We have all heard numerous times that exercise is the best medicine for a lot of health issues, even your mental health. But running, in particular, is a wonderful exercise that helps to prevent cardiovascular disease, stroke, mental decline, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, and a long list of other conditions. But these are just words, let’s go into further research about how exactly running can help.

Keep in mind that as much as running can help you, it can also damage your health if done improperly, as this article here points out the dangers of wearing uncomfortable shoes.

Running can improve your cardiovascular system

Runners have a lower resting pulse and very high consumption of oxygen than sedentary people, and running is an aerobic exercise that uses fatty acids and carbohydrates from the diet as primary sources of energy during the activity.

Research shows that the runner’s heart pumps a larger amount of blood and have more defined, thicker left ventricle than people who do not run. It promotes good cardiovascular health and is linked to lower rates of coronary death.

It can help you lose and maintain weight

Running burns a lot of calories to give you fuel. A person who weighs around 200 pounds can burn up to 900 calories per hour. But why such a significant number? Well, a runner requires a lot of oxygen while running, and this research has found a direct link with oxygen consumption and fat cells. When the body is in a state of oxygen deprivation, the fat cells become insulin resistance, which can lead to enlargement of fat storage that manifests as weight gain.

Running also increases the ‘after burn’ which is the number of calories you burn after a workout. But, of course, weight loss is a product of numbers – meaning that you will only lose weight if you burn more calories than you take in. The best results are achieved if you optimize your diet while you are running.

Running reduces the chances of cancer

Scientific research has shown that exercise has a grave impact on the risk of getting cancer. Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce the chances of getting certain types of cancer. Different activities lower the hormonal level of insulin, estrogen, and some other growth factors that increase the chances of cancer. Running and walking increase the oxygen flow in the whole but, thus reducing the risks for disease overall. For the rigorous runners and swimmers, that chance may be reduced up to 25 percent.

It relieves stress

Running is an excellent medicine for mental problems; it especially reduces the level of stress – and stress is directly linked to many health problems, such as obesity, depression, cancer, and so on. While running, your body releases mood-boosting hormones, such as endorphins, and the increased heart rate may revert the damage to the brain caused by a stressful and traumatic experience.

Exercise, in general, helps to keep your brain healthy. One study shows that regular aerobic exercise, such as running, helps to beat age-related mental dysfunction, especially in the areas of working-memory and problem-solving.

It also helps to promote the growth of new nerve cells, which is linked to increased learning abilities.

Running improves your sleep quality and aids in relaxation

According to research, running can increase your sleep quality. Scientists found that people with sleep problems, such as insomnia, were able to improve the quality of their sleep after starting a running program. A lot of patience also said that they sleep better and feel more energetic the day after they had any longer physical activity.

But how much running you actually need?

Maybe you now feel motivated to start running, but you are wondering how much do you need to run to feel the benefits of this particular exercise? You do not need to become an ultrarunner to keep your body and mind healthy. Running for about 50 minutes per week, or 10 miles per week, is enough to keep the heart risks, diabetes, and depression away.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Science-Backed Ways Running Improves your Health," in Medicalopedia, December 16, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8076/science-backed-ways-running-improves-your-health/].