If you’re new to running and find motivation difficult to find, here’s some must-run reasons to change your outlook, and inspire you to pull on your trainers if you’re not in the mood
Slow down the ageing process
– Yes really! As we age, body composition changes and we start to lose muscle and increase fat. Not good news since a healthy level of muscle to fat is associated with a lower risk of developing chronic diseases. Researchers at Kings College have found that running may protect against the ageing process by preserving the length of telomeres (structures at the end of chromosomes that carry genes) that normally shorten as we age.
– Osteoporosis affects more than 200 million people worldwide so it’s good to know that weight-bearing exercise, like running, is one of the best ways to maintain bone health. Researchers at University of Missouri have found running to be more beneficial than resistance training on bone density as it stresses the whole body, especially the hips and spine.
– Running increases the levels of High Density Lipoproteins (the ‘good’ kind of cholesterol) in your body while reducing the Low Density Lipoproteins LDL (the harmful type) according to the National Runner’s Health Study involving 12,000 runners. Great news as this lowers your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
– Running has been shown to increase mental skill and brain volume according to research at University of Illinois. Just 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week can improve creativity and may help slow down the effect of ageing on the brain.
Stabilises blood sugar
– Exercise like running can significantly reduce levels of insulin – a hormone which carries sugar to tissues for energy. Running can improve the sensitivity of tissues to insulin, enabling more sugar to be used for energy rather than stored on the belly.
Lower blood pressure
– Regular running is a great way to improve the health of our arteries, pulse rate and in turn lowers blood pressure, a key risk factor for heart disease.
Breathe more easily
– Aerobic workouts like running force us to breathe more deeply, strengthening muscle function and boosting our lung potential. Good news particularly if you suffer with respiratory conditions like asthma or want to boost lung health.
Boosts cardiovascular health
– Running is an excellent cardio workout which increases circulation and aerobic capacity beyond what is considered normal for your age. Studies published in the Journal Circulation found it reduces risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease.
– Various studies have shown that running increases the activity of cancer protective antioxidants and enzymes in the body. An 11-year study of 32,000 women published in Breast Cancer Research found that running women produce a less potent form of oestrogen than sedentary counterparts, reducing their risk of developing breast and uterine cancer by a third.
Enhances immune health
– Boost your immune system with a morning run. Aerobic exercise like running 30 to 90 minutes a day, several times a week, increases the circulation of immune cells which enhances their activity against germs and destroys viruses.