they are feeling before running. As a matter of fact, some people use running purposely to improve their mood and it is even recommended by some therapists. This is not only because of the common condition known as “runner's high” which is caused by the rush of feel-good hormones called endocannabinoids. 

One study (3), which was published in the journal called Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, showed findings by researchers that even a single instance of simple exercise such as walking on the treadmill for half an hour could instantly uplift the mood for an individual suffering from a major disorder of depression.

Bottom Line: Running helps to improve the mood of an individual regardless of the preceding mood. The activity also helps to improve the mood of an individual by inducing the production of feel-good hormones which cause the effect usually referred to as the “runner’s high”.

 

3.      Running can strengthen joints

Contrary to popular belief, a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that running does not increase the risk of osteoarthritis, even for people who run for very long distances. 

Surprisingly, the study showed that people who ran had a 50% less chance of suffering from knee osteoarthritis as compared to those who walked. A explained by one exercise physiologist, every time the foot lands on the ground when running, the bones and cartilage are stressed, just like the muscles. This causes them to spring back stronger, which is a benefit for the runner. Low-impact exercises such as walking, elliptical workouts or swimming do not provide the individual with this benefit.

Bottom Line: Running does not increase the risk of osteoarthritis as had been thought before, a study showed that it actually reduces the risk of osteoarthritis by half. It also helps to strengthen the bones and the cartilage.

 

4.      Running burns calories

The activity of running requires a lot of calories which act as the fuel for the runner. Therefore, running burns up a lot of calories. According to The American Council on Exercise (4), about 11.4 calories per minute can be burned by the average person at 120-pounds by just running a 10-minute mile on a flat terrain and on a calm day. However, this number varies depending on an individual and a number of other factors such as the body weight. This number can also be adjusted accordingly by running at a higher pace, running on a rough terrain or running against the wind – all which increase the number of calories burned.

Bottom Line: Running helps to burn up calories at an average rate of 11.4 calories per minute with standard conditions of an individual weighing 120 pounds running on a flat terrain and on a calm day at the pace of one mile in 10 minutes.

 

5.      Running helps promote proper leg workouts

All the body's biggest muscles are located in the legs. Running majorly involves the legs and works out all of these muscles, benefiting all of them. All the muscles including the inner and the outer thighs, the gluteus maximus found on the backside, the quads, the hamstrings, and the calves get worked out during the process of running. Running is, therefore, a great remedy for collective leg muscle workout.

Bottom Line: Most of the biggest muscles in the body are located in the legs and running as works out all of them, making it an ideal leg workout practice.

 

6.      Running helps in working out the core

Running as an exercise is important for working out not only the abs known as the rectus abdominis but also muscles which are found deeper in the core such as the erector spinae, obliques and the transverse abdominis, which are the muscles that perform the role of sucking in the gut, making the spine more stable and handling the transfer of energy between the swinging arms and the legs. 

Running therefore helps to work out a great percentage of the muscles found in the core and thus it is a good core workout. One study showed through electronic imaging showed that the external obliques were the abdominal muscles mainly engaged when running alongside the other stabilizing muscles of the trunk, located in the middle and the lower back, as published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism in the year 2009 (5). Hence, running can be rightly be considered as one efficient collective exercise with multiple benefits both to the cardiovascular system and to the trunk.

Bottom Line: Running helps to exercise the core and most of the muscles found in the trunk.

 

7.      Running is ideal for a general workout

Running is also good for general body to work out because as mentioned, it is a highly intense aerobic activity which works out a lot – if not all – of the muscles in the body besides the fact that it is also a good mood improver. Running can be adopted as a basic workout routine and the results are just as amazing. 

People who run a lot have healthier bodies and get to gain from all the benefits that come along with the exercise. It is also suitable since it does not require one to belong to any gym, use up a lot of time, or learn how to do it. Therefore it easily fits into your schedule.

Bottom Line: Running can be adopted as a general workout routine since it gives the individual the chance of gaining from all the benefits of running and works out a lot of the muscles in the body.

 

8.      Running can help promote meditation

When running, many people find the chance to concentrate and focus on themselves. They also get to think about situations which are posing challenges to them and consequently come up with solutions to them. Coupled with the ability to run to induce production of feel-good hormones. 

Also, running helps one to take some time away from stressful activities which is beneficial also in depression management (6). Recent studies show that meditation helps to boost the gray matter, fight depression and anxiety and improve focus. Therefore, running counting as meditation helps the individual to enjoy the benefits that come along with meditation.

Bottom Line: Running helps people to focus on themselves and to find solutions to the challenges they might be facing. It also helps to get some time away from depressing situations and thus offers some relief.

 

9.      Running can help promote weight loss

There are studies which have shown that inactivity is a major factor which contributes to obesity and weight gain (7, 8). In order to comprehend how running contributes to weight loss, it is important to first appreciate the relationship between the use of energy in the body and exercise. 

Energy is spent by the body through food digestion, exercising and maintenance of body functions such as breathing and heartbeat. Metabolic rate is lowered by reduced calorie intake which is experienced when one is dieting. This lowering of the metabolic rate slows down weight loss. In contrast, running increases the metabolic rate and consequently burns up more calories and help the individual to lose weight (9).

Bottom Line: Running increases the rate of metabolism and helps to burn up more calories which speeds up weight loss. On the contrary, dieting causes a slower metabolic rate caused by reduced calorie intake.

 

10.  Running helps improve the health of bones and the muscles

Another major benefit of running is the building and maintenance of strong bones and muscles. When coupled with adequate intake of proteins, running can help build up some muscles. 

Depending on the intensity, running can be quite a strenuous exercise which can sometimes lead to serious injuries and even disabilities at times. It is good to some physical exercises running to avoid getting injuries caused by straining. It also reduces muscle loss which results from aging. In addition to that, running helps to maintain the strength of a person as one ages.

For young people, running increases the bone density and also helps to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis when age kicks in (10). As a matter of fact, exercises of a high impact such as running or even odd–impact sports such as soccer and basketball have been shown to promote more increase in bone density than sports like cycling and swimming which are considered to be low-impact sports (11).

Bottom Line: Running helps to maintain strong bones and muscles especially when coupled with adequate protein intake. It also helps to increase bone density in young people and prevent osteoporosis at a later stage.

 

resource: Sport-fitness-advisor "35 Amazing Health Benefits of Running, According to Science (+10 Tips for Beginners)"

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