Top 12 Health Benefits of Running You Need to Know

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With one foot in front of the other, running can help you achieve longevity and happiness in life.

Running is not just an exercise anymore, it scientifically promotes a positive heart, both physically and mentally. Which means, when you include running in your life you will be a healthier you.

Life can be stressful with work demands and unexpected happenings, but running will always be a safe place for your mind to destress and your body to detox.

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Running Stats team brings you the top 12 health benefits of running that will inspire you to get out there and run.

1. Longevity of Life

American Journal of Epidemiology conducted research over several years to determine whether male and female joggers were more likely to achieve longevity in life. It was discovered that on average, joggers lived 6 years longer than those who did not jog. The study was backed up by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, who determined that frequent runners gained more years, as well as had increased cardiovascular health.

Running even 5-10 minutes a day increases your years of life. However, running too intensely over a long period of time can reverse the effects of longevity by putting too much pressure and demand on the body. Always be mindful of changing up your running routine with cross-training and knowing your body's limits.

Increasing your years allows you to be there in the tender moments of life. For more birthdays, holidays, and special moments that make life the beauty that it is.

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2. Improves Mood

Running has the unique ability to enhance your mood, even within the first five minutes. For those who suffer with anxiety, running teaches your body to respond better to stress and fear that tangles in anxiety disorders. As you run, you perspire and your heart races, which can be similar to experiencing an episode of anxiety, only running boosts your mood rather than surrounding your mood in fear.

Exercise toughens up your brain function by helping your body respond in a positive way towards stressful situations. As your brain creates new pathways to deal with physical and emotional demands, you will be able to ease negative emotions and respond better to hardships in life.

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3. Lowers Blood Pressure

Running can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and fights against diabetes. Even if you are not too much into running, even a brisk walk can help your blood pressure. Researchers found that running more often decreased risk of hypertension by 4.2%, while walking decreased it by 7.2%. Getting outside and going for a brisk walk or light jog will decrease the risk of high blood pressure, which will have you feeling healthy.

When you allow time in your schedule for running, you are promoting your health for a lifetime. Take a friend along with you and establish a regular routine of getting outside and running.

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4. Gives Confidence

Give yourself a boost of confidence through the impact of running. Countless accounts of runners claiming how running shifted their life for the better is a testament to how exercise can change how you interact with the world. When you push your limits, you face a different version of yourself that can shatter how you previously saw yourself.

Self-esteem is developed between the ages of 6 and 11, and many children carry low self-esteem well into adulthood. Running can be an outlet for unresolved emotions, but also has positive physical effects. The more you run, the more your body will reveal the results of your hard work. In return, it gives confidence that can uplift your self-esteem. You deserve to live a good life, so give your body a great workout and your mind positive empowerment.

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5. Promotes Fitness

No matter if you are trying to lose weight, or you are trying to tone up your muscles, running helps you achieve your fitness goals. Running is one of the best cardio activities that you can participate in as it burns around 100 calories for every mile ran. As your body increases movement, it engages your whole cardiovascular system, which begins to tone your overall body.

As you continue a running routine, your body will be craving more, which improves your overall cardiovascular endurance. With proper technique for running, and a healthy mindset of getting fit, you will be more than ready to take on whatever life throws at you.

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6. Encourages the Immune System

Exercise clears out your system to help fight against the common cold and potentially dangerous viruses. When you participate in more rigorous activity like running, it positively changes the antibodies in your body that help fight against disease. It also heats up your body's temperature for eliminating any potential harmful germs or sickness.

Running improves circulation throughout the body, which decreases potential injury that may take your body's attention from fighting sickness. With a stronger system, you will be able to push the limits and achieve more of your goals. Encourage your immune system through running to fight for a healthier life.

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7. Sharpens Thought Processes

When you run, your hippocampus activates more acutely, which helps with clearer thinking and boosts your memory bank. One study revealed that working out in your 20s can help your long-term memory stay more defined well into your older years. New brain cells are formed when you sweat during aerobic exercise that helps you stay sharp throughout your lifetime.

Running increases blood flow that aids circulation throughout the body. When your brain receives more oxygen and blood flow, the more productive you can be as a person. By clearing your head through running, you will be able to achieve more, think clearer, and remember better.

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8. Defeats Disease

Running can reduce your chances of getting a debilitating disease. Cancers ranging from Endometrial to Lung cancer are less likely to happen when you participate in regular exercise. Disease can be a scary hardship, but you can overcome the possibility, or overcome it through moving your body in aerobic activity to boost your defense mechanisms.

Running significantly decreases the possibility of cardiovascular disease and helps people combat chronic conditions. Research shows that runner's spouses also benefit from a healthy lifestyle, which means, having a partner who is a frequent runner may also increase your chances of fighting disease.

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9. Fights Depression

The World Health Organization estimated that over 350 million adults suffer with depression. When your mind dwells on dark thoughts, it can be hard to bring yourself out of it to a good space, but exercise can help. A recent study by Translational Psychiatry showed that meditation paired with running can boost your brain to think beyond depression by teaching you to focus your attention on more pleasant emotions and memories.

A prevailing 40% decrease in depressive symptoms were concluded at the end of the study. Whether you suffer from major depression or have seasonal depression, running can help you overcome darks times, both past and present.

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10. Helps You Breathe

When you are out in the open air, you body can breathe easier and better. If you have suffered from lung problems in the past, running can help you overcome the obstacle of shallow breathing. The European Lung Foundation says that when you exercise, your lungs take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide, which promotes circulation and encourages healthy breathing.

The more often you exercise, the more your body can store up a breath reserve that can help you achieve longer runs. When you are out of breath, it does not necessarily mean you are out of shape, it is just your body working hard to bring yourself to better fitness and healthier lung control.

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11. Aids Restful Sleep

When you sleep better, you can function in life better. Many people suffer with sleep problems, and have trouble staying alert during the day. Running can help alleviate your sleeplessness and give you the rest you deserve. By engaging in physical activity it aids your body for deeper sleep that will have you staying more alert as you go about your day.

Your body needs proper sleep in order to repair itself from a long day of activity. Rather than settling for sleep medications, try out a regular running routine. You will feel healthier for it, and has no questionable side effects that many medications do. Even jogging for ten minutes will help you fall asleep better and stay asleep until you are ready to awake and greet the day.

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12. Leads to a Life Well Lived

Running awakens your world to see a better way of living and taking care of your body. When you take care of yourself, you can live more cherished years with an exhilarating feeling of being alive. Running has changed many people's lives for the better, and it is more than just the physical and mental benefits.

In the long run, getting outside for a run can help you take on the challenges of life and inspire others along the way. Whether you just want to go for a light jog, or are ready to take on a marathon, running has lasting effects that will lead you to a life well lived. Take on the challenge of running and empower yourself to better living and a healthier life.

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Bethany Widdicombe

Bethany Widdicombe

Bethany Widdicombe is a runner at heart, a researcher by nature, and a writer by passion. Having traveled across the world, she continues to be an advocate for awareness and knowledge that empowers people to a better life. You can now find her running out on the trail, or nestled away writing her next article.

Portland, OR