Running is the most accessible form of exercise you can try. There’s no need for expensive health club memberships or trying to find the nearest gym when you’re on holiday. You can do it anywhere in the world so long as you’ve got a good pair of running shoes and some suitable kit.
It also offers variety. You can change your routes and sessions. Hill training, intervals or long, slow distance runs are just some of the ways you can get fit, burn fat and stay healthy.
It’s also easy to build running into your busy day – you can run to or from work, at lunchtime or in the evenings, making it an easy activity to fit into a busy life. A 20-minute run in the morning will set you up for the day, while an evening run offers ‘me time’ and a chance to process the day’s events.
Breaking your running down into a daily routine is a good way to meet the NHS recommended guidelines of 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Breaking this total down over a seven-day period equates to just over ten minutes of daily running, meaning even the busiest people can find time to run a mile each day.
Running every day also helps to make exercise a regular habit. With a daily running schedule, you’re more likely to develop a consistent routine and stick to it. So here are some very good reasons to grab your trainers and get out and run…
1. Regular running will improve your heart health. Your heart will become stronger and the body will also become more efficient at taking in and delivering oxygen to the working muscles during exercise. Your resting heart rate (the number of times your heart beats per minute at rest) will also decrease. Regular running can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 40 per cent.
2. Running will lower your blood pressure. It has been recommended by the Blood Pressure Association as a way to keep healthy blood pressure levels. According to Blood Pressure UK, some 16 million people in Britain have high blood pressure – that’s 30 per cent of women and 32 per cent of men. It’s the main risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for a heart attack.
3. Running is weight-bearing exercise, meaning it can improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, where bones become brittle and are more prone to breaking. Osteoporosis affects one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 in the UK.
4. Running can help to reduce the risk of dementia according to The Alzheimer’s Society. Along with not smoking and eating a healthy diet, regular CV exercise, like running, could play a role in protecting the brain from cognitive impairment.
5. Regular running also helps to clear your head and improve brain function. During CV exercise, blood flow and oxygen levels increase in the body, including the brain.
6. Running is a great way to lose weight or keep a healthy body weight, as it burns calories and the body becomes more efficient at using fat as fuel. If you have a healthy body weight, you will have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis. It can burn anywhere from 10 to 15 calories per minute depending on your age, weight and fitness level.
7. Regular CV exercise like running will reduce the risk of breast cancer in women by up to 30 per cent.
8. Running increases life expectancy. An international research study for the American Medical Association that looked at runners’ heart health over 20 years found that older runners were at less risk of heart disease than their peers.
9. Running can help to prevent or reduce symptoms of depression. According to the mental health charity, Mind, regular exercise such as running can be more effective for treating mild to moderate depression than taking antidepressants.
10. Other benefits include reduced risk of stroke by 20 to 40 per cent, reduced risk of hip fracture by 40 per cent, reduced risk of falls by 10 to 20 per cent and reduced pain from osteoarthritis of the knee.
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About the author
Ronhill is delighted to work with Christina Macdonald a highly experienced fitness writer and editor with more than 20 years’ of experience in media. A keen runner herself, she has completed numerous 5K and 10K events, ten half marathons and two marathons. She is also a qualified Level 3 Personal Trainer and running group leader. Christina is on the board as Contributing Editor for Women’s Running in addition to owning her own content company, Healthy Content. Follow her @writefitchris