You may think that running is too hard, too time-consuming, or just plain boring. You may have already written it off as not being the right exercise for you. But the advantages of running can’t be ignored.
It makes you happier, leaner, and reduces stress — and that’s just the beginning. Whether you’re a weightlifting pro considering adding cardio to your routine, just plain sick of the elliptical, or a running newbie who isn’t quite convinced, here’s why you should join the running world and experience its many benefits.
1. No learning curve
Unlike yoga, weightlifting, Pilates, or CrossFit, running is something we all know how to do. Sure, there are small ways you can improve your stride or decrease the impact on your knees, but we all instinctively know how to run. There are no new skills to master, you just have to put one foot in front of the other.
2. It’s free
You don’t have to pay a monthly gym membership, throw down $18 for a specialized class, or buy fancy equipment. All you need is a pair of running shoes and the will to get out and run.
3. Do it anywhere
Gone are the excuses of skipping your workout because you’re on vacation. When you run, you can do it anywhere. You can see your neighborhood in a different light or explore a new city on foot. Whether in the heat or cold, your feet will take you anywhere you want to go.
4. Make new friends
You’ll make running friends when you run. Eventually, you may meet a running partner or a crew you join for a carb-heavy brunch after a weekend run. Sites like MeetUp.com connect likeminded people you can hit the road with. Have a dog? He or she will love you more if you start taking him or her on long, daily runs.
5. Eat more
When you run regularly, you burn more calories, which means you won’t have to stress as much about that second helping of pasta or that chocolate croissant. Carbs in particular help fuel intense training sessions.
6. Lose weight
Running is one of the biggest calorie burners out there. A 160-pound person will burn more than 850 calories in an hour. Play your cards right and running can transform your body.
7. Be happier
Turns out the “runner’s high” is a real thing. In addition to providing a rush of endorphins, running produces dopamine thanks to the hormone, leptin. Leptin regulates your energy stores and encourages things that are good for your metabolism. When you’re running, leptin sends a signal to the brain’s pleasure center expressing the rewarding effects of running.
8. Better skin
Exercise increases your blood flow and brings nutrients to the cells. The increased blood flow also carries away waste and helps flush cellular debris out of the system. Working up a good sweat can actually bust out some of the gunk that leads to acne and other skin issues.
9. Stress buster
Running provides some much-needed time to be alone with your thoughts. While you’re running you can work out an issue you had at work or a disagreement you had with your partner. Studies show that runners claim they live a happier, less stressful life than their non-running counterparts.
10. Sleep soundly
Exercise in all forms will help you sleep better. Even those with insomnia see improvements from exercising regularly. In addition, better sleep provides that extra pep in the morning, which may lead to more regular exercise and increased motivation.