10 Reasons why you should start running today
Ever thought about starting to run? Most people, at one time or another, think about taking up running. Perhaps they even buy new running shoes and kit, and researching training programmes. But for many, that’s as far as it goes.
If that sounds familiar, it’s time to change. And what better time than today – International Running Day! We’ve put together a list of 10 reasons why you should dust off your running shoes and get out training.
1) You’ll Improve Your Physical Health
Running is good for your body in all sorts of ways. Start running today, and you should find that your muscles start feeling stronger very quickly. There are plenty of other physical benefits that aren’t always immediately obvious, but can make a real difference to how you feel and, quite possibly, how long you’ll live.
Running is great for your heart. Even if you run just for an hour a week, you’ll slash your risk of heart disease in half. You can also reduce your risk of cancer, particularly breast and bowel cancer. Women especially may benefit, with those engaging in regular physical activity such as running cutting their colon cancer risk by as much as 50%. Running also helps build stronger bones by increasing bone density, especially when combined with resistance training.
2) You’ll Improve Your Mental Health
Running has been shown to improve mental health in a number of ways. Ever heard of the runner’s high? This is a temporary uplift in mood that results from the endorphins that kick in after a run. It can last for days.
Those with a diagnosed mental health problem often find that running helps alleviate their symptoms. One study even found that running could be as effective as cognitive behavioural therapy in helping people with clinical depression. For those with anxiety disorders, running has been found to improve symptoms and promote relaxation, with studies showing it works better than medication for some people.
3) It’ll Help You Feel Less Stressed
Running is a known stress-reliever. If you’ve had a tough day at work, heading out for a run is a far better, more sustainable, healthier way to reduce your stress levels than a glass of wine. Running has a meditative quality: it forces you to focus on just one thing, deal with problems and clear your mind. The endorphins released by running also have a physical calming effect.
4) You’ll Lose Weight
Running is one of the best calorie burners out there. An hour-long run will burn at least 600 calories for most, but it could be much more, depending on weight, speed, and whether the run is on flat or hilly terrain. Heavier people will burn more and benefit most from the running calorie burn.
A 90 kg person will burn around 800 calories an hour on the flat if they run at a 12 minute mile pace. If they ran at 8 minute mile pace, that would go up to as much as 1200. That puts running on a part with HIIT training for calorie burn, with the added benefit that it’s possible to go on for much longer and burn much more. As long as you don’t overcompensate with extra food, you’ll almost certainly lose weight as a runner.
5) It’s A Great Way To Meet People
If you’d like to make new friends, running can be a fantastic way to do it. Joining a local running club helps keep you motivated, but it also means that you’ll have a ready-made group of people to hang out with, with whom you share an interest. If you get into long-distance or trail running, you’ll find that conversation soon starts to flow on a run. And once you’re done, many running groups head for a leisurely breakfast or lunch, giving you more opportunities to socialise.
6) You Can Listen To All Your Favorite Music
One of the joys of running is that it gives you the opportunity to listen to music, completely uninterrupted. If you’ve been put off by headphones that fall off and wires that get tangled, don’t be. The TREBLAB X2 earbuds come with multiple ear tips for a custom fit: they don’t fall out. They connect to your smartphone with Bluetooth, so there are no annoying wires to get tangled. And they’re sweatproof, so however hard you work, they won’t slip out or get damaged. They’re an essential part of any music-loving runner’s kit.
7) You’ll Feel A Sense Of Achievement
Whatever else is happening in your life, running gives you the chance to set and achieve goals on a regular basis, and that’s incredibly satisfying. When you first start out, your goal might be to get to the end of your couch to 5K programme. As you progress, maybe you’ll start entering races, increasing your distances, or improving your speeds. Perhaps you’ll run a marathon, or perhaps you’ll focus on getting a sub-20 minute 5K. Either way, running is a chance to set easily achievable, measurable goals that you can tick off weekly.
If you feel as if you’re stuck in a rut in other areas of your life, such as your career or family life, running gives you a way to feel a sense of purpose that might just help you achieve more in every aspect of your life, not just in running.
8) It’ll Help You Eat Better
If you’re running regularly, you’ll naturally start to take an interest in healthy eating. Food fuels your runs, so it makes sense to eat performance-boosting foods. Complex carbs such as brown rice and oats, healthy fats such as lean meat and Greek yogurt, and lots of fruit and vegetables are all great foods for runners.
9) You’ll Sleep Better
Running helps you sleep better. That’s partly because you’ll naturally be more physically tired after a run. It’s also because running helps regulate stress and release hormones, such as serotonin, that promote sleep. You’ll probably also find that you start to care more about getting good sleep as a runner – after all, that 7am run isn’t going to happen if you’ve stayed up past midnight watching TV and eating junk food.
10) You Can Raise Money For Charity
Running gives you the opportunity to raise money for your favourite charities. If there’s a cause that’s close to your heart, signing up for a race is a great way to make sure it benefits, while you benefit too.