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Run Baby, Run

Top 12 reasons why running is not just for losing weight

Running is one of the best exercises that is good for the heart, body and to lose those pounds – fast. It’s one of the more accessible activities for everyone – all you need is a good pair of running shoes and a safe place to run, at anytime. You don’t need fancy equipment, club membership, special skills. You can run alone or in a group.

Before we go into the details of a running programme and how you can burn up calories, let’s looks at the many reasons why you should get all geared up and take up running. A word of caution though – running is not for everyone, especially if you have medical conditions that you need to take care first. (Caution: please check with your medical advisor before starting).

Also, to see quick results from running, you must be committed to make it a habit. Remember, it takes time to build up endurance to run even for short period of time if you’re fresh to running. Also, running can be hard on your joints. If you’re overweight, choose a lower impact exercise like walking or biking (both great cardiovascular exercises on their own). You can start building up your stamina and fitness level as you get better, and start running once you’re fit and ready. Don’t give up! Let’s get motivated.

1) Top cardiovascular exercises

Running is among the top cardiovascular exercises, and the quickest way to cardiovascular fitness. You get fitter faster by running regularly. Running helps your heart pump blood throughout your body, energising you and increasing your fitness levels.

2) Lose weight

Research shows intense running is only second to cross-country skiing in burning calories per minute. And since you are in a region that can’t see snow throughout the year, opting for running would be a wiser bet to lose those body fats. The good news is that running also helps lessen your appetite. So no worries of binging at night.

3) Protect against chronic diseases

Your arteries get flexed more when you run. By maintaining the flexibility of your arteries in this way, your blood pressure can be lowered. What’s more, regular running boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol while decreases triglycerides. This can minimise your chances of having a stroke or heart attack. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries. There’s more. Studies show regular physical activity like running can help you prevent type 2 Diabetes, and certain types of Cancer too.

4) Healthier lungs

Taking deep breaths during your run forces your lungs to expand and use more of their potential improving your respiratory system. You will increase your stamina, which improves your breathing capabilities and lung capacity. Having healthy lungs allows you to do your normal everyday activities without much strain.

5) Relieve stress

Training your heart regularly this way, at least through a 30-minute run would strengthen your cardiovascular system. This helps to lower your pulse while resting and sleeping aiding you to relax better. Running improves your mood, self-esteem, and outlook towards life and conditions you to handle stress better.

6) Get high legally

When you participate seriously in cardiovascular activity like running, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins from the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates, making you feel good inside, often called a ‘runner’s high.’ Endorphins are your own natural opiates, and the most powerful pain killers and mood elevators known. This is the same chemical released during excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food and yes, during orgasm! Drugs such as morphine, heroine and cocaine are classic endorphin-releasing entities. But you can have it generously without being hauled up.

7) Prevent muscle and bone loss

Our bones are intelligent enough to take the demands placed upon them. So by running regularly, your bones get the demand it needs to stay healthy, compared with sitting in front of your PC or living a sedentary life where it will grow weaker. What you know, high-intensity exercise like running, has also been proven to promote human growth hormone, something celebrities will die for. The effects of osteoporosis are also delayed as the natural process of muscle and bone loss as we age is slowed down.

8) Improves sex life

This is logical because health problems linked to a lack of exercise, such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes that contribute to sexual problems can be avoided. Furthermore, runners tend to distance themselves from habits like heavy smoking and drinking which can lead to sexual dysfunctions. What’s more, running is great for your emotional health as it puts you in a positive mood and can help ward of depression, making you more inclined to feel sexy and be intimate with your partner.

Dr Petra Boynton, a sex psychologist and lecturer in health research at University College London even believes that since a runner spends time on her own, developing an awareness of her body through her breath, the way the body moves, and in accepting her inner feelings, the same techniques can be applied in bed to become a better lover and to improve the experience.

9) Sleep better

Good health plays a vital role in how well you sleep. Regular relaxed running, without exerting, helps you to sleep more soundly as your body recovers and repairs itself. Runners usually fall asleep quicker and stay in a deep state of sleep longer than people who aren’t very active.

10) Meet new people

Studies show that you’re less likely to give up exercising if you have made prior commitment to workout with a partner. So running, besides making you feel good on the outside, is an excellent channel for your social life where you can make new friends and keep yourself motivated and be in safe company. You can try meeting other runners on your own or join a running club, or take your running to the next level by entering a road race. Psst… you might meet guys with good pairs of legs!

11) Run for a good cause

What’s more fulfilling than to run for less fortunate and the needy? You can always enlist for an upcoming event and join in for the spirit of it. But wouldn’t it be great to train earnestly and give all you got till the finish line? There should be many non-profit organisations in your neighbourhood planning fundraising events throughout the year. If not, you can help out organising one. Let your running make a positive impact in someone’s life.

12) Challenge yourself

If you get so snug and warm inside your comfort zone at some point, running is among the best activities to get you out of it. But you can’t get any better without the willpower to push yourself, especially when you are a newcomer (Imagine having to wake up so early in the morning!) Once you get better forcing yourself out of the comfort zone, you can apply the same principle in other areas of your life to break habits and temptations that are holding you back.

So there you go. Some very good reasons to avoid becoming a couch potatoe, lose those pounds, and become vibrant than ever. Make a change to your life through running. Go for it!

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