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(Formerly known as the #hpm chat)

Chat 1: What Are the Benefits of Running Actually Backed by Science?

People appear to either fervently love or despise running, making it seem like a pretty polarizing sport.

Non-runners driving by may scratch their heads in total confusion at the sight of runners walking down the slushy road on a frigid winter morning, recalling perhaps the days when they had to run the mile to pass PE or received laps as punishment at sporting events.

But the sport of running doesn’t have a huge fan base of millions of committed runners for nothing – once you start running and get beyond the first pain, it offers some incredible advantages that enhance your physical and mental health and well-being.

If you’ve ever wondered what all the fuss is about, or if it’s been a while since you routinely included running in your fitness regimen, keep reading to find out the advantages of running and how to start.

You never know, you may be one of those early-morning runners getting in your kilometers before work in a few weeks with only the headlamp’s illumination illuminating your resolute smile.

Running has a long number of advantages, ranging from increased cardiovascular fitness to stress reduction. Some of the main advantages of running are as follows:

Enhancing Cardiovascular Health Through Running

Running works your cardiovascular system, which should come as no surprise to anybody who has ever rushed to catch the train, a child, or their dog and quickly felt out of breath.

As you run, your heart rate rises in order to provide your working muscles with more blood (and, consequently, oxygen and nutrients). Running regularly over time causes your heart and lungs to adjust.

Your lungs get stronger and can breathe in more air every breath, and your heart gets stronger so it can pump more blood with each beat. You may run farther and faster as your cardiovascular fitness increases.

You Can Connect to Nature Through Running

Although low-impact treadmills are undoubtedly useful training equipment, going for a run outside provides you the chance to disconnect from technology and displays and re-connect with the natural world.

Nowadays, we spend a lot of our time indoors, yet study suggests that exercising outdoors has considerable mental health advantages over exercising indoors, regardless of any other considerations.

Running outside is a certain way to get some vitamin D and fresh air, whether you choose a quiet forest route or a nearby park.

Around the nation (and the world), there are countless running clubs and groups that allow novice and experienced runners to connect and log miles together. It’s possible to make a whole new group of friends and establish lifelong bonds.

Exercise Increases Muscular Strength

Most of us have, at some point, followed a runner and admired their calf muscles and definition.

Running may aid in gaining muscle and boosting strength as long as you are properly nourishing your body with adequate calories and protein to support your workout. Running improves your legs, core, and upper body as a total-body workout.

Raise Bone Density

Numerous studies have shown that high-impact exercises like running put stress on bones, which causes them to adjust by laying down additional minerals in the bony matrix to reinforce the structure.

Running also boosts the body’s production of hormones that promote the formation of new bone cells while decreasing the activity of cells that break down bone tissue. Bones with greater density are more durable and less prone to break.

Running Improves Health Indicators

According to studies, regular running can improve blood sugar regulation, cut triglycerides and cholesterol, reduce waist circumference, and drop body fat percentage.

It can also lower blood pressure and resting heart rate. You may lower your risk of illness and feel healthier overall by improving these health markers.

Decrease Stress

Running on the ground or a trail outside is a terrific method to release stress and anxiety. Cortisol, a stress hormone, may be reduced by running, which might make you feel more at ease.

Exercise Increases Confidence

Setting goals and accomplishing things you didn’t believe were possible are key components of running. Running can therefore aid in the development of a sense of self-efficacy and increase your confidence.

Exercise Burns Calories

Running burns a lot of calories and is a metabolically taxing workout. Running can help you achieve your goal of losing weight or burning fat by helping you create the calorie deficit necessary to burn fat as it is one of the exercises that burns the most calories per minute.

Running Is Simple

Back view of a guy jogging on a route covered with autumn leaves while wearing athletic shoes.

You you really need a nice pair of running shoes to begin started, and that’s about it. Nevertheless, having the appropriate clothing will keep you cozy throughout the seasons.

For winter jogging, for instance, you’ll need warmer layers, while for autumn running, you’ll need windproof clothing.

Your Mood is Improved by Running

The “runner’s high” is actually a burst of mood-enhancing endorphins brought on by a long-distance endurance run, not some factionalized unicorn or illusive wonder.

A successful run may leave you feeling confident, strong, in control, and even joyful, ready to take on everything that comes your way with a positive outlook. Running can reduce depressive symptoms and improve your mood if you have the condition.

Starting Your Running Journey

Running is, in many respects, as easy as it sounds, and we were built with the movement patterns required for it.

However, getting started with running doesn’t just include tying on your running shoes and heading outside—at least, not entirely. Running is a high-impact exercise, so you should start out cautiously and gradually increase your volume—miles and speed—over time.

Consider the following tips for a safe introduction to running if you are not already a runner or are just getting started.