When it comes to achieving a fitter body, getting into a better shape, and improving health on all levels, one of the best things you can do is to start a regular running program.
The fact is, running might be one of the best butt-kicking as well calorie burning exercises you can do, period.
With that said, you might not be into running. Or maybe you are looking for more motivation to head out the door.
That’s why today I’m going to share with you the long list of convincing reasons that you will get you into running (even you suck at it).
Note: Please don’t get me wrong. This is not an infomercial, and ain’t trying to get you to buy anything. All I’m asking you to do is keep on reading with an open mind, and for more, be sure to click on the links provided within the post.
1. Running is Simple
Yes, running is one of the most convenient of all sports.
The fact is, running might be one of the simplest forms of exercises you can ever do. It doesn’t require a certificate, a coach or any complicated technical instruction. No special gear needed. And no gym required.
All you need is to grab your running shoes, warm up and you off you go for a killer workout.
In other words, there is no real barrier to entry.
And the good news is that everyone knows how to run.
It’s in our DNA. Yes, you were born to run.
Of course, this does not mean that you already have perfect form, nor will it be easy to start running, but, at least, you already know how to put one foot in front of the other. And that’s what running is all about.
Nonetheless, if you are just starting off, check these resources to help you get started on the right foot.
2. You Can Do it Anywhere
Running might also be one of the most accessible sports.
You can run in the city, the park, the trail, on a treadmill, you name it.
As long as you have enough space (or a moving belt), you can run, and it’s so easy to rack up the miles.
3. You Can Do it Anytime
You can run in the morning, during lunch break, in the evening, or even at night.
If you are on vacation or held up somewhere for work, you always have the option of taking your running shoes with you and going for runs there.
You can also run to and/or from work. For that, check my full guide here.
Even when the weather gives you the middle finger, you can always dress for the weather and go for a run outdoor, or hop on the treadmill instead.
The more options, the better.
4. Helps you Lose Weight
I got into running because I wanted to lose weight and get into a better shape. And chances you got your feet wet for similar reasons.
In fact, running might be one of the best exercises when it comes helping you lose weight and keep it off for good—and that’s a big part of why this sport is popular.
For instance, on average, an 180-pound person can burn up to 900 or more calories an hour while running. That’s a lot of calories if you ask me.
Of course, how much calories you will burn while running depends, mostly, on a variety of factors including your current weight, sex, fitness level and training intensity/length.
But as a general guideline, expect to shed roughly 50 to 60 percent more calories per mile than you’d walking the same distance/duration.
5. Fire up Your Metabolism
Some forms of running, mainly interval style training, such as sprint and hill reps, can boost metabolism levels through the roof, so you can keep on burning the calories even when you are at rest.
As a result, if you are looking to lose weight, or a maintain a healthy weight level, then running is undoubtedly for you.
Just don’t do too much too soon, and bear in mind that what you eat is also of paramount importance.
Here are a few guides to get you started on the weight loss running path.
6. Running Enhances Mental Function
According to a study, keeping a regular running program and staying physically active is vital in preventing cognitive decline and keeping your brain sharp.
Not only that, research has also shown that running could help patients fight off the symptoms of dementia.
What’s more? If you are serious about shielding your brain against mental disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease, look no further than running, according to this research.
7. Makes you Glow
Not only is sweating one of the body’s chief means of cooling down, it can also help you release and eliminate toxic waste from pores of the skin.
While sweating it off, these blocked pores will break open, leading to the release of dirt and oils trapped inside of them.
This means that more miles you rack up, the more toxins you get rid of, and the more glow your face will have.
Said otherwise, running can give you a pretty face.
Just make sure not to wear lots of makeup before you go for a run. Ladies, go make-up free. That’s even better.
8. Reduces Stress
If you are feeling a bit under the weather, then running might be the exact thing the doctor ordered. In fact, I can almost promise you that you are going to feel much better after a run.
Regular exercise (especially cardio workouts like running) can help you boost the production of brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.
Research has found that running (and some other forms of exercise) are is crucial for reducing the levels of stress and keeping it at bay, for both the short and the long haul.
Furthermore, science has gone as far as to suggest that regular exercise can alter the very structure brain, making it more resistant to stress and way calmer as a result.
9. Build Stronger Bones
According to popular belief, strength training might be the best thing you can do to produce stronger muscles and bones.
But that’s not the whole story.
The fact is, according to research conducted at the University of Missouri, running can help you strengthen your bones way faster than lifting weights.
And no, running does not cause arthritis, nor is it bad for the knees, according to this famous research that finally put an end to the “Running is bad for your knees” myth.
10.Gives you an Energy Boost
Research has found that staying physically active can help fight sluggishness and defeat fatigue.
Study after study, have shown that the best way to beat fatigue—especially mental fatigue and drain—is to stay physically active.
Also, running is a natural stimulant. Thus, instead of lounging on the couch the whole day, or reaching for your fourth cup of Joe of the day when you are feeling sluggish and chronically tired, go for a short run.
To help you get started running, check out these three awesome beginner runner guides.
11. Running Improves Stamina
This goes without saying, but I had to add it up to this exhaustive list.
Running is an excellent way for increasing your endurance and stamina in virtually every other physical activity (or workout exercise) you do.
Running is going to boost your athletic power and make your other workout routine and any other (team or solo) sport you engage in feel a lot easier. This is going to give you a leg up on the competition.
12. Strengthens your Immune System
Many a fitness enthusiast skip over outdoor winter workout because they are afraid of getting a cold or getting sick.
But that’s not how things happen.
According to research, one thing you can to protect yourself against the common cold while also bolster up your immunity defenses is to stay physically active all year round.
And running is the best option for that, if you ask me.
What’s more? Study has also found that runners have a stronger immunity system than the average Joe.
13. Improves your Sleep
This might not seem obvious at first glance, but running encourages higher quality sleep, according to research.
Not only that, those who stay physically active (even while doing short low-intensity workouts) reported better sleep than non-exercisers, according to study conducted at the Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
Furthermore, according to a survey from the National Sleep Foundation, active people reported considerably better sleep quality than couch potatoes.
How much? Well, according to the same research, subjects reported better sleep if they at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. In fact, that amount of weekly exercise can result in 65 percent improvement in sleep quality, which is huge.
14. Strengthens Your Heart
Running is a cardiovascular exercise per excellence. So it shall come as no surprise, that hitting the pavement can actually help you lower the risks of heart trouble while making sure that your heart is in tip top shape.
Research has shown, over and over again, that cardio training on a regular basis strengthens the heart, increases the amount of red blood cells as well as the number of capillaries in the body—all of which is vital for optimum cardiovascular health.
So what’s the minimum required?
Well, according to the American Heart Association, roughly 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity—what you may call running—is all you need for those gains. That amounts to approximately three to four 30- to 40-minute sessions a week.
It’s all you need to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and other heart ailments, without any prescription drugs.
Just be careful not to do too much too soon—especially if you are just starting out.
Overtraining is no good and will only get you in trouble.
15. Running Relaxes You
Sure, running is hard. It’s intense. It makes you sweat. And it can force you out of your comfort zone, etc.
With that said, running can also help you relax and let loose by stimulating your body to release special hormones, called endorphins.
Also known as “happiness hormones,” when there is a high concentration of these awesome hormones in your blood, expect to experience a slight feeling of euphoria and joy.
This will also fight off depression and keeps it at bay, according to this research.
16. Gets you Out in the Outdoor
If you are trail junkie, just like I’m, then you’ve already experienced, first hand, the joys of outdoor running while surrounded by the views, smells, and sounds of mother nature.
But that’s not the whole story.
Outdoor running can also make you feel a little bit happier, calmer and energized, both during and post-workout.
Plus, you’ll also get to see new places and explore the unknown—especially if you like going on adventures.
17. Protects You Against Chronic Diseases
Plenty of research has linked running to lower risks of getting all sorts of chronic diseases.
For instance, this research has found that those who exercise on a regular basis are less likely to get colon cancer and other types of chronic disease.
Not only that, according to a study in the Journal of The American College of Cardiology, running, even for a short period a day, is linked to a significantly reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
It should come as no surprise that those who keep fit—whether by running or any other mean—are healthy and visit doctors on rare occasions.
In other words, a run, and not an apple, a day, will keep the doctor away.
18. Gets you to Eat Healthier
As a runner, you know that you are only as good as the diet choices you make. Diet, AKA fuel, is king. There is no way around it.
Therefore, to make the most of your workouts, you’re going to have to build and develop good eating habits.
In other words, running is going to force you to take a deep and honest look into your current diet lifestyle—and whether it is something that’s sustaining and helping your running lifestyle—or otherwise.
19. Fights off the Reaper
Truth be told, running is no elixir of immortality, but research has shown that it can quite help when it comes to extending your lifespan.
In fact, according to research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, running on a regular basis can add up to six or more years to your lifespan—even if you are only doing a few short workouts per week.
And those aren’t misery years. The study also shows that runners have fewer disabilities and remain active and productive longer than non-runners.
Why is that? Well, as I have already stated, with running comes a whole host of impressive fitness and health benefits that you’ll keep you going stronger for longer.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but running reduces the risks of arthritis, all sorts of cancers, heart diseases, and other chronic diseases, as well as improving mood and immune system levels.
20. Make new Friends
Running can serve as a bridge to help meet other like-minded fit people.
So, be sure to peer up with a training buddy or joining a running club to make new (healthier and fitter) friends. In fact, a couple of my best friends I met at the local sports club.
You’d rather be hanging with people of the same health and fitness goals as you. We are, after all, the company we keep.
If there ain’t any, or you are too shy, then use social media or websites like meetup.com and other social media and running friendly forums.
21. Improves Your Memory
According to a study published in Perceptual and Motor Skills, subjects scored 20 percent better on memory tests following a running session than they did before the session.
As a result, if you are serious about improving your memory, whether you are a student struggling with learning a new language, or just want to get better at your job, running might be one of the best things you can do to help you recall faster and improve your memory.
22. Makes you More productive
Subjects who exercise on a regular basis—especially during work days—were found to be 23 percent more productive than they had no workout, according to study from International Journal of Workplace Health Management.
Not only that, research has also shown that people who follow an exercise program on a regular basis are more productive and enjoy higher energy levels than their sedentary colleagues.
23. Running Saves you Some Cash
As I have already stated, running is convenient. Not only that, it’s also so cheap.
You don’t need any sort of fancy expensive equipment or a hefty gym fee membership to get started.
All you need is a decent pair of running shoes and pair of tracksuits, and there you go. The right footwear is non-negotiable because it’s vital for enjoyable and pain-free training.
Of course, down the road, you might consider investing in some fancy equipment, such as a GPS watch or water bottle, but you don’t need that to get started.
24. Gives you Alone Time
If you are an introvert, just like me, and prefer to be your company, then the isolating nature of running is for you.
In fact, for me, the time I spend running is the perfect opportunity for some “me time” and be able to shut the whole world for a little while. Not only that, It also gives me perspective far away from other chatter and opinions.
Running is the best ways to switch off from the world for an hour a few times week.
25. Gives You a Sense of Accomplishment
There is nothing more rewarding than reaching one of your running goals, whether it’s finishing a certain distance, losing weight, or competing in a given race.
Whatever it is, running can make you feel accomplished—and that does wonders for your self-esteem and confidence. And once you accomplish a goal, you’ll feel like you are on top of the world.
In other words, it feels damn good to set a goal and then go after it and crush it.
26. Prevent Migraines with Running
If you suffer from migraines, then running might be the exact thing the doctor ordered.
According to a study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, regular cardio exercise can reduce the number and intensity of head pounders.
The researchers found that the subjects who followed a 10-week running program reported a reduction of about 40 percent in the quantity and intensity of migraines – as much as they would get from medication.
Why is that you might ask?
Well, as I have already stated, running reduces levels of stress hormones, which triggers headaches and leads to other health troubles.
27. Makes you More Creative
Running stimulates the growth of new nerve cells, in a process known as neurogenesis, and new blood vessels, angiogenesis, according to a study published in the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
These two vital processes are crucial for improving brain tissue volume, which otherwise contracts as we get older.
Be Careful: Too Much Running
Running 24/7 will not make you an immortal genius.
Yes, I’m a true running fanatic. But if you do too much, then it can it can spell disaster on your mental functioning and health level.
In fact, overtraining can lead to all sorts of trouble, including mental decline, chronic fatigue, insomnia and other health problems, thus compromising the quality of your life.
That’s why you need to do the right amounts of running. Otherwise, expect injury, overtraining, and a host of trouble in your wake.
Check these resources for starting and keeping an enjoyable, injury-free running program.
Featured Image Credit – Nathan Rupert Via Flickr