Without a doubt, running is one of the best ways to improve and maintain your overall physical health and cardiovascular fitness. Running is also among the easiest cardio exercises you can possibly do—you don’t have to have any sort of advanced equipment or machine; just get out and go run and start feeling great!
In this installment, we’ll examine the top benefits your body will experience from running, and then we’ll give you what you need to know to quickly become a master runner!
Let’s start with the benefits:
Running Helps Improve and Maintain Your Cardiovascular Fitness
Your cardiovascular system, simply put - your heart and everything to do with your blood circulation - performs best when it is trained to perform at a higher level of endurance than what it normally operates at while you are doing your day-to-day activities.
When you run or even go for a slow jog, your heart rate and blood pressure increase in a controlled manner. This helps boost healthy blood flow throughout your body. The saying that running will really “get the juices flowing” is indeed a scientific fact. Here’s a short list of just some of the cardiovascular benefits that people who run on a regular basis experience:
- Lower, healthier resting heart rate (pulse)
- Near-perfect blood pressure
- Significantly lowered chance of heart failure, heart disease and blood clots
- Increased metabolism (helps you burn calories and lose weight)
- Increased blood volume in your body
- Better blood circulation, even while you are not running
- Heart adapts to strenuous exercise, resulting in the circulatory system having to do less work while you aren’t working out, which leads to less wear on your heart and a longer life
Running Improves Your Mental Health and Makes You Feel Great!
Let’s just go straight into the wonderful list of mental health benefits derived by runners:
- Running boosts cognitive processing, which will make you sharper and also fights age-related cognitive decline
- Running causes your brain to produce extra serotonin and norepinephrine, which causes you to feel good, reduces stress, and increases your resilience to future stress you many encounter
- Running boosts your mood and fights depression
- Running can decrease anxiety
- You boost your confidence and self-esteem while you are running
- Improved sleep patterns and relief from insomnia, especially when you run earlier in the day or at least several hours before you go to bed
- Increased energy for those who run regularly or do cardio exercise at least 3 times a week
How to Get the Most out of Running
Hydrate. Ensure you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. If you are participating in any kind of daily exercise program, then your body needs more than just eight 8-ounce cups of water a day.
Strive to drink one or two cups of water each hour that you are awake to maximize your hydration. Your body will need it in stock since you utilize more water while you are running. But don’t over-hydrate right before you go for a run by chugging a ton of water, because any excess water in the stomach that hasn’t been absorbed into the blood system may cause you to have abdominal cramps while you are running.
Fuel Your Body. Eating healthy foods and eating the right foods are important to your optimal performance while running. A banana is the perfect pre-workout food for a run. Eating a banana 30-60 minutes prior to your run will give you the energy you need for even a nice 30 or 40 minute run. Potassium and calcium (both found in bananas) help prevent muscle cramps and aid in muscle recovery, making bananas the perfect mate for your run. However, we recommend doing some additional research on nutrition to decide what the best method for you is!
Stretch. Stretching after your run is the most important part of the run session, otherwise you may be laden with muscle cramps for days. Stretching before the run is usually not necessary, because your muscles have not warmed up yet and will not be responsive to stretching. We recommend checking out this video to learn the most important running stretches.
Properly Equip Your Feet. Wear comfortable running shoes or sneakers when you go for a run. Ensure you replace your shoes once or twice a year if you are running regularly, as the insoles (orthotic insoles are the best ones) and tread on your shoe will wear out and become less impact-absorbing over time.
You should also wear compression socks designed for running, like these low-cut compression socks. The best compression socks for running help increase the blood flow in your feet, relief from cramps, swelling and soreness, and provide the best comfort for your feet during running. Click here to check out the #1 Recommended Best Compression Socks for Running by Physix Gear Sport!