Running is a popular health kick in New Zealand and can become quite addictive but running isn’t just good for the heart. Read on for some of the other great benefits then get those running shoes on and head out into our Spring sunshine!
1. Healthy heart - Running is one of the best ways to give your heart muscle an effective workout. By running regularly you can improve circulation, and reduce the risk of a heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke.
2. Weight loss - The average runner burns 1,000 calories an hour during a training session. So expect to get thinner, which will in turn help you run faster.
3. Osteoporosis - If you run on a regular basis you are continually taxing your muscles and bones so the bones are stimulated to remain stronger and do not easily weaken with age. So bye bye osteoporosis.
4. Mental health - A regular running habit will you lift your mood and build self-esteem. It also increases your self-confidence as you reach fitness and/or weight loss goals. Running can help relieve mild depression.
5. Sleep - Studies show that runners find it easier to get to sleep at night and sleep longer. Insomniacs take note.
6. Stress - Running increases your ability to cope with everyday minor irritations and stresses.
7. Happiness - Endorphins engendered by exercise mean that people who run are often happier than those who don't: ever felt that sense of elation during or after a run (known as the runner's high)? Running regularly can also improve patience, humour and ambition, and make you more good-tempered and easy-going.
8. Anxiety - Runners generally have a lower level of anxiety than those who don't run. One study suggests that regular training reduces the activity of the serotonin receptors in the brain which regulate mood. Reduced sensitivity of these receptors to stimulation might explain the positive effects of exercise on anxiety.
9. Immune system - If you are a runner you will find that you have a stronger immune system, that means you'll suffer less from minor illnesses such as colds, allergies, fatigue, menstrual discomfort, backache, and digestive disorders.
10. Brain power - You can increase your mental functions by going running as it boosts blood flow to the brain and helps it receive oxygen and nutrients, making you more productive at work.
11. Complexion - Running stimulates your circulation, improving the transportation of nutrients around your system and flushing out waste products. This will help make your skin clearer and give you that distinctive runner's glow.
12. Fat burn - By running you are building lean muscle, changing your body composition and your metabolism. Lean muscle weighs heavier than fat, but burns more calories even when you're resting, so cultivate a regular running habit and you should see a gradual, healthy inch loss.