Ok so, I was running tonight and I got to thinking about why I was doing Couch to 5k. To get fitter, obviously, but also for the health benefits. I think we all know some general health benefits to running- weight management, lower risk of diabetes etc. but I wanted to know if there were things that I was improving in my body by running that I didn't know about. And there are! There are some really cool perks to running that I thought I'd share.
1) It burns more calories than any other gym-based activity- the treadmill (used at a "hard" exertion level) burns an average of 705-865 calories in an hour. The stair-stepper (637-746), rower (606-739), cross-country ski machine (595-678) and stationary bike (498-604) were all lower in overall caloric burn. I guess that's why it hurts so much sometimes!
2) Runners also have a leg up against heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and running has been shown to lower blood pressure, raise good cholesterol, and boost immunity to colds and other viruses.
3) Running can even prevent vision loss! It has been found to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
4) Regular exercise reduces the risk of cancer-including the scariest kinds (lung, colon, breast). In a study by the National Cancer Institute, women of a normal weight who reported the highest levels of "vigorous activity" (running, tennis, aerobics) had about a 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer when compared with women who did no vigorous activity. Becoming a regular runner may help you cancer-proof your life.
5) It reduces stress- and not just in an 'I've had a tough day, I'll go for a run to work it out' kind of way. It's also used by mental health experts to treat clinical depression, anxiety disorders and drug and alcohol addiction.
So, the next time you feel your motivation levels running low, think about these.
I'm sure there are loads of other benefits too- if anybody can think of any they'd like to share, comment below!
Happy running : )
Source: Women's Health Magazine.