10 Ways Running Improves Your Life

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We all know running is good for your body.  But doesn't it usually go that if something is good for you, it doesn’t necessarily make you feel happy? Well, I took up running a few weeks ago and it feels great. My body is changing for the better, and I feel way better.

I run 4 or 5 times a week for 20 to 50 minutes. This is my time: I have music in my ears, wind in my hair, and the open road in front of me; I’m free of all the stress and worries of the modern life. And I want to share that with you.

So, here are 10 reasons which will tell you why running will make you feel happier and, I hope, motivate you to start running.

1. Running makes your heart stronger. While running, your heart beats faster thus making the blood flow and oxygen exchange more effective and decreasing a risk of a heart attack. A strong heart will more easily deal with any kind of stress. Don't believe me, read this paper from Vanderbilt University.

2. You’ll sleep like a baby. If you pump your heart with a 30 minutes long run, it will actually make your pulse lower while resting and sleeping.

3. Live longer without pain. Running can increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis. Results show that running strengthens bones better than other aerobic activities. Researchers from University of Missouri who compared the bone density of runners and cyclists said that 63% of the cyclists had low density in their spine or hips compared to only 19% of runners.

4. You can lose or maintain your weight by running regularly. As you can assume, running is an extremely efficient way to burn calories and lose weight. You can actually burn at least 10 calories per minute while running. But running alone won’t make you lose weight if you continue taking the extra large portion.

5. Eating healthily to keep your energy levels high. Losing energy while running means you'll need to eat more food, but not any kind of food. Ok, after first few runs it’s okay to still want a Mars bar,  but soon you’ll want something different, something healthier. So why not have some fruit? And you can’t have a run if you’ve eaten a burger. Having a banana before hitting the track will give you just enough energy. And there you have it: two regular portions of fruit a day, more than I had in years.

6. Running affects your appearance. Beside losing weight, being fitter, and eating healthily, you can look taller. Oh, yes. If you run in the proper manner by raising your head you can prolong your spine and appear taller. And if you run during a sunny day, you will easily get tanned. So you will become slim, fit, tall, and sun-tanned.

running

Image: Vestman via Flickr

7. Exercise makes you happy. Research has shown that healthy adults who exercise regularly are generally happier than those who don't. Running is a great cure for stress, emotional strain, and even the blues. Running doesn't take up a great deal of mental space, so while you're doing it, you have time to think. You can process the issues of the day and work it through. After running, you will feel mentally refreshed.

8. Music time. Take some mind-blowing music and run it all out of your system. Focus on the lyrics (my favorite: You’re simply the best, better than all the rest…) or the beat and keep moving. My favorite is Run Lola Run soundtrack playlist, and I have an app that follows my BPM, so I'm completely in tune.

9. Have some time with yourself. If you don't like running to music, focus on your thoughts and let your brain do whatever it feels like either going through all the problems or doing absolutely nothing while listening to your heart beats, your own breathing, and only your steps.

10. Experience a runner's high.  Runner’s high a medical condition during which runners may experience euphoria, a feeling of being invincible, a reduced state of discomfort or pain, and even a loss in sense of time while running. Many people have related a runner's high to the feeling of an orgasm. Seems like enough to make you feel better, right?

Running is the fountain of youth. It improves your health and well being, on the short and long runs.

Take your running shoes (as opposed to the high heels in the photo!), some music in your ears (or not), and run to a better self.

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