The best exercise regime is one that varies, and one that exists in and out of the gym. That’s why those who are really serious about fitness include outdoor pursuits that help bolster their efforts indoors.

Humans have been running since they lived in caves and were chasing woolly mammoths rather than running around tracks. It requires no particular skill to get started and you can take things at your own pace. You can do it almost anywhere, you can make it a couple or family activity and, best of all, it offers these ten big health benefits (and even more)

Better Lung Capacity – Regular running increases a very important facet of overall health that many people often overlook the importance of; lung capacity. The stronger your lings are the better the transmission of oxygen around your body is, which in turns helps improve cardiovascular health and overall basic stamina.

Better Weight Control -Running, and not at Olympic speeds, on average burns 100-140 calories per mile, a return on your investment than any other form of general physical exercise other than cross country skiing (which is kind of hard to do on your lunch hour)

Better Overall Mental Health – There have been all kinds of scientific research studies to determine the actual reasons why but the simple fact is that runners are simply happier when they are running and that that ‘runner’s high’ spills over into everyday life, helping you stay saner and happier when not pounding the pavement.

Blood Pressure Control – Research has shown that people who make the effort to run just 10 miles over the course of a week are 39% less likely to be treated for high blood pressure or need medication to manage it and 34% percent less likely to be prescribed medication to deal with cholesterol problems than those who run just two. And obviously they are far better off than those who don’t run at all.

Look on the Bright Side – In the same study, which was published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, it was found that those who ran for at least ten miles a week were 54% less likely to suffer from significant age related vision loss as their two miler counterparts but the two milers were still 34% less likely to develop similar issues than non running peers.

Fewer Sniffles – Researchers in Sweden discovered, when studying a group of 200 runners versus a non running control group, that the runners were 18% less likely to suffer upper-respiratory- tract infections even when just running 3 miles per week.

Better Sleep – In a study conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston a group of people identifying as insomniacs as well as regular runners reported on days that the ran it took them, on average 17 minutes to fall asleep versus 34 on the days that they did not. So rather than popping a sleeping pill go for a quick run instead if you have trouble sleeping.

Better Bones – According to a study conducted at the University of Michigan running is a better bone builder than other common types of aerobic exercise. For example when they compared a group of runners with a group of cyclists from the same basic demographic groups they found that 63% of the cyclists had low bone density in their spine or hips but only 19% of runners group did.

Better Stamina Where it Really Counts – Technically this is a side effect of running that is only good for men, but we can see how ladies could benefit too. In a British study it was found that men who ran just five hours a week, regardless of speed or distance, were 83% less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction than those who completed just an hour (and they did not even look at the non runners!)

It’s Just Fun – Getting and staying fit can’t be boring if the average person is actually going to achieve their goals. That’s why, in the gym, so many are attracted to organised classes to supplement their efforts on the machines and in the weight room, it keeps them interested and motivated. And the same is true of running. It gets you out into the world, it gets you moving even when you are on vacation and far from your regular gym and, if you grab a friend, it can be a great way to fitting some real socializing into your busy schedule as well that is a lot healthier – and cheaper – than propping up a bar.

     © 2016 The Fitness Center of Lilburn.

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