Thursday, June 16, 2011

Weight Loss? That's the Obvious One

I've talked about so many of the benefits of running; the runner's high, the weight loss, the muscle toning, etc.  But there are some other cool benefits to running that I'd like to make everyone aware of.

1st:  "You snooze you lose!"  Whoever made that up needs to be smacked!
If you have kids, you've probably been losing sleep for years.  Add jobs and the other stresses of life and it's surprising that we all don't just drop dead from sleep deprevation.  "One such study that was conducted in Australia, found that runners seemed to have greater sleep efficiency, or the ratio of the amount of time you are asleep to the total amount of time you are in bed." 
Obviously if we are a bit more stressed than usual or when the kids get sick, sleep it still going to be hard to come by, but in general, if you're runnin' you'll be sleepin'.  I can personally attest to this particular benefit.  I sleep more soundly and can usually fall asleep within a few minutes of hitting the pillow. 

2nd:  "And how do you feel about that?"
I've gone on and on about the runner's high.  For those that missed it, it's all about the massive amount of endorphins released when you run.  This hormone creates a good mood, a kind of euphoria.  Runner's will talk your ear off about how ridiculously happy they are when they run.  But it turns out that even without the endorphin release "the health benefit of aerobic exercise from running can help enable you to work off any anger, fear or just the common frustrations that the day may bring, clearing the mind and relaxing the body."  No need to take any more mental health days, just go for a run!

3rd: The Anti-Aging Exercise        
Having just turned 29, 30 is just around the corner.  30 isn't old by any stretch of the imagination, but with 4 kids hanging off me at all times, I feel like I'm older than I am.  That's life I guess.  There are a lot of creams and procedures out there that are supposed to hold that clock back, but most the time we just end up spending too much money to looked like a guest on "Plastic Surgeries Gone Wrong!"  Running can slow down the aging process.  "Running benefits strong bones and muscles, which means you'll be able to retain your youthful grace and your figure, and with that, your enthusiasm for life and continued endurance for many years to come.Can't do much about the wrinkles, but your body will thank you in the end, whenever that may be.

4th:  Run your Heart Out! 
The leading cause of death in the U.S is heart disease and it's particularly a concern for women.  Running increases your cardiovascular endurance.  "Running benefits you by lowering your blood pressure and it helps your arteries maintain their integrity to keep your heart muscle strong and keep you - full of vim and vigor."
This is the reason that my 80 year old grandfather still runs 5 miles a day.  He has a family history of men in his family dying young from heart disease.  Knowing he was prone to this condition gave him a map for the rest of his life to eat well and stay fit.  I think of him often when I run.

All exercise is great, but as I do more and more research, running always comes out on top. 

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