We all know running is a great cardio workout and improves your general fitness, but did you know science has proven it can add years to your life? There are many less commonly known health benefits of running, here are just a few:
According to a 2014 study published in the journal of the American College of Cardiology, running on a regular basis can add years to your life. In fact, those who run regularly have a life expectancy three years longer than their sedentary counterparts and four years longer than smokers.
In the same study, people who run regularly were shown to have a 30 per cent lower risk of death from disease-related causes and a whopping 45 per cent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Running on a regular basis has also proven time and time again to aid in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure – a common concern for 1 in 3 people – as well as reduce the risk of some cancers and diabetes.
If you’ve ever felt that post-workout euphoria you will know just how much of an impact exercise can have on your mood. And when you’re in a good mood, you’re more likely to want to leap out of bed of a morning, take the stairs or run for a bus and keep running! There’s no doubt happiness and energy go hand in hand. In fact, science might just prove the existence of the infamous ‘runner’s high’ with links between moderate to intense exercise and morphine-like brain chemicals called endocannabinoids, suggesting it’s more than a euphoric endorphin rush.
There’s nothing quite like going for a run to clear your head after a long and stressful day. Not only can running boost your mood, it eradicates stress and tension, freeing up your mind to make more appropriate decisions during the day and decrease stimulus at night for a calming, uninterrupted sleep. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health revealed that just 30 minutes of running each week boosted concentration at work and improved quality of sleep at night. The same study showed that those who run regularly in the morning also had significantly decreased levels of sleepiness during the day and those who ran later in the evening had less difficulty getting a good night’s rest.
Research released from Cambridge University, suggests that men who regularly run long distances should win in the evolutionary battle to reproduce. A study of 542 runners at the Robin Hood Marathon in Nottingham found that those who finished the fastest were more likely to show high testosterone levels, have a stronger sex drive and a higher sperm count, indicating that fast endurance runners are likely to be on top of more than just their running game!