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MANILA, Philippines – Running has become a popular form of exercise, evidenced by the crowd of panting joggers in both parks and gym treadmills. Clearly, the local running community has grown – and for good reason.
This is because running is not only easy to start (and keep) doing. Running also comes with a myriad of life-improving benefits that doctors have long recognized. For years, scientists have studied and proven these health benefits, and recommend running to individuals who need to improve certain aspects of their well-being.
A few of these benefits would be:
1. Your risk for disease lessens
Running – or exercise in general – helps reduce an individual’s risk for metabolic diseases such as diabetes, certain types of cancer and, of course, cardiovascular disease. Even if you exercise at the bare minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days a week, your markers that determine your risks for such diseases can lower if you stay consistent with exercising and manage your diet accordingly.
2. Running is a good confidence booster
The boost in confidence that running gives has more to do with the sense of accomplishment that follows when you tough a long run out, than anything else. Most runners can tell you that the pride that fills them up whenever they finish strong on a run is what gives them that extra hike in confidence level. And science backs them up with studies showing that physical activity can affect self-esteem in a positive way.
3. Running helps manage your weight
Known to burn a ton of calories with even just a short session, running helps greatly with managing weight. On average, a person weighing in at 160 lbs can burn at least 372 calories with a 30-minute jog. So if losing weight is your goal, running is one of your best and easier options.
4. Running makes your knees stronger
Contrary to what most people think, running can actually improve joint health rather than ruin it. Running helps strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joint, improve joint mobility, as well as lessen inflammation. It is even recommended by doctors to patients with arthritis for managing the pain and joint stiffness they experience.
5. Running makes you happier
It is common knowledge that exercise also facilitates the release of the body’s ‘happy hormones’ or endorphins. So to say that running makes you happier can’t really be dismissed as a myth. Exercise has even been suggested to be a viable treatment for depression, with a number of studies showing marked improvements in the moods of individuals diagnosed with major depression if exercise was incorporated in their treatment regimen.
6. Release stress with running
Ever felt better when you go for a short walk or run after you come out from a stressful day at work? That’s because exercise also helps in managing anxiety and chronic fatigue syndrome. Scientists suggest that, like with major depression, exercise has a positive effect on people experiencing anxiety and fatigue.
7. You become mentally tougher
Running improves your mental toughness – especially true with long distance runners who believe that marathons are more like mental games than they are physical. Sticking to a prolonged workout session or making sure you cross the finish line at the end of a 42.195-km run demands a level of grit seen in people who’ve trained themselves to shut the voice of self-doubt in their head. This skill will prove to be valuable not just in running, but in many other aspects of your daily life where you often have to face multitudes of challenges.
If you’ve ever caught yourself always backing out from the decision to start running, consider these benefits and gauge for yourself whether your gains outweigh the losses. And if the scale tips more toward the former, then go ahead and lace up those running shoes and go for it. – Rappler.com