Consistently engaging in physical exercise is beneficial for your health. We know it, you know it, and almost everyone knows it. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults be active nearly every day of the week and accrue at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Running is one type of physical activity that can bring the health benefits associated with exercise. Not convinced? Here are seven reasons to take up running as a hobby.
Improved Heart Rate
It is often the case that frequent runners experience a lower resting heart rate and a stronger, more resilient heart. This happens because the body adapts to physical activities boosting cardiac output and blood pressure, such as running. Over time, this adaptation leads to long-term benefits, such as a more robust cardiovascular system.
According to the University of Miami Health System, regular running contributes to lowering resting heart rate and strengthens the heart. A study described by the same source reported that runners had a 30% lower risk of death and a 45% lower risk of heart-related death compared to non-runners. These effects were seen regardless of the pace or frequency of running.
Stronger Musculoskeletal System and Reduced Risk of Bone Problems
A common misconception is that running is detrimental to joints. In fact, science shows that running can enhance bone density. The impact of feet hitting the ground sends signals for bone creation, leading to denser and stronger bones. This process has a positive effect on long-term skeletal health, which means you are less likely to experience some of the bone problems associated with age.
It is no secret that working out boosts the development of your muscles. By running, you can increase the size and strength of your leg and hip muscles, increasing their endurance and, consequently, your overall ability to engage in demanding physical tasks.
For example, when you do inclines or sprint intervals, your calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings are engaged more intensively, which promotes increased muscle tone and strength. Your core muscles maintaining good posture and balance are also worked during a run.
Easier Weight Management
As a general rule, the older you are, the more difficult it is to maintain a healthy weight. This happens because your body’s ability to burn calories tends to decline while you are also less likely to have enough free time to engage in exercises.
If you make sure to allocate just enough time for running consistently, your chances of maintaining a healthy weight can increase significantly. Running is an efficient way of burning calories, which means it lowers the risk of accumulating more fat than necessary.
For example, according to Captain Calculator, running at a speed of five miles per hour, a person burns around 11.86 calories per minute, which equates to around 712 calories burned per hour. When sitting, on the other hand, the average Joe burns between 90-150 calories per hour.
In other words, running results in a significantly higher calorie burn than sitting and can significantly help you reduce weight or maintain it. Running can be combined with other physical activities that increase the rate at which the body burns calories, such as muscle training.
Fewer Sedentary Risks
It is no news that a sedentary lifestyle is not healthy. Our bodies have evolved in a much harsher environment where sitting on a desk chair was never an option. Although life expectancy at birth has increased significantly in the last century, it could be even higher if sedentarism had not become the new norm for many.
Prolonged sitting correlates with several health problems, including obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. By running regularly, you can reduce some of the risks associated with sedentarism.
Better Mental Health
Physical exercises such as running can have a direct impact on your mental health. For instance, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, running makes your body release endocannabinoids, which can pass through the blood-brain barrier, reducing anxiety and promoting feelings of calm.
It might even be the case that running makes you smarter. Running appears to promote the growth of new blood vessels and even new brain cells, a process referred to as neurogenesis. With more brain cells at work, you may even experience improved cognitive function and a lower risk of significant cognitive decline in old age. Furthermore, running has been associated with an increase in brain volume in areas associated with memory and learning.
Regular exercise can improve depression, ADHD, and anxiety. This happens because exercise produces several changes in the brain, including reduced inflammation, neurogenesis, and new activity patterns that promote positive feelings.
Running can also be seen as a social activity. You can run with friends or a group you already know or you can join a local running club where you will meet other people who enjoy running. In some cases, you will even be able to participate in running competitions, which will help you put your running skills to the test while also helping you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Bottom Line: Run for Your Health
With so much evidence in favor of running as a health activity, the only reasonable conclusion is that running as a hobby can improve your health and reduce the risks of experiencing medical conditions associated with sedentarism.
Alternatively, you can join a fitness class or find a personal coach who can teach you how to maintain an active lifestyle within the limits of your free time. On Leadar, for example, you can find information about business contacts by name, profession, and other useful data.
Note that running needs to be approached carefully, especially when you are running over 6 hours per week. If you have a history of heart issues, consult with an expert before engaging in physical exercises.
Whether you choose to take up running as a hobby or seek the assistance of a professional, do your best to find enough time to engage in physical exercises; after all, by doing so you are actually finding time for the future of your health.