June 4 is National Running Day, a day to celebrate the runner in all of us. It is a day to reaffirm your commitment to running or make a pledge to include running in your life for longevity and lifelong health!
Everyone knows that running is a great way to get into shape, but did you know that it can benefit almost every part of your body, as well as lift your mood? Research shows that running can raise your levels of good cholesterol while also helping you increase lung function and cardiac output. In addition, running can also boost your immune system and lower the risk of developing blood clots and stroke, and it is proven to help reduce the risk of having a heart attack. By helping the arteries retain their elasticity and strengthening the heart, your chances of suffering a heart attack can be significantly reduced.
Running is one of the best forms of exercise to lose weight. It is a leading way to burn off extra calories and that it is the second most effective exercise in terms of calories burned per minute, behind cross country skiing. Gaining more muscle from running helps you lose weight from fat. The motion of the extra weight from fat moving up and down, helps to break it down into more manageable portions for the body to get rid of. Running also helps tighten the skin as the weight comes off. Running also increases bone mass, and even helps stem age-related bone loss. It builds strength in your lower body, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that can greatly reduce the daily effects of fatigue and aging.
Not all of the benefits of running are physical. Running can boost your confidence and self-esteem. By setting and achieving goals, running gives you a greater sense of empowerment that will leave you feeling much happier. Stress can cause a number of health and mood problems plus diminish appetite and sleep quality. When you run, you force your body to exert excess energy and hormones. Running also helps to reduce your chances of developing tension headaches. When you are depressed, the last thing you likely want to do is to get up and go for a run. Yet you will find that after only a few minutes of running, your brain will start to secrete euphoria-associated hormones that naturally improve your mood.
Running benefits the body, mind, and spirit, and you will find that even short runs can leave you feeling more energized, more focused, and better able to enjoy your life. Harriette Thompson, a 91 year old recently recovering from cancer just broke a Marathon Record and also became the second-oldest woman to complete a marathon in U.S. Make a pledge to include running in your life and get out there and sign up for your next race!