We all know running is good for us, it boosts our fitness, strengthens our heart, helps us maintain a healthy weight and has some great benefits for our mental health, too.
And the good news is, you don’t have to be Mo Farah to start reaping those benefits. Just 20-30 minutes three times a week is enough to see a positive impact on your health and wellbeing.
Whether you’re a regular runner or thinking of lacing up for the first time, here are some of the amazing benefits you can enjoy just by going for a run or jog.
Health benefits of running
1. Running keeps your joints healthy – forget being bad for your knees, studies show that running actually strengthens your joints. Runners also have a lower risk of developing osteoarthritis than non runners
2. Running increases muscle strength – regular running can help build muscle, particularly in your lower body. Hello glutes, thighs, core and calves! Add sprints or hills to your run to maximise the benefits.
3. Running reduces the risk of heart disease – aerobic exercise like running is great for your cardiovascular health, boosting your fitness, lowering your blood pressure and reducing your chance of heart disease
4. Running can ease PMS – going for a run may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’ve got your period but studies show aerobic exercise can reduce premenstrual symptoms
5. Running reduces your risk of diabetes – running regularly can improve your body’s insulin response and help prevent type 2 diabetes
6. Running strengthens your lungs – when you run, your lungs and heart have to work harder to transport oxygen to your muscles, meaning they get stronger and more efficient and you get less out of breath as you get fitter
7. Running could mean you live longer – according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, runners have a 27% lower risk of early death from any cause, a 30% lower risk of early death from cardiovascular disease and 23% lower risk of cancer
8. Running can help with weight loss – while calorie burn varies according to factors such as your weight and pace, running burns an average of 100 calories an hour. Combine that with a healthy diet and it can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight
9. Running is good for your eyes – regular exercise like running or jogging can reduce your risk of cataracts and the serious eye disease glaucoma
10. Running helps you sleep – studies have found regular running helps you fall asleep faster and means you have better quality shuteye, too
11. Running could reduce your risk of cancer – research shows regular exercise can reduce your risk of certain cancers including breast, endometrial, colon, bladder and gastric cancers
12. Running strengthens your bones – weight-bearing exercise like running can help build bone health
13. Running boosts your immune system – studies show that moderate exercise like running or jogging can strengthen your body’s response to illnesses such as colds
Mental benefits of running
14. Running boosts your self esteem – good news for those who run outdoors, studies show running outside boosts your self esteem. You’ll also become more body confident as you gain appreciation of just what your body can do!
15. Running improves your confidence – setting running goals and achieving them gives you a great sense of achievement and a confidence boost. Make your goals small and achievable and tick them off as you go
16. Running can improve your memory – got a test coming up? Go for a run! Aerobic exercise has a positive effect on the hippocampus, the area of your brain that deals with memory and learning. Studies have even found it can decrease your risk of dementia in later life
17. Running lowers stress – running regularly reduces your body’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol and makes you better able to deal with stressful situations
18. Running can reduce anxiety and depression – feel good after a run? You’re not alone. Running releases feel good hormones known as endorphins and has been proven to help alleviate the symptoms of mild to moderate depression and anxiety
Even more benefits of running
19. Running is cheap – once you get more into running you’ll probably invest in wearable tech like NURVV Run to help you improve but really, all you need to get started is a pair of trainers and, for women, a sports bra
20. Running = new friends – join a running club, crew or online community and you’ll meet loads of people you have something in common with – your love of running
21. Runners have a better bedroom life ! – studies show that regular exercise increases your libido. Now where did we put those trainers?
22. Running fits into YOUR daily calendar - no need to book a class or get to the gym, running is right outside your door, it's a convenience sport where you're in control whether it't first thing before the household has woken, in your lunch break, or at the end of the day to release the stresses
While running has loads of great benefits, doing too much, too soon, can cause injury. So ease into your run training slowly, build up your distance and speed gradually, and enjoy the process.
NURVV Run monitors your running to ensure you’re training in the optimal zone to reap the benefits without increasing your injury risk. Find out more here.