Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Benefits of Running

First, thanks for the comments on how to fix my commenting issue.  I did what you all said and it worked!  I unchecked the keep me signed in box and whalah...fixed.  Thanks so much!

This post is an important one to me.  For those of you who may be new to the blog or dont know my story, a little over a year ago I was much larger than I am now.  I was 230+ pounds.  I got some weight off and started to run.  When I first started running I couldnt even run for 30 seconds at a time without gasping for breath.  I was amazed at how quickly my stamina, endurance and overall capabilities expanded.  I am now training for a half marathon in October. Running has changed my life.  And while some runs are tougher than others I have never regretted a run, or felt crappy after finishing one.  NEVER.  I have just reached 150 followers and I thought this would be the perfect time to do a post that may possibly change someones life for the better. 

Before I was a runner I didnt know much about running other than I hated it.  It was something that hardcore skinny people did and I surely wasnt that.  I knew it was supposed to be good for you but that was about it.  Now that I am running and I see the changes in myself, I thought it would be nice to post some of the real benefits of running that I have found in my research.  I have gotten these from various online sites.  And like I said, if this helps just one person who is on the fence about trying running then its well worth it.  I know that after posting this I will look back on this time and time again to rekindle that spark and to remind me why running is so great.

BENEFITS OF RUNNING (copied and pasted from various websites)

*Running is one of the top activities for burning fat. In fact, with the exception of cross country skiing, running burns more calories per minute than any other form of cardiovascular exercise.

*Running reduces the risk of stroke and breast cancer.

*Running increases your sex drive. -Need I say more? Well, check this out: several studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have more and much better sex.

*Jogging builds confidence and self-esteem like few other individual sports can. It allows the runner to defeat trial after trial, growing stronger and more sure of themselves with each footstrike. 

*It provides a feeling of empowerment and freedom that comes with knowing that your legs and body are strong and capable. Confidence is even more a product of running for those who lose weight and gain a better self-image through running.

*Aside from just the stress relief, jogging has also been proven to improve attitude. Running, especially outside and on trails, creates a release of endorphins that can cause euphoria (runner’s high) or just a general sense of happiness.

*Running has been used for years to treat clinical depression and addictions of all kinds. Less tension, less depression, less fatigue, and less confusion are just a few of the changes that patients have seen after beginning a regular running program. Running gives something for them to focus on, allowing them to see something besides their depressed state or addiction.

*Not many sports can be done almost anywhere with almost no gear. we just need a good pair of running shoes and off we go.

*Those who are looking to lose a few pounds often find running to be one of the most effective forms of exercise for helping them to achieve their ideal body weight. Running is an excellent form of exercise for losing weight because it requires a great deal of energy. This energy requirement means the body burns a large number of calories while running.

*Lowers blood pressure and helping the arteries to maintain their elasticity. While running, the arteries expand and contract approximately three times as much as they do when you are sedentary. This means you are not only working out to improve your physical appearance but also the overall function of your body. In doing this the risk of heart attack and stroke becomes diminished.

*Running is also beneficial for slowing down the aging process. Those who run regularly are less likely to experience bone and muscle loss as they age at the same pace as those who do not run regularly or at all. The bones grow and become stronger by responding to physical demands.

*Jogging helps to reduce stubborn belly fat. Stubborn fat can be very hard to shift, but a running program can really help to cut down on the last of your stubborn fat

*If you suffer from poor appetite, jogging will improve your appetite. Along with all other forms of exercise – the harder you work, the more you need to eat to repair your muscles and refuel them. When you start to run longer distances you will start to eat to fuel your body, and may even find that you need to eat more food everyday, than you did when you were overweight.

*Jogging will strengthen the muscles and bone density of your legs, hips and back. Running does not produce bulky muscles, like weight training or even circuit training does, but it does increase leg strength. Also, the constant impact caused during running can increase bone density, so long as you follow a healthy diet.

*Running can give you both physical and mental joy, so long you do not exhaust yourself! When jogging is done correctly, you will actually feel less tired after you have finished a tour than before you began. You may even start to enjoy the feelings in your muscles during the jogging and afterwards.

*Running is one of the best activities most people can do to improve their health. It raises HDL (or “good”) cholesterol, reduces the risk of blood clots, and encourages use of the 50 percent of your lungs that usually go unused. Running also boost the immune system by creating a higher concentration of lymphocytes (white blood cells that attack disease).

*Much improved sleep. Millions of people suffer from insomnia, sleep apnea and various other sleep related problems and disorders. Several studies have been able to successfully link a positive relationship between running and getting a better nights sleep.

*Running improves your cardiovascular endurance. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Again, need I say more?

*More good news: -you don't have to run races or marathons to receive all these running health benefits. It can be part of an overall fitness exercise program, meaning you'll only need to run a few miles total per week.

*Its easy! Some high-tech gear will make your run more fun, but really, all you need is a good pair of shoes, and a supportive sports bra. It couldn't be simpler. And everyone knows how to run.

*Most experts agree that regular exercise reduces the risk of many kinds of cancer, including some of the scariest: colon, breast, endometrial, and lung. One recent study in the British Journal of Cancer calculated that the "most active" (e.g. walked briskly 5-6 hours/week) people were 24 percent less likely to develop colon cancer than the "least active" people (e.g. 30 minutes of walking/week). In a study by the National Cancer Institute, women of a normal weight who reported the highest levels of "vigorous activity" (running, tennis, aerobics) had about a 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer when compared with women who did no vigorous activity. Becoming a regular runner may help you cancer-proof your life.

*It can even prevent vision loss, it seems. Two studies from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that running reduced the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

If anyone made it all the way through this post please let me know what you think!!!


debkhershberger said...

I recently made it thru the C25K and did my first 5K. IM not fast, but I sure am having fun!!! Love and agree with the positives!!

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

I love it! It is SO cool to be able to do it... to go from barely even able to run to running a few miles. It makes me feel like I'm a rock star.... I never thought I could do it. So I agree and I loved reading all the benefits! I may just put a link to this post on my blog!!

Take care!

MB said...

I really WANT to be a runner but I STILL haven't been able to make it through the C25K program.

Congrats on your progress! Run on!

Kelly said...

I'm not a runner, I've never done the C25K program, but in my last 5K that I did (Turkey Trot) I was able to run the whole thing! I got that runner's high and everything, and the pain and soreness settled in pretty quickly too. hehe.

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Bringing Pretty Back said...

Jennifer , I am so proud of you and the changes you are making in your life! There are so many benefits of running... I need to get my butt moving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a PRETTY day!