Unlike other forms of exercise, running is a marginalising activity – the truly passionate are pounding the pavement before sunrise while others avoid it at all costs. Whether you consider it an effective aerobic workout or an exhausting chore, you can’t deny its positive effect on the body and mind.
Some run purely for the physical benefits – it burns calories faster than the same time spent walking or cycling. For some, however, the psychological benefits may outweigh the physical ones.
Though deceptively simple to learn, regular running has a positive impact on the entire body. For instance, incorporating running into your routine will lower your blood pressure by maintaining the elasticity of the arteries.
The rigorous physical activity also maximises lung capacity. Frequent deep breathing while running forces the lungs to use more tissue, so up to 50% of the otherwise unused lung potential is utilised. Even long-term smokers may increase their lung potential through running.
Running also strengthens the heart, helping to prevent heart attacks. Running is large muscle exercise. This means it keeps the cardiovascular system efficient and strong, while opening the arteries, allowing blood to flow smoothly.
In addition to the physical benefits, running has a positive impact on your emotional and mental health. Running is often suggested by doctors to treat clinical depression and associated psychological disorders. Doctors who treat clinically depressed patients now believe that the physical activity is as effective as psychotherapy. It can decrease tension, depression, fatigue and confusion associated with mental illnesses
The reason behind this is that more endorphins are released into the body and also running can give patients something else to focus their energy on. It provides a temporary realise from the world, placing patients into their liminal zone.
The psychological benefits do not end there. For those seeking to lose weight or stay in shape, running can do wonders for self-esteem. As personal goals are reached, runners experience a greater sense of self-reliance and personal accomplishment.
By forgetting about problems and feeling the wind in your hair, runners enjoy a great sense of freedom. Also, the exercise improves circulation including the flow of blood to the brain, thus sharpening your focus and mental stamina.
Finally, running will improve your appearance. Getting the blood flowing creates a healthy glow and helps to reduce the waistline. So, not only will you feel better, you’ll look better too.