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How Running Improves Your Health

A Woman Runs Through a Wooded Park

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Running can be invigorating — the wind in your hair, the rhythmic thump as your feet hit the pavement, the feeling of accomplishment when you’ve reached your goal — it’s exciting and refreshing. But did you know that running can help improve your health in more ways than just getting a workout in?

Find inspiration and motivation for your next run while learning different ways running can benefit your health.

Running Reduces Your Risk of Heart Disease

You may feel your heart pumping and your heart rate going up as you run. But don’t worry, this can actually improve your heart health. Running for at least 10 minutes a day can significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, running can reduce your risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 45%.

Running helps improve blood pressure, HDL (good) cholesterol and blood sugar sensitivity. It also lowers your resting heart rate, an important indicator of your overall health and fitness. The lower your heart rate, the more efficient and healthy your heartbeat!

Running Improves Your Knee, Back and Joint Health

If you’re an avid runner, you may hear people say to “watch your joints” while you run, but a study of 675 marathon runners found lower arthritis and better joint health than people who don’t run regularly. In addition to better joint health, high-impact exercises (like running) spur bone growth and promotes healthy bone mineral density. As you get older, running is a great way to keep you moving and strong if you want to avoid fractures and stay mobile.

Running Reduces Your Risk of Cancer

Multiple studies have shown that regular exercise lowers the risk of certain cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute, running and other cardio-related exercises may decrease your risk of bladder, breast, colon, endometrial and gastric cancers. While other factors such as family history and health factors play a large role in your risk of cancer, putting on your running shoes and going for a jog can protect your long-term health and reduce your risk.

Running Improves Your Sleep

A good night’s rest is essential for your overall health. Researchers at John Hopkins Medical Center found that running can help you fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality. However, try to avoid running too late in the day as aerobic exercises, like running, trigger a release of endorphins that activate your brain and might keep you away. If you’re looking to improve your sleep quality, go out for a quick run in the morning or early afternoon and feel the stress melt away.

Tips for Running Safely and Healthily

With so many great health benefits, you may be thinking about hitting the trail for a quick jog right about now. Be sure to run safely to prevent injuries or overworking yourself. Here are some tips to keep your running safely:

  • Don’t run right after eating
  • Don’t turn up your music too loudly; make sure to stay alert and aware of what’s around you
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after your run
  • Take regular breaks and listen to your body
  • Tell someone where you plan to run and when you expect to be back
  • If you get injured, stop running and get medical care right away

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy your run and have peace of mind that you’ll stay safe while improving your health.

Keeping You Running

Whether you’re looking to improve your daily runs or injured yourself while on a jog, we’re here to keep you running. At AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab, we provide compassionate care to help you get back in your running shoes. For more information or to find a doctor, click here.

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