There comes a day when you stop to think and realize that, without knowing how, there is something in your life that is not complete.
You don’t know exactly what it is, but deep down you are clear: you need to experience a metamorphosis, a change, a transformation.
Why do you need to practice running?
You start running when you need a change in your lifestyle. When you run with your child and feel short of breath, when you climb a long staircase and have to stop ten times to rest before you get there.
You are also encouraged to start running when you look in the mirror and recognise that you have ‘left out’ more than you should. You assume that your body changes with age, and you used to be much fitter, or at least more careful. What is clear is that it seems that it is no longer enough to eat little salads… It is time to train to burn off those extra pounds and get out of that rut.
Another good reason that can encourage you to run is to want to find your space. Only by spending time with yourself can you come to accept and love yourself. Running can become that escape route your mind needs. An excuse to disconnect from everything, even for a few minutes a day. Running (and generally exercising) is one of the most powerful weapons we have at our disposal to fight stress. Have a look at the running guides which talks in detail for everything you need to know for running.
Running will prolong your life expectancy
No, running is not just a fad. It’s not something that everyone does to get a selfie with a lot of likes and to show off among friends. Running means commitment to oneself, it means wanting to improve, wanting to better oneself. It is an effort that is rewarded. And the reward you get is huge.
Not only will you be able to improve your quality of life, but you will be able to live even longer if you start running now. That’s right, according to our team blog, the hours you spend running will add up to seven times your life expectancy. According to this research, regular running can extend your life by up to 3 years and reduce the risk of premature death by up to 45%.
What Will Change When You Start Running?
If you decide to start running, it will be hard at first, that’s for sure. But when you see your progress and all the benefits it brings, you won’t be able to stop.
Running will make you feel like a whole person. You will take care of yourself, your body and your mind. Running will change your life, do you want to know how?
#1. Starting to run will change your body
- Lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood
According to a national health survey conducted by Kantar Health, almost half of the Spanish population (46%) has high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a lipid (fat) that is synthesized by our body and adheres to the surface of the proteins that circulate in our blood. If these particles are present in a very high number, the risk of suffering from serious cardiovascular diseases increases. The problem is that it is not always enough to take care of the diet. This is a serious issue that we must keep well in check, especially with age.
However, physical exercise can be a great ally in the face of this problem. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, running is excellent for increasing levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and reducing levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). According to this group of doctors from Duke University (UK), it is enough to run about 5 kilometres a week. Going out 4 or 5 days a week for 20 to 60 minutes a day.
- Strengthens Bones and Joints
I’m sure you’ve heard countless times that running destroys your bones and joints, especially your knees. However, our team blog challenged this popular belief by conducting research. In it they claimed that running is not bad for our joints and bones. In fact, it acts as a preventive factor against knee pain.
We know that knees are load-bearing joints and that the load is greater when we have an impact. However, if we have healthy knees we should not be afraid to start running. However, there are two factors that should be taken into account, even if your knees are fine. One is the weight of the runner and the other is the frequency of the exercise. Knees that support 70 kilos do not receive the same impact as knees that support 120 kilos. That’s why you should run moderately and be aware of your limits and follow a sensible training plan.
- Prevents Arthritis and Degenerative Bone Diseases
With age it is completely normal for people to lose bone density. Bones become weaker. But running isn’t going to break your bones any sooner. In fact, it’s going to happen just the opposite. According to our team blog, research revealed that long-distance runners had greater bone density and more resistance than sedentary people.
Our team blog revealed that healthy adults who ran long distances did not present any type of inflammation in their knees. He concluded that running long distances is not bad for the joints. If you run regularly when you are young and healthy, it can help delay the onset of degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis or osteoarthritis.
- Helps Control Diabetes Better and Prevents Its Onset
As you know, diabetes is an alteration of the sugar metabolism that increases its values excessively in the blood. According to several studies published in the professional journal Archives of Internal Medicine, physical activity is beneficial for people with diabetes. Running, therefore, is an excellent exercise for improving insulin sensitivity and reducing blood sugar. The latter also helps reduce the need for medication.
Moreover, according to a statement from the Harvard University School of Public Health, aerobic exercise is very effective in preventing type 2 diabetes. Research showed that regular exercise (about 150 minutes per week) reduced the chances of getting the disease by up to 34%.
- Prevents Obesity and Helps You Lose Weight
13% of the world’s population has weight problems and in Spain alone, 25% of the population is obese or overweight. This would place our country as the second in Europe with the number of obese citizens. These are the data revealed by a study published by the scientific magazine The Lancet, carried out by researchers from Imperial College London and the WHO.
You have heard it countless times, combining a diet with exercise is the key to losing weight. According to our team blog, running only 5 kilometres a week and combining it with a healthy diet is an effective method of losing up to 5 kilos of body fat.
- Prevents Hypertension and Blood Pressure
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that hypertension affects 38% of the adult population. Some 49% are between the ages of 45 and 65. High blood pressure (HBP) has therefore already become one of the most common chronic diseases in the world, with 24% of cases being caused by pathological conditions.
However, according to our team blog, intense aerobic exercise, such as running, is associated with a 42% lower probability of developing hypertension. The Spanish Society of Sports Medicine (SEMED) also advises to do 3 to 5 days a week. With a daily practice of physical activity that lasts between 45 and 60 minutes. This is the only way to prevent and treat high blood pressure through aerobic exercise.
- Good for the Heart and to Avoid the Risk of Infarction
As we have mentioned before, running is an exercise that increases our blood volume in the body. This causes our heart to pump with less effort, making it an excellent choice when it comes to conditioning our cardiovascular system.
According to our team blog, running can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 45%. He states that the running subjects in the observation (who ran approximately two hours per week), lived 3 years longer than the rest of the non-running subjects.
- Beneficial in cases of moderate depression
It is a fact that stress is part of our lives today. Work, partner, family or personal problems can cause us a certain state of anguish that we want to release. Running is one of the most natural cures for stress. You may have heard it before, running helps us release more endorphins, what we know as ‘happiness hormones’.
That’s why, for people suffering from depression, it’s a beneficial exercise. According to our team blog, running several days a week is as effective as antidepressants. It seems that the increased secretion of endorphins during running can be equated to the effect of pain killers on the body.
- Reduces the Risk of Cancer
That’s right, according to our team blog, people who run regularly have a lower risk for up to 13 different types of cancer. This group of researchers followed a total of 1.44 million people aged 19 to 98 for more than 10 years.
Our team expert found that those subjects who were more physically active on a weekly basis had a 20% lower risk of developing up to 7 types of cancer. Specifically, of suffering from cancer of the esophagus, lung, kidney, endometrium, myeloid leukemia, liver and gastric heart. And they also had a 10-20% lower risk of suffering from myeloma, breast, head, neck, rectum and bladder cancer.
#2. Starting to run will change your mind
- Acceptance of the Challenge and Personal Motivation
When we start running it’s because something or someone has motivated us to do so. Besides, it seems that running motivates us to keep training. Our team blog assures that the happiness of the runner is not only due to the generation of endorphins. It also seems to have a lot to do with dopamine, an important neurotransmitter for motivation.
The good thing about accepting a challenge, however unattainable it may seem, is that when we meet it we feel invincible. Running makes you experience that feeling in a short time, since the effort will be rewarded with results. And those results will motivate you to set yourself other, more ambitious challenges.
- Order of Ideas and Creative Evasion
According to Psychology, we have two states of mind, association and dissociation. In our daily life we usually have the mind in a state of association, but during a training session both states alternate. As Jeff Brown and Liz Neportent state in their book ‘The Runner’s Mind: Use Your Brain to Improve Your Goals’, when we are able to run and, at the same time, think about other things that avoid us from the act of exercise, we are dissociating.
With this we manage to order all our thoughts and we have the feeling that time passes more quickly. This usually happens when the race is pleasant and there are no external agents to distract us. However, we tend to return to the association period at times that require greater concentration, such as uneven terrain or sudden rain.
- Fulfillment of Achievable Objectives
Running will also help you set realistic goals. It’s something you’ll learn when you start running that will serve as an example to apply to the rest of your life. Before creating your training plan, consult a sports doctor and set yourself some achievable short-term goals to avoid injuries.
This means not thinking about one-year goals, but goals that you can meet in a month or two. This will make it easier for you to achieve them. It will be much more satisfying to take it step by step and see that you accomplish everything you set out to do. But be realistic. You won’t be able to start running and in two months you’ll be running a marathon, so don’t get any ideas like that.
- Running is not boring but the opposite
You may have met people who stopped running because they find it boring. However, running breaks the monotony and should not be tedious at all. In fact, according to our team blog, running can even help to strengthen our brain’s memory and stimulate our mind.
Obviously, if you don’t have any training plans and you go running without any goals you can get bored. If you run along the same path, chances are that everything will become routine and boring. The best thing is to run alternating between different types of training. Also, make sure you vary the routes you take often so that it’s more enjoyable as well.
- Sense of Freedom and Self-Knowledge
Not all runners like to go out in groups, there are others who enjoy solitude. According to the conclusions of Jack Fong, a sociologist from the California Polytechnic University, solitude forces us to face up to who we are and learn to act outside the toxicity of the social environment around us. This is explained in the ‘Handbook on Loneliness: Psychological Perspectives on Social Segregation’. Being alone allows us to know ourselves better and to reflect on everything that comes to mind.
The feeling of freedom and isolation that is experienced during this time of training helps many people to achieve a very pleasant inner peace. How often do you complain that you have no time for yourself? Running can provide you with that moment of personal space, of disconnection, where you are alone with your thoughts.
- The Myth of the Happy Runner or ‘Runner’s Euphoria
We told you before about endorphins and their benefits on people with depression. Many runners claim to feel a pleasant, almost orgasmic, moment when they finish their run. And it seems that the myth can occur in many people. These hormones are part of the opiate family. Our body secretes them naturally under various circumstances, as an analgesic and stimulant effect.
It is scientifically proven that the level of endorphins in the blood increases when we run, but the physiological method that made it possible for them to determine a person’s state of mind was unknown. After several studies led by German doctor Henning Boecker, it was revealed that endorphins bind to brain receptors associated with emotional areas and therefore were able to produce that sensation. However, there is no evidence of the intensity or time it takes to reach this state in a generic way. Each organism assimilates it in a different way.
- Remarkable Improvement of Self-Esteem
Sport is synonymous with energy, vitality and self-improvement. Why do you think many people say that running becomes addictive? The answer is simple, we all like to feel good about ourselves and project it. The effects of running are positive, because when you reach your goals you will feel strong and have more confidence in yourself.
According to our team blog, setting and achieving an ambitious goal has a tremendously positive impact on our happiness levels, which greatly increases our self-esteem. If you look better, you will convey this to your surroundings and they will also notice how you glow. Think that self-confidence is not only about having a good body but also a nice smile.
#3. Starting to Run Will Change Your Life
- Socializing and Sharing a Hobby
Starting to run also means being part of a community of people who share the same goal and hobby as you. This feeling of ‘belonging’ is vital for runners to support each other, advise each other and respect each other.
The feeling of camaraderie and identification with other runners can create strong bonds of trust and friendship. What’s more, sharing your progress on a sports app with other runners can be more stimulating. According to a report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sharing sports data on social media can be contagious and motivating for other users.
- Better Sleep and Rest
According to our team blog, people sleep much better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. The observation was conducted on more than 2,500 people between the ages of 18 and 85 and revealed that their sleep improved qualitatively by up to 65%.
This is because sleep is a restorative act during which our body regenerates and stabilizes itself. If a runner does not sleep well, that regeneration does not take place in its entirety. This is why it is so important to rest at least 8 hours a day.
- Improve your Sex Life and Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Being active on a daily basis is the best aphrodisiac in the world, according to the runners themselves. Feeling better about ourselves and having our self-esteem sky high makes us feel desirable. This causes the sexual desire to increase as well. As I mentioned before, self-esteem and confidence is something that sweats through your pores and others notice it.
For men, according to our team blog, running can cause a short-term increase in testosterone levels. On the other hand, according to another our team expert, running also improves sexual performance and prevents erectile dysfunction. The latter occurs due to its vasodilatory effect.
- Training Anywhere, Anytime
You can’t use the excuse that you have the gym far away and don’t have time to train. You can run in any environment, close to home, when you leave work, if you work out, if you travel… Running is an option available as long as you are used to the terrain (asphalt, sand, cobblestones, etc.) and the weather conditions are favourable.
It is exactly the same with the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s day, night, morning, midday or afternoon. You set the time. These are some of the advantages of running, you are not going to depend on a physical space, nor on a working schedule to be able to practice it.
- Save more money compared to other sports
It is often said that running is a cheap sport, and it is true. It has a lot to do with what I was saying before, since you don’t depend on a specific location to train. So you won’t have to pay a monthly fee in any sports center. There’s a whole business of running around, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get started.
According to a Survey of Sports Habits in Spain in 2015, carried out by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, a beginner runner only needs an average of around 105 euros to get good quality basic equipment. Actually, you will only need technical breathable clothing and good shoes adapted to your footprint. Over time you can purchase other items, such as a heart rate monitor to record your progress.
- You’re not going to get hurt, dispel that myth
According to our team blog, to prevent and reduce injuries the secret is to train in moderation. This means running from 3 to 5 weekly sessions of one hour maximum. On the other hand, after periods of inactivity it is important to return to training smoothly and progressively.
We already told you in point one, discard the myths of insured injuries. The probability of injury is very low if you run sensibly. Remember not to force your body, run with good posture, follow a training plan according to your possibilities and use the right shoes. Running will improve your health in every way, so visits to the doctor will be reduced.
- You can eat more carbs
As you know, food plays a fundamental role in the life of the runner, it is his main fuel. If you didn’t usually include carbohydrates in your diet for fear of gaining weight, now they are going to be essential in your daily life. According to Dr. Alison Osowski’s research, carbohydrates are the most important nutrient when it comes to endurance exercise.
When you digest carbohydrates they provide you with glucose, the main energy source for the cells. But keep in mind that there are both slow and fast absorbing carbohydrates. We are interested in the former, which are present in foods such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, legumes or cereals.
- Spend more time with someone important to you
If you don’t like to go running you can just try to share the challenge of starting to run with someone close to you. I mean that person with whom you would like to spend more time and who, because of circumstances, you can’t see as often as you would like. Recently, our team blog has revealed that spending more time with our parents could extend their lives.
And not just with your parents, you can spend more time with your partner, your child, a friend, a co-worker, or a group of friends. You can even take the opportunity to go for a run with your pet and get him or her in shape with you. But try to be responsible and take safety measures if you run with children or animals.
- Enjoying the Environment and Green Spaces
Running in the open air is one of the greatest escape valves for our mind. If you can also run while being in contact with nature, it will be impossible not to leave stress and worries behind. According to our team blog, taking a ‘forest bath’ and immersing yourself in nature reduces blood pressure and the level of cortisol (a hormone released in response to stress).
The smells, sounds and calm of a natural setting are the best relaxation therapy available. The quality of the clean air in a place full of vegetation will always be better so that your body gets more oxygen and you avoid fatigue. It is more recommendable than training in a closed place or in an environment with a contaminated atmosphere.
- Contributing to a Good Cause
Running has become a worldwide phenomenon. According to the newspaper El País, nearly 4,000 races are held in Spain every year, more than 10 a day! The data is shocking, in fact, reveals that in the San Silvestre in Madrid 15 years ago 5,000 people ran and last year there were 40,000 runners.
Many of these thousands of races held annually are organized expressly for a charitable purpose or part of the proceeds are donated for charitable purposes. Either way, running can become an important way of raising funds. We can help ourselves and at the same time contribute to a good cause.
The Time is Now, Start Running!
If not now, then when? If you need to fill that void inside you and improve all aspects of your life, you need to start running. Running is not only a sport, even if it sounds like a cliché, it is much more than that. Running will bring you all the benefits and physical and mental changes we have seen, but you will also feel like a different person.
Why is that? Because becoming a runner means adopting a new way of life and being able to leave behind bad habits and negativity. You will be able to focus on yourself, your goals and your achievements. You know that changing your life is in your hand, or rather in your feet, so run!