Get in form: 10 reasons to go running
Getting into form, losing weight, stopping smoking or drinking, spending more time with family and friends, or learning something new, are without doubt some of the more usual New Year’s resolutions. And going running enables you to fulfil the majority! With just one single activity, going out running, you can take care of your physical and mental health and make friends at the same time.
In this article we explain the benefits of running regularly and give you some tips to start up the activity and establish your own goals.
For your health
Below we outline some of the virtues of running regularly. Remember that if you suffer from any serious illness you should consult and follow the advice of your doctor before starting.
1. Benefits for the cardiovascular system
Going running considerably decreases the risk of suffering coronary diseases. As regular aerobic exercise, it reduces the levels of LDL (called “bad cholesterol”), also decreases blood pressure, the risk of thrombosis and the swelling marks associated with arteriosclerosis.
2. It decreases the risk of diabetes and helps prevent the appearance of cancer
Aerobic exercises such as running improve the control of glycaemia, increase sensitivity to insulin and in this way prevent the appearance of type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
Additionally, and according to information certified by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)(*), the investigations show that the people who do physical activity regularly seem to have less risk of cancer of the colon or breast, among others.
Moreover, some medical professionals also point out that doing exercise during cancer treatment is not only safe but can also be beneficial to the patient’s health. If this is your case, we recommend you consult your doctor to fit your physical activities to your circumstances.
3. It strengthens the bones
Many experts warn that impact sports such as running can be prejudicial for the body if joints, muscles and tendons are overloaded. The use of insoles with absorbent and cushioning material reduces the impact that the body receives.
On the other hand, research undertaken (*) can confirm that, although generally, doing exercise can reduce the risk of breaking bones. It points out that you should train 2-3 times a week and this must include 15-60 minutes of aerobic exercises, such as running, and a series of stretches.
In the prevention of osteoporosis, high-impact exercises such as running are important in that they have the best potential for improving the BMD (bone mineral density), while low-medium impact exercises (step aerobics or intermittent jogging) are recommended for people not used to sport or who are older than 50.
Take notice: 1 in every 3 women and 1 in every 5 men older than 50 will suffer at least one osteoporotic fracture in their life.
Additionally, running outdoors and being exposed to sunlight helps in the synthesis of Vitamin D, another ally for preventing osteoporosis.
4. Benefits for the respiratory system
By running regularly, the body gradually adapts and gains resistance and lung capacity. Even people who have respiratory difficulties due to asthma improve their vital signs with running.
5. It improves cerebral activity
Running improves neuronal activity and the multiplication of neuronal connections. This means that our intellectual activity and capacity is thus broadened. Also, with the improvement in our cognitive activity, the risk of dementia and of suffering diseases such as Alzheimer’s is reduced.
For your wellbeing
As we have seen above, running allows us to enjoy life in better conditions of health. If this were not enough, running regularly also improves our quality of life in a way that…
6. Favours rest
Physical activity and the tiredness that it produces helps you get to sleep.
7. Fights stress and anxiety
Doing sport helps in the segregation of endorphins, the so-called “happiness hormones”, those responsible for the feeling of pleasure and calm.
8. Helps control weight
Running burns off calories from the day and decreases body fat (even that accumulated which causes cellulitis).
9. Increases self-esteem
As we gain stamina and speed, with changes at an aesthetic level, we also gain confidence in ourselves.
10. Favours socialisation
Despite the fact that it may be an individual sport, running moves many people and enables them to share training, experiences or races with other people who do it.
And to help you in your quest, 5 tips to start running (and achieve all the challenges you set yourself)
As we said, the New Year is an ideal moment to take stock and set yourself new challenges and goals in order to, to be precise, end the year that begins even happier and prouder.
Nevertheless, it is very common that the famous New Year’s resolutions remain just that, mere proposals that we repeat year after year because we rarely achieve them. Why do we lose heart so quickly, or not even try? The majority of good resolutions are desires, dreams, vague and ambiguous concepts. What we should set ourselves are what are known as SMART goals, for their initials:
1. S (specific): the goals must be specific, concrete. We have to change the “I am going start running” to “I am going running Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays after leaving work”.
2. M (measurable): the goals must be measurable, so that we can objectively evaluate if we are reaching them or not. “Am I running as I set out to do?” is very difficult to measure whereas if, on getting to Sunday, we ask ourselves, “Have I been running 3 times this week ?” the answer is clear and concise.
3. A (achievable): the goals must be something we really can achieve. If I cannot go running 3 times after work, I have to set alternatives: change the routines at home, go running in the morning…
4. R (realistic): the goals must be realistic. If we start running, we cannot think about running a marathon in 3 months’ time.
5. T (time targeted): the goals must have a deadline. Example: “I am going running and I will start on the 8th of January”.
Change the good intentions for concrete goals or challenges and take action! We are here to help you prevent injuries and get the very best out of you.
(*) Reference to the studies quoted:
– American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO): https://www.cancer.net/es/desplazarse-por-atención-del-cáncer/prevención-y-vida-saludable/actividad-física-y-riesgo-de-cáncer
– Non-pharmacological management of osteoporosis: a consensus of the Belgian Bone Club (2011): https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00198-011-1545-x