There are two camps here: those who are addicted to the runner’s high and those who only run when being chased. Whichever side you’re on, there’s a reason it’s such a popular way to exercise! You need ZERO equipment, you can do it anywhere, and it’s easy to get started!
There are a million reasons why people run, but everyone likes to go after that elusive “runner’s high," but it’s a real thing that has been scientifically-proven over and over again. Exercise makes you happy—it releases a tidal wave of happy endorphins like dopamine that give you this euphoric, I-can-do-anything feeling. It isn’t just running that can make you feel good: even just 30-minutes of walking on a treadmill can give you the boost that you’re looking for, but it won’t give you the famous runner’s high (1).
Even better? Running helps enhance your brain! By engaging in running, you’ll be getting more than just muscle gains; it gives the neuron reserves what it needs to grow, aka brain power. Additionally, running—and any other exercise that gets your heartrate up—has been proven to increase the size of your hippocampus which controls your memory retention (1). Now you don’t have to wrack your brain to remember what you did over the weekend when your coworker asks—win!
Finally, we all know that running boosts your aerobic health. Running regularly can greatly reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and can lower your blood pressure back into the normal range (1). With heart disease being the number one killer in America, this is great news.
I know what you’re thinking: What about my knees? Well, that age-old myth is just that—a myth. Running doesn’t weaken your knees, just the opposite! Running actually increases bone mass and can slow bone loss due to aging (1).
Next time you head to the gym, maybe try dusting off those sneakers and going for a jog! Only go as far as you’re comfortable with and switch between running and walking so you can reap all of these benefits!
Information sourced from Shape.com.