But when people ask me why I run, that’s usually pretty far down the list. I also don’t start by talking about how great it is for my heart or my legs, though both would be profoundly true and excellent benefits.
There’s more to running than improving your cardio. Think that running is only good for prolonged steady state cardio? This article is here to debunk that myth completely! Taking a run will obviously help you improve your endurance stamina, however, did you know there are several hidden benefits that will help you improve in your other workouts? Keep reading.
The biggest running benefits include: increased bone density, disease prevention, mental toughness, increased heart health, improved posture and improved mood.
Running can increase bone density
Have you ever experience shin splints from long walks while traveling? How about breaking a small bone from wearing heels? Running not only strengthens our muscles; it also helps build stronger bones! Doctors commonly recommend light running for patients with osteoporosis. This is a major benefit if you love high impact workouts or outdoor activities! Amp up your running before you hit the slopes or your next Spartan Run.
Running can boost your immune system
This is a benefit that gives your future self a major gift. Did you know that regular running can help lower your risk of breast cancer? It’s also been proven to help reduce the risk of stroke, high blood pressure or a heart attack. Getting a balance of tempo runs and sprints helps strengthen your heart, which will help extend your life in addition to just crushing personal goals and calories burned.
Running increases mental toughness
As someone who’s suffered from anxiety and mild depression in the past, I’m among the first to tell you running makes a MAJOR difference. Don’t just take it from me though, take it from science: our bodies will secrete hormones that naturally improve your mood. Additionally, running helps build perseverance, which will help train you to stay focused even when workouts get tough. If it’s your first time going for a running, start with small goals, and work up to personal bests!
Running improves balance and posture
Runs on a treadmill teach your body how it should feel during a run. As a trainer who has taught treadmill classes, teaching proper running technique and form is key to seeing students improve and stay free of injuries. Your instructor will teach you how to activate your core muscles, and use it to build better posture during runs. You’ll notice improved balance in your other strength-focused workouts and HIIT training!
Running is an opportunity to be present
Do you ever feel like you just need a moment to think? This is my favorite part about taking a long run, I can disconnect from the Internet, the phone and all of my to do lists. I can spend some time thinking through what really matters and I come home feeling more centered.
Running increases creativity
If I had a dollar for every runner who has told me they’ve come up with game-changing ideas while running, well I’d invest in them and be a millionaire. In fact, when I return home I often find myself dripping sweat all over my keyboard as I try to capture ideas before they dissolve into the business of the day.
Running gives you a community
New runners, long time runners, speedsters and self-proclaimed turtles are all embraced in running circles. We don’t care what your goals are as long as you show up, runners support each other. This is evident in the charities that are supported through races each weekend, but often less recognized in the daily high fives that come from group runs and even virtual friends.
Running makes you strong
There are moments in life that are hard, uncomfortable and downright miserable. Running reminds you that you can face them all by just taking one step at a time and focusing only on the current moment. I can’t run the next mile until I’ve finished this one and I can’t get to the finish line without embracing a little discomfort.