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The Health Benefits of Running

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

Your New Years’ Resolution is to exercise more. Which sport are you going to pick up? Golf? Tennis? Running? Getting outside and getting your heart pumping helps in more ways than one.


#1- Fewer chronic illnesses

Studies show that low cardiorespiratory fitness is linked to cardiovascular disease. People who work-out regularly have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Even if they do have hypertension or diabetes, runners have a better prognosis long-term. Basically, getting your heart and lungs in shape helps you reduce your number of doctors’ visits.


#2- Decreased cancer risk

Current exercise recommendations are 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity. Studies have found that 150-300 minutes a week of physical activity can be highly beneficial in preventing cancer. Your risk of colon cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer are likely to be reduced with a few hours of running a week.


#3- Stave off Alzheimer’s

Running can help keep your mind sharp and delay Alzheimer’s. It can also help improve your memory and decrease depression in the older years. Exercise helps increase blood flow and keep things fresh.

Researchers are expecting elderly people diagnosed with dementia to reach over 12 million people by 2050. The need for memory-care facilities, elderly caretakers, and other health resources is going to explode in coming years if that is true. Current medications for Alzheimer’s and dementia are not super effective and only improve symptoms temporarily.


#4- Stronger joints

Contrary to popular belief, running does not destroy your knees. There is actually data that shows that running and weight training help decrease impact on cartilage. If athletes do get osteoarthritis, they are able to adapt better than non-athletes with osteoarthritis. Joint injury can cause problems, so if things hurt – it is best to see a specialist and not try to push through it for months on end.


#5- Easily accessible

Running is one of the cheapest forms of exercise there is. The only gear necessary is a pair of running shoes and exercise clothes. Other sports and exercise hobbies require hundreds or even thousands of dollars in investments to participate. There are some limitations due to weather or unsafe environments, but most Americans could get their exercise in for close to free.


Running on a treadmill indoors is also an option, especially in bad weather. Used treadmills can be found on sites like Facebook marketplace, OfferUp, and Craigslist at a good price.


Conclusion

More employers are offering free gym memberships as part of their benefit package. This is a perk that should be taken advantage of to the fullest. Some Medicare Advantage or supplement plans also cover gym memberships.


Running works your lungs and heart, so they both function as optimally as possible. Current recommended exercise guidelines are good, but going above and beyond is even more ideal. Tracking your personal fitness goals on a spreadsheet, via a smartwatch, or in a notebook can help you visualize your progress over time and keep you motivated to continue. This can add years to your life.

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