10 Reasons Why Running is Good for You

Running can be a somewhat divisive sport, with people either vehemently loving or hating it. 

Non-runners are mystified at the sight of a runner choosing to go jogging early in the morning with nothing but a headlamp to light up their way in the pitch blackness, meanwhile, the runner has no idea why someone wouldn’t want to kick off their day by clocking in some miles on the pavements and roads.

Many individuals have a basic understanding that running is beneficial for them. But is running well for you? Research has shown many physical and mental health advantages of participating in aerobic activity, with running being a noteworthy example.

Although there can be advantages to running, there are also certain drawbacks associated with it that people who don’t practice running typically like to bring up.

So, where does the verdict land? Is running well for you? What are the benefits and downsides of running? Keep reading for our attempt to answer, “Is running goodwill for you?” and weigh the evidence for yourself.

We will look at: 

  • Is Running Good For You?
  • Difference Between Jogging And Running
  • 10 Reasons Running Is Good For You
  • 5 Reasons Running Is Bad For You
  • Is Running Good for You?

If you’re wondering if you want to take up running, you might find yourself thinking about your runner friends who’ve complained of various injuries from time to time or considering the claims you might have heard such as “running ruins your knees” or “running can cause your uterus to drop”. 

In these cases, even though you’ve also likely encountered plenty of research findings and medical professionals that tout the benefits of running, you still might be questioning, “Is running well for you?”

Though there are some potential risks associated with running for some people, most experts would agree that overall, yes, running is good for you.

The Difference Between Jogging and Running

At a slow trot or leisurely pace, jogging is defined as moving quicker than a walk or springing strides forward such that both feet leave the ground for a moment in between each step. 

Even though both jogging and running are aerobic exercises that use oxygen as fuel, jogging is slower by definition, hence running is faster. Jogging at a slower speed is supposed to be less intense, demanding less effort and so conserving energy. As with lengthier endurance runs, jogging allows one to concentrate on stamina. 

Jogging seems to have a bouncing motion owing to shorter steps, lower knee elevation, and less arm swing as compared to running, which often has longer strides, higher knee elevation, and naturally pumping arms, resulting in a more linear action. Finally, from a psychological standpoint, joggers may approach a run in general with a more relaxed attitude.

Joggers may not be pushing boundaries or competing in races when out for a run, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cross over into running or sprinting. Running should include jogging as part of a runner’s training regimen. Some long-time joggers, on the other hand, may be searching for a release or a healthy hobby to add to their lives.

Running is defined as the act of racing, moving, or passing quickly. Running is more energy-intensive than jogging, demanding more energy and resulting in greater cardiovascular and physical fitness. Running, as previously said, necessitates longer strides and faster arm motions, resulting in a higher heart rate and increased oxygen consumption, resulting in an overall effort.

Running, albeit not as much as sprinting, focuses on training at faster speeds. Runners will often set time objectives while attempting to beat their personal bests. From a physiological aspect, both jogging and running are aerobic sports in which oxygen is used as a fuel source, allowing you to go for greater distances.

Interesting Facts About Jogging/Running

The following are some of the most bizarre and entertaining facts regarding jogging and running: –

  • While it may sound ridiculous and dangerous to today’s runners, alcohol was once regarded to be a performance enhancer in Victorian times. This ritual is said to have originated in Ancient Greece and China. We now know that alcohol is a diuretic and can cause dehydration, which is exactly what you don’t want while running an endurance event, particularly in hot conditions.
  • 1 hour 40 minutes is the world record for running a half marathon backwards. In 2009, Achim Aretz of Germany achieved the World Record for the quickest half-marathon ran backwards in Essen, Germany.
  • Oprah Winfrey is most known for being a generous philanthropist and TV program presenter, but she ran the Washington D.C. Marine Corps marathon in 4 hours and 29 minutes in 1994. Nearly the course of her training, she lost over 70 pounds and flattened down to a 150-pound athletic frame (68kg). Other noteworthy celebrities who have run marathons include former US President George W Bush (3:44:52) and actor Bryan Cranston (3:20:45).
  • The winner of the 1904 Olympic marathon drove for the majority of the distance. The marathon event became down in history as a catastrophic disaster, with many competitors forced to withdraw due to searing heat and dirty tracks. Frederick Lorz was one of the competitors who was affected by the conditions. After 14.5 kilometres (9 miles), he pulled over and had his coach drive him the rest of the way in a car. Lorz walked back into the stadium on foot after the automobile broke down. The audience erupted in applause when he entered the stadium as the first finisher, and he was declared the winner. He went along with it until it was discovered that the genuine winner was someone else. 

10 Reasons Why Running is Good for You 

1. Running Increases Longevity

We all want to live long and full lives, and running may be one means of helping achieve this goal. Research has found that runners have about a 25-30% lower risk of all-cause mortality, and consistent running has been found to increase life expectancy by about three years.

2. Running Improves Cardiovascular Health

If you’ve ever run to catch a subway, child, or your dog, and felt breathless immediately afterwards, it probably comes as no surprise that running works your cardiovascular system. Your heart rate increases as you run to pump more blood (and thus oxygen and nutrients) to your working muscles. 

Over time, with consistent running, your heart and lungs adapt. Your heart becomes stronger, enabling it to pump a greater volume of blood per beat, and your lungs become more powerful and capable of taking in more air per breath. 

As your cardiovascular efficiency improves, you can run faster with less effort. Perhaps more importantly, your heart, lungs, and blood vessels become stronger, healthier, and more resistant to cardiovascular disease.

3. Running Increases Muscular Strength

Running is a total-body workout that strengthens your legs, core, and upper body.

As long as you are properly fuelling your body with enough calories and protein to support your training, running can help build muscle and increase strength.  When coupled with fat loss, running can increase your muscle definition and physique.

4. Running Can Reduce the Risk of Arthritis 

One of the most common concerns about long-term running is that it can damage your joints and increase the risk of arthritis. However, the research has been inconclusive, and some studies suggest that habitual running may actually decrease the risk of arthritis and promote the health of your joints. 

For example, some studies have found that marathoners and long-distance runners may have healthier knees than sedentary age-matched peers, while others have found that running can improve the health of the spine.

5. Running Increases Bone Density

Strong bones are more resilient and less likely to fracture, which is especially important as you age and bone mineral density decreases. 

Numerous studies have demonstrated that the impact stresses from high-impact activities like running stimulate the bones to lay down more minerals within the bony matrix to strengthen the structure. 

The bones also strengthen and adapt to running by increasing the production of bone-building hormones in the body. This stimulates the body to make more bone cells and inhibits the activity of cells that break down bone cells.

6. Running Can Lower Your Blood Pressure

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is an epidemic. For example, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half (47%) of all adults in the United States have hypertension or are taking medication to control blood pressure. 

The good news is that running can lower your blood pressure. In fact, some studies have found that running can be just as effective—if not more so—than common anti-hypertensive medications. 

7. Running Reduces Stress

Many of us deal with chronic or acute stress and anxiety, whether due to work, finances, illness, relationships, change, world or national news, safety, or any number of other challenges.

Getting outside and pounding the pavement or trail is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. Running can lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, helping you feel more relaxed.

8. Running Burns Calories

Running is a metabolically-demanding exercise and burns a lot of calories. In fact, running is one of the most efficient types of exercise when it comes to the number of calories burned per minute, so if fat loss or weight loss is your goal, running can contribute to creating the calorie deficit you need to burn fat.

Of course, overall weight loss is highly dependent on your diet and caloric intake, but running can be a path towards achieving an ideal body weight.

9. Running Improves Your Mood

We might all chase what can feel like an elusive “runner’s high”, but this feel-good feeling after finishing a long run or hard workout isn’t all in your head. Running, and endurance exercises can activate the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which can reduce pain and elevate your mood. If you suffer from depression, running can alleviate symptoms and elevate your mood.

10. Running Boosts Confidence

One of the best things about running is that it builds self-efficacy and confidence. You can set and achieve goals, and conquer things you never thought possible.

Finishing a good run can leave you feeling proud, capable, powerful, and even elated, ready to conquer anything that comes your way with a good attitude.

5 Reasons Running is Bad for You 

In much the same way that many people are asking the question, “Is running well for you?”, plenty of people ask, “Is running bad for you?”

The reasons why running is good for you typically outweigh the reasons running can be bad for you both in terms of several and significance, but any fair argument should present both sides.

It’s worth noting that moderation can be key: some of the reasons running are good for you can become reasons running is bad for you if you run too much or don’t give your body adequate rest.

1. Running Can Cause Musculoskeletal Injuries

Running is a high-impact activity and places a lot of stress and strain on muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones. 

Overuse injuries, such as stress fractures and tendinitis, are particularly common, especially amongst high mileage runners, runners who fail to consume an adequate number of calories to support their training, and runners who increase their training volume or intensity too quickly.

2. Running Can Suppress Your Immune System

Although a moderate amount of running can boost your immune system, excessive exercise or high-volume training can depress your immune system and increase your risk of illnesses.

3. Running Can Increase Your Risk of Urinary Incontinence

There is some evidence to suggest that high-impact exercise such as running can increase the risk of urinary incontinence, particularly among women.

Running may weaken your pelvic floor muscles, making it more difficult to maintain control of the sphincters that ensure you retain urine without leakage.

4. Running May Reduce Your Sex Drive

Running may alter your hormonal profile when done at high intensities, especially on a chronic basis.

For example, running can lower testosterone in men, which can reduce libido and sexual performance, and excessive running can also increase cortisol, which can lead to weight gain and trouble sleeping.

5. Running May Increase the Risk Of Osteoarthritis 

The research seems too equivocal to make a definitive call either way here, but there is some evidence to suggest that long-distance running may increase the risk of osteoarthritis, particularly in the knees and hips.

When we look at the reasons running is good for you and weigh the pros of running against the reasons running can potentially be bad for you, we think the good far outweighs the possible cons, especially considering these risks can be mostly mitigated with a sensible approach to training. 


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