The Many Health Benefits of Running

by Karen Brooks on November 26, 2010

RunningOf all the activities people take on in the quest of good health, weight loss or longevity, running might just be the best. While there are as many reasons to run as there are runners, some of the more well-known benefits of running are increased cardiovascular health, increased bone density, and a general improvement in overall emotional well-being.

Regular running keeps the cardiovascular system fluid and elastic. Getting the heart pumping at 60-80% of maximum heart rate, four to seven times per day, will strengthen the heart muscle, expand the lungs, lower blood pressure, and stretch the blood vessels.

Running is also a bone-building activity. Because of its high-impact nature, running places stress on the bones with every step. Doing this on a regular basis stimulates the body to add mass to the bones as a natural sort of preventative medicine – the body senses that increased support may be necessary and answers the demand. Over time, this slows down the aging process of the bones and muscles and prevents the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis.

Among the most frequently cited reasons to run among die-hard runners is the ‘runner’s high,’ or euphoria experienced when the pituitary gland and hypothalamus release endorphins into the blood stream after a bout of exercise. Endorphins are part of a class of opioid polypeptide compounds that resemble the feeling experienced by opiate users. Unlike opiate use, however, the good feelings associated with endorphins do not diminish over time, in fact seasoned runners are more likely to experience a runner’s high than new runners or sedentary individuals. Over time, a regular dose of endorphins will elevate overall mood and even ward off some forms of clinical depression.

While the benefits of running are many, there are drawbacks as well. This is why it is important to consult a health professional before undertaking any new exercise program. However, with caution and common sense, the benefits of running are both accessible and attainable.

Rodney has just graduated university and writes articles online and in newspapers for a living. You can view his latest website on how to calculate interest and also learn related information that he has written recently on how to cite a website.

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