Is running good for you?
Running is one of the simplest and most accessible forms of exercise. There’s no need for gym membership, specialist facilities, fancy equipment, or even a spotter. Simply don your running shoes and hit the road! It has a number of proven health benefits, both mental and physical, but people have been asking for years whether running is actually good for you. Of course, as with any exercise, there are certain risks involved and you need to take proper precautions in order to protect yourself from injury. In this article, we discuss why running is good for you as well as tips on how to reduce your risk of injury.
The cardiovascular system is composed of the heart and blood vessels. Running exercises the cardiovascular system and strengthens it, much like a muscle. It improves circulation, increases your blood volume, lowers your heart rate, increases your oxygen intake capacity, improves your cardiovascular efficiency, and gives you a stronger, more resilient heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death, and good cardiovascular health can significantly reduce your risk of developing heart problems.
As with any part of the body, it’s possible to overtrain and cause damage. Excessive running (like frequent marathon running) can actually lead to problems for your heart. Running for several hours at a time can cause damage, and regular damage can cause a buildup of scar tissue in your heart. This is a very uncommon condition, however, and it only affects a small portion of runners who train to extreme levels. The key is to run in moderation, i.e. avoid running marathons every week or so - a feat that should be easy enough to avoid!
It’s a common belief that running causes knee pain and even leads to osteoarthritis. However, this a sweeping assessment that’s far too broad and doesn’t get to the truth. Developing knee pain while running is usually due to poor flexibility, overtraining, or poor running form. There is no evidence to suggest that running causes osteoarthritis. Running is an excellent way to strengthen both the muscles and the bones of your legs which in turn serves to protect the knee by better absorbing the impact from each step, thus reducing your risk of injury. Those who run regularly and in moderation tend to have stronger knees than those who do not run at all.
That being said, accidents do happen and knee problems are fairly common in runners. That’s why we developed our insoles; they’re clinically proven to absorb shock and reduce the risk of knee injuries caused by running with bad form or overtraining.
Weight loss and maintenance
It should come as no surprise to you that running burns calories. Of course, the number of calories you’ll burn depends on your weight, running speed, and run duration. Studies show that a 30-minute run at light-moderate intensity can burn between 300 and 500 calories, and an hour of more intense running can burn over 1000! If weight loss or weight maintenance is a goal of yours, then running regularly can be an invaluable method.
We don’t like to make spurious claims that running is the fountain of youth and will keep you fit, healthy and free from ailments for the rest of your life. That being said, there is some evidence to suggest it might literally have life-prolonging effects. Running has been shown to help reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, including prostate cancer, breast cancer, and even lung cancer in smokers. As well as this, running for just 30 minutes 5 times per week extends your life expectancy by between 2 and 5 years! If that isn’t motivation to put your best foot forward, we don’t know what is.
One of the main reasons that people run has nothing to do with physical health and fitness at all. Just 30 minutes of running has been proven to boost your mood and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, one study found that running can be as effective as antidepressants. When we run, our bodies release endorphins which alter our perception of pain and cause positive sensations throughout the body; it’s been likened to the effect morphine has on us. You’ve likely come across the term “runner’s high” and this is exactly why – those who regularly exercise become almost addicted to this endorphin release.
In addition to strengthening your legs, research has shown that regular running can help strengthen your mind too. People of all ages can reap the benefits, with improvements in memory and focus being enjoyed across the board. Older adults who run regularly also enjoy an improved ability to switch between tasks effectively. Running may even help to ward off age-related cognitive impairments. Incorporating running into your weekly routine from an early age can be a powerful tool that supports your cognitive functioning throughout your life.
To answer the question simply: yes, running is good for you for all the reasons listed. Our love of running and desire to run as much as possible without injury is what encouraged us to develop our specialist insoles. It’s our mission to make running more accessible for more people and keep runners injury-free. Read the story of how we developed our PX1 shock absorption technology that’s trusted by the likes of the British Armed Forces and the world’s fastest man: Usain Bolt.