What promises a healthier body, a sunnier outlook, and the perfect opportunity to catch up? This is no infomercial. Running is one of the best butt-kicking, calorie-blasting workouts around. Still not convinced? Here are 30 big time reasons to hit the ground running.
The Run-Down—Your Action Plan
1. Do it anywhere
Run, that is. Whether on the treadmill or in the park, it’s easy to rack up miles. Even better: Try lacing up the sneakers on that next vacation to explore a new place.
2. Visit the doctor less
It’s not only apples that can keep the doctor away. Active people are less likely to develop colon cancer. And ladies, women who regularly engage in intense workouts like running can reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 30 percent.
3. Live longer
Who doesn’t want to live forever? Not only do runners have fewer disabilities and remain active longer than their sedentary counterparts, they actually live longer. And even as weekly running times decrease with age, the healthy benefits keep on ticking.
4. Get primal
Turns out Bruce Springsteen was right after all: Baby, we were born to run. It’s what turned us from apes to humans and was used by our ancestors to outrun prey over long distances.
5. Slip into skinny jeans
Running is one of the best calorie burners out there. For a 160-lb person it can burn more than 850 calories an hour.
6. Boost memory
Exercise has been shown to help keep the mind sharp and could even reduce symptoms of dementia. Hitting the track might also protect the brain against Alzheimer’s, even among those with a family history of it.
7. Improve self-esteem
Need one more excuse to go green? Runners who ran outside and snagged a good view of nature showed increased self-esteem post-workout than those who had only unpleasant scenes to gaze at.
8. Stay steady
Older runners can keep their balance better than non-runners, protecting their knees and tendons in the process. Take that, yoga! Be careful not to overdo it, though: Too much exercise can lead to stress injuries and bone loss.
9. Turn down the pressure
Running is a natural way to keep high blood pressure at bay—and fast. Amping up workouts can help lower blood pressure in just a few weeks.
10. Build stronger bones
Resistance training is awesome, but word on the street is that running might help produce even stronger bones than cranking out reps. As an impact exercise, running helps build the muscle that lower-impact workouts ignore, keeping bones healthier even as they age.
11. Get an energy boost
Feeling sluggish? Try going for a run instead. Just one running sesh can increase energy and chip away at fatigue.
12. Carve that core
A strong core improves posture, strengthens limbs, and helps make everyday activities a breeze. And whether we feel it or not, running engages that midsection, strengthening those all-important muscles. Bonus: A solid core in runners can improve performance, too.
13. Sleep better
Runners tend to adapt to set sleeping routines in order to keep running performance high. Even better: Running also encourages higher quality sleep, which translates into better Zzz’s all night long.
14. Check off those goals
Studies suggest that people who set and meet (or exceed) long-term fitness goals (like signing up for a half-marathon!) are more committed and satisfied with their exercise routines than those who trudge along aimlessly. And who doesn’t feel good about crossing items off their bucket list?
15. Show your heart some loving
Running for just an hour a week can reduce the risk of heart disease by almost half compared to non-runners. And for those already hitting the recommended physical activity guidelines, an extra spurt of exercise can lower the risks of heart disease even more. (Just be mindful not to overdo it and cause more damage than good.)
Need even more reasons to lace up? Check out this Greatist article for more.