Acquiring the discipline to participate in regular exercise of any nature is always a difficult thing. It’s hard to ramp up that perspiration by getting off your couch and literally hitting the ground running.
There are numerous excuses one could come up with to put off getting into a running routine—too tired from work, driving the kids to school early, wanting to be in time for early morning meetings, avoiding messing up your pedicure, and so on.
Yet, the benefits of running are compelling. If you needed the motivation to kick off your new year in style, here’s a look at the reasons why running is so key to living a healthy, fulfilling life.
1. Reduced Illness and Longer Life
An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but it’s not the only thing that reduces the risk of falling ill. Running is a great way to improve circulation, boost immunity and keep away the somewhat harmless yet hugely disruptive illnesses like colds and flus.
Running also mitigates more serious non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. This of itself results in regular runners having a longer lifespan than their non-running non-exercising peers.
Nevertheless, the better life expectancy is also due to the stronger muscles, firmer bones, healthier knees and better bodies overall that lead to fewer aging-related injuries such as fractures, dislocations, sprains and tears. All this is on condition that you religiously use the right running wear, such as knee braces. For instance, here’s a look at the best running knee braces, according to noblerate.com.
2. Clears the Mind and Improves Memory
If you’ve hit a mental block and are having difficulty imagining the solutions to a business or personal problem, a run can be just what you need to surmount this brain fog. Running boosts cognitive function. It also triggers the production of the calming, feel-good hormones that create the mental serenity necessary for rational, objective decision-making.
Note that this is not just something that takes place ‘after’ the running session—the running itself is a perfect time to get away from the noise around you, acquire new perspectives and sort out your thoughts.
Running improves memory. It wards off illnesses such as Alzheimer’s Disease and decreases or delays the symptoms of dementia.
3. Mood Booster
If you are feeling down, struggling with depression or battling any mental condition that overwhelms you with sadness, running can put the smile back on your face.
Other than the boost in the production of happy hormones, part of the reason running is such a mood enhancer is that in order to run, you inevitably have to overcome the excuses or barriers that would otherwise keep you on the couch. Overcoming these obstacles fills you with a new self-belief, a can-do attitude and a positive outlook on life.
4. Libido Enhancer
You probably saw this coming. Yes, your sex life gets better the more you run. So if you haven’t been feeling confident or sexy when you hit the sheets, running could drastically improve the quality of sex for both you and your partner.
Feeling better about yourself will of itself reinvigorate your bedroom. But exercise will also increase your flexibility and stretch your endurance, all of which will have you looking forward to those intimate moments.
5. Improves Your Skin
The quality of skin is a key ingredient to a person’s self-esteem. The skin is the body’s largest organ and is the first feature the people you meet will notice.
Running makes you sweat. This gets rid of body waste, clears skin pores, improves your complexion and leads to a healthy natural soft glowing skin. Of course, that’s on the condition that you gently wipe your face with a clean towel before and after your run to prevent breakouts, bruises and skin infections.
6. Better Quality Sleep
Do you grapple with insomnia, sleep interruption or just feeling that your nights aren’t as restful as they should be? Well, getting on a regular jogging regimen could get rid of most of your sleep problems. The physical exhaustion that comes with exercise will push you into a deeper, more predictable sleep pattern that gives you the rest and freshness you require to face a new day.
7. Low Cost
The cost of gym memberships and fancy equipment is one of the main reasons people stay away from regular exercise. And it’s a legitimate concern. These costs can add up pretty quickly when you include joining fees and other subtle add-ons. They are especially significant in the context of other urgent needs like mortgages and medical expenses.
With jogging, all you need is the right running shoes and you are ready for action. We’re talking a couple of dozen dollars, which is a fraction of what you’d otherwise have to spend on gym membership or setting up a home gym.
8. No Commute or Wait Needed
For many people, the nearest gym is likely a 10-, 15- or 30-minute drive from their home. That’s quite the commute and adds up to 100 hours or more each year. You also have to carry a change of clothes so you are ready for work once you are done. Even when you do arrive early at the gym, there’s no guarantee that the equipment you want to use will not be in use by someone else.
For running, whatever you need to get going is available to you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No matter the time and place you are, at work or on vacation, running is an exercise activity that’s always available.
9. Make Friends
There’s no problem making new friends at the bar, shooting range or office. But when it comes to people who’ll have a positive impact on your overall health, the friendships you develop with fellow runners are usually much more resourceful.
You could go the spontaneous way and strike up a conversation with a fellow runner as you stretch in the park following your morning jog. Or you may want to adopt a more formal route by joining local running groups on social media platforms like Facebook.
These friendships could eventually become the encouragement and support system you need for those days when you just don’t feel like getting up in the morning for a jog.
10. Discover Your Neighborhood
Have you recently moved to a new neighborhood? Instinctively, you’d want to drive around the area during the first couple of weeks as part of the process of discovering what’s around you. That can certainly help but is a much less effective tool of discovery when compared to running.
Running is slow enough to allow you to get a deeper, closer appreciation of the neighborhood than driving would. A car driving slowly around the area would not only arouse unnecessary suspicion, but you may also annoy fellow drivers by inhibiting the movement of other cars.
11. Free Transportation
Do you live near your workplace or school? Instead of burning gas, enduring traffic and wasting time looking for a parking spot, you could run to and from work. It burns calories and improves your health but also slashes your transportation costs.
These benefits are just some of the dozens of improvements to your quality of life you are bound to experience when you take up running. If you’ve been struggling to make up your mind about whether running is right for you, these benefits should provide more than enough reason to start jogging today.