Here are 10 major health benefits from running that will improve your health and keep you feeling young.
It may sound strange, but there are big benefits from running for our lives. In an article yesterday in the Denver Post, John Meyer found that running has many health benefits and dispelled myths that running is hard on your body. As many are in Boulder this weekend for the Bolder Boulder 10K race, more people in Colorado and the nation are putting on running shoes and hitting the pavement and trails. And there are so many health benefits to running, that if you aren’t a runner now, you might want to think hard about starting. What kind of health benefits do runners get?
You don’t have to run marathons to get these benefits. Running 30 minutes a day five days a week will be sufficient to gain many benefits. The key is to get moving and get your heart rate up. This writer is co-leading a Couch to 5K running group with Nicole Evans this spring at Riverside Baptist Church in Denver called Riverside Runners. We took 22 people who had never run before and started them on a journey to a new lifestyle. We will all run in the Race for Prostate Cancer 5K at Stapleton on June 15 after the 9 week training. And here is what the participants will experience if they keep it up for a lifetime.
10 benefits from running that will improve your health
Here are ten huge health benefits from running that are hard to ignore. Studies have shown that runners have a lower incidence of the two big killers, breast and colon cancer. These alone would be a good reason to start running. With Americans becoming more sedentary, the obesity epidemic is “spreading.” But runners can buck this trend and will actually reduce their levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and have higher levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL). They also have stronger hearts and lower blood pressure.
Runners also have lower incidence of diabetes. Diabetes is growing in the U.S. and weight gain is a big reason. Running helps keep weight down and thus is a big factor in preventing the disease. “And if you’ve got diabetes, running improves your treatment, said Steve Krebs, a Wheat Ridge physician who has run 57 marathons. “And if you don’t have diabetes, but you’re at risk for it, it decreases the chance that you will develop it.”
Many myths surround running
Many myths surround running that are simply not true. In the Denver Post article, Meyers wrote that it once was believed that the human heart had only so many beats in it, and when your ticker hit that number, your time was up. But studies show runners live longer than nonrunners. The article went on to point to a famous heart study that dispels the rumor.
The famous Framingham (Mass.) Heart Study, followed more than 5,000 people for more than 40 years, and found those who exercised regularly and ran 30 minutes five times a week, for example, lived 3.5 to 3.7 years longer than non-runners. And just getting out and walking can have almost the same benefits. And the myth there are higher incidence of osteoarthritis in longtime runners is simply not true.
Too many benefits to ignore
Studies show the incidence of osteoarthritis in longtime runners is no greater than in nonrunners. Running actually promotes bone density and most likely improves joint health by lubricating cartilage. Krebs, said the evidence of the benefits of running is irrefutable. “The answer is, running doesn’t hurt my joints, and there’s tremendous data that regular running has many other health benefits.”
Jason Glowney, the director of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine agrees. “I think it’s probably one of the best activities you can do, when done appropriately,” Glowney said. “It’s one of the most natural things we can do too. Some of the shoes are pretty expensive now, but it is one of the cheapest activities we can do, compared to cycling and other things like that. By and large, a moderate amount of running would be one of the best ways to go about improving your health and improving your state of mind.”
There are some risks involved
Because running is generally an outdoor activity, runners in Colorado have to be especially careful because of the close proximity to the sun. Runners need to beware of skin cancers, and one kind (melanoma) is a horrible, deadly disease. A silent form is melanoma of the retina, because it lurks inside the eye and the victim has no clue it’s there until it’s too late. And Colorado runners also need to know the more time they spend outside at higher altitudes, the greater the risk of eye cataracts. Krebs recommends runners have a good pair of sunglasses with polarized lenses.
If you are a runner you can take comfort in the fact that you are doing the right thing for your health. If you are considering running, get the ok from your doctor and make sure it’s safe for you to start. Buy a good pair of running shoes, begin slow and progress to the point where you join the 25 million Americans who discovered the joy of running.
Source: Denver Post