Running isn’t the same as your weight lifting, or yoga, or even an at home workout DVD session. Keep that up and don’t give up on it, but consider adding an actual running regimen into your workouts. Running is an essential part of a complete fitness package with benefits to more than just your endurance.
It’s good for your heart.
Countless studies have shown the benefits to heart health when undergoing cardiovascular exercise. It increases levels of good cholesterol, lowers the bad, and lowers the resting heart rate. It doesn’t exactly undo the effects of aging though. A study of runners that trained for the Boston Marathon showed that they had indeed received certain benefits from a running training regimen, but still had certain age related factors.
Just because you can’t dodge aging doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue some kind of running regimen. The study used people that were training for marathons and was focused on any damage from over training. The average jogger can reap benefits galore.
Your digestion improves.
No one is saying that you should go for a run immediately following a heavy meal, but you may notice that you have easier time “going”. Yes, I mean you are bit more regular in your bowel movements. The effects of running, and exercise in general, is that it can encourage peristalsis, the contractions your innards make to move food through your system.
When your digestion improves, not only is your body able to absorb up more nutrients, but it also leads to the next added benefit.
Running encourages weight loss.
The best method for weight loss remains being careful about what you eat. Eating about 300 to 500 calories less per day will translate into a moderate and steady weight loss. You can up that loss with some running, but it will require a little extra will power.
Running gets your metabolism going as your body now has an increased demand for energy. The demand by your body for more food may hinder your efforts to end your day at 300 to 500 calories less than normal. Try eating more vegetables and roughage in your diet. It’s less dense in terms of calories, and it can help your stomach feel full. Especially when consuming raw vegetables and drinking plenty of water.
No more getting winded going up the stairs.
Running improves the strength of your legs and your heart, which turns into better endurance for the everyday activities. The improved functionality of the heart from running means more blood can be pumped through your body in a more efficient manner. This translates into more oxygen being picked up by blood at your lungs, and a more efficient distribution to the furthest reaches of your body; those stronger legs we were talking about.
Moving around your own house should never be such a pain as to require you stop and catch your breath. And neither should it stop you from keeping up with your own life! Even if you’re not training for a 5K race, a simple running routine can have vast improvements on your well-being.
Running is good for mental health.
You don’t have to sit motionless on the floor in a contortionist yoga stance to get meditative. Even when there’s a playlist going in your ear there’s nothing much else to do on a run but run and think. So think while you run. Think and clear your head. Take that time of exertion and make it yours.
When running you have yourself to rely on, so build up your self-confidence. You have a goal in mind to accomplish, so build up your determination. You know it’s going to take more than one run to get to that goal, and even on a bad day you can build up your resiliency.
If you’re going from zero to running it’s advisable to find a beginner’s program. One of the most successful and talked about programs is Couch to 5K (C25K). It’s a nine week program that will require only 30 minutes or so 3 days each week. There’s even a mobile app to help keep track of the workout regimen.
Good luck! I’ll see you on the running trail.