1. it helps lower blood pressure – when you run, your arteries expand and contract more than they usually do, which helps to keep your arteries elastic and your blood pressure low. This is important because high blood pressure can lead to severe disabilities, and even a fatal heart attack.
2. it’s secretly awesome for your joints – even though everyone always talks about injured joints from running, running can actually HELP your joints. It increases the oxygen flow and flushes out the toxins, which helps to maintain the cartilage and to strengthen the ligaments around your joints.
3. you’ll live longer, and happier – a study done by Stanford University looked at the patterns of health in 1,000 different people over a period of time. In runners, the disability levels were consistently lower, and the lifespans were consistently longer.
4. running is your drug – a physiological study conducted in 2007 showed that running causes the same type of neuro-chemical adaptations in brain reward centers that addictive drugs do. Except, obviously, running is a far more sustainable and beneficial option!
5. it prevents depression – similarly, running works to boost the levels of serotonin in your brain, working to make you happier. It also releases beta endorphins into the brain, which are neurotransmitters that can reduce pain, boost the immune system, AND cause a greater sense of peace and well-being. They are show to have eighty times as much of a pain-easing effect as morphine does.
6. and makes you even more beautiful – besides helping you to maintain a healthy level of physical fitness, running works to get the blood moving, circulating, pumping, which creates a healthy glow to your skin. Runners glow, that’s a new one, but a good one!
7. it teaches you to breathe – listen up, yogis! Running actually increases your lung capacity, and help with your breathing, if you take the time to get your runner’s breath on-par. Here’s a good article about breath while running that will help you optimize the benefits that it can have for your breath.
8. intense bone health – running increases bone mass, and helps to prevent against age-related bone loss. It also has been proven to actually cause your body to produce bone cells that are healthier.
9. it hearts your heart – little surprise here, but running’s phenomenal for your heart! It not only helps to build a healthy heart muscle, but also actually increases the amount of blood that your heart can pump!
10. and finally, it makes you sharp – that’s right! Among the many mental benefits of running, early studies on humans have actually started to prove that running can help you with learning and storing new information and memories, as well as helping to improve focus and actually maybe even warding off dementia.
Not too bad of a list, in exchange for a few miles sweated out on the trail. Even if you’re not a consistent or “distance” runner, here are ten awesome reasons to lace up your shoes and hit the pavement!