Runners will tell you they run because they’re addicted or simply because they love it. Not the best arguments for people who don’t share the same running passion – but there are plenty of other reasons you should get on track with a running plan. Here are our favorite five reasons you should be running.
1. You’ll be able to fit into that bikini
Why this is important: Running is one of the best calorie-burning exercises out there. In an hour, the average 140-pound woman will burn over 550 calories. And that’s on top
of the full-body workout you get – even at a moderate pace, your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, back, abdominals and arms will feel the burn.
Just remember to…Drink lots of water before and after your run. Running is a high-intensity workout and you’re guaranteed to sweat. Staying hydrated will keep your
muscles limber and will help rinse away lactic acid build-up.
2. You’ll boost your cardiovascular system
Why this is important: Your cardiovascular system needs a daily workout. By strengthening it, you up your body’s ability to combat heart disease, chronic stress and other
health conditions. And every day tasks like climbing stairs or lifting a heavy box will be easier.
Just remember to…Start your running plan off slowly. Though you want to reap the health and fitness benefits of running, pushing yourself too fast, too soon, could do you
more harm than good. So start at a slow pace and work your way up from there. You’ll avoid injury, train more effectively, and reduce the risk of running burn out.
3. You’ll stop aging in its tracks
Why this is important: Running is a high-impact sport. Not only are you working your muscles, you’re also strengthening your bones and bettering your brain. And that’ll
help you stay young and stave off diseases like osteoporosis, arthritis and Alzheimer’s.
Just remember to…Stretch. Running can be hard on your body, that’s especially true if you don’t stretch before and after your workout. Make stretching a habit,
and you’ll keep your muscles limber, you’ll prevent injury (which could permanently affect your body and desire to run) and you’ll stay flexible (meaning you’ll be able to
comfortably move around no matter what your age).
4. You’ll get outdoors
Why this is important: You may be busy and think all you want to do when you get free time is veg on the couch. But research shows getting outside at least once a day may just
boost your sense of wellbeing (something couchtime with the TV won’t do). Because running outdoors can be done in any kind of weather, it’s a great way to get up and get outside (just
dress appropriately to keep it enjoyable).
Just remember to…Listen to your body on a run. If you’ve had a particularly long day or are exhausted, don’t force yourself to keep running. All it takes is 15
minutes of outdoor activity to feel the positive effects. You can also run for a while then slow it down to a brisk walk, another effective way to improve your mental and physical health.
5. You’ll boost your mood
Why this is important: When you workout, your pituitary gland (a pea-sized but powerful gland at the base of the brain) releases endorphins. If you’ve ever heard of a runner
referring to a “runner’s high,” this may be why. Endorphins boost your mood (no matter how grumpy you are) and increase your sense of power and control. And, bonus, that
runner’s high will last several hours after your run is done.
Just remember to…Pace yourself. Though a runner’s high feels great, you still need to listen to your body to prevent injury. If you start feeling like it’s time
to stop, then stop (don’t practice the No Pain, No Gain philosophy!). You can always go on another run tomorrow. And be sure to incorporate other types of workouts into your running program
– crosstraining will help you get even more fit and it will keep you feeling fresh when you do hit the pavement or trails.
Keep reading for more running tips
Best surfaces for running
Ease into running with these running tips