Running: It’s London Marathon Month! A few reasons in this week’s blog as to why running is so beneficial both physically and mentally!
Running is such a popular form of exercise and with such a list of health benefits it’s easy to see why. I know running isn’t possible for everyone so I will be sure to include some alternative exercises for you to try in this week’s blog.
- Running is a great way to combat stress and anxiety
It has been shown that just 30 minutes of exercise is enough to release the endorphins responsible for feeling great – these are your body’s natural anti-depressants. In addition to endorphins running also causes the release of norepinephrine, which is responsible for managing the brain’s reaction to stress.
- Running is great for your heart
150 minutes of moderate exercise (such as gentle running) per week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by 30% – which is huge! In addition to this it can also reduce the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) and strokes, so running really is beneficial to both how you feel right now as well as looking after your body long term.
- Running and bone strength
The strength of your bones in your spine, pelvis and legs is enhanced by running. Bone becomes stronger when it’s loaded and the impact of running helps build bone strength in these bones. In addition the muscles, ligaments and joints supporting those bones all become stronger. Together, this can help prevent conditions like osteoporosis and enhance bone density. However if you do suffer from brittle bones, osteoporosis or low bone density then starting running requires a bit more thought and a discussion with your doctor to ensure it is safe to start.
- The social side of running
Running can be an incredibly sociable activity! From bumping into the same person on your runs, running clubs, virtual running clubs, Strava meet ups and just meeting a pal for a jog and coffee afterwards there are so many ways to make running sociable and fun.
- Or ‘Me’ time
Running is also a great way to switch off and have some time out for yourself. It is great for getting away from your desk, getting out into nature and this is a massive boost for your mental wellbeing.
- Balance and coordination
The positives of unilateral movement! When running you spend the majority of your time on one leg which is great for your balance, core stability and coordination. This can be particularly beneficial as we get older and reduces the risk of injury and falls.
The more you run, the greater your stamina becomes and this has far reaching benefits for your respiratory system, your heart, your muscular strength and endurance and your weight management. It is so important to increase distance and time on your feet gradually as a spike in running is a huge injury risk. So be patient and slowly build those miles up.
Now I know running doesn’t suit everyone so I am including some alternatives here to try for your cardio activity – to get the same benefits without the pounding impact of running.
Firstly cycling – you can still get out in nature and get the cardio and respiratory benefits as well as the balance and coordination but without the impact.
How about wild swimming? Outside in nature definitely, not for the faint hearted though!
Pool swimming can give you the cardio benefits and endorphin release too again without the impact on bones and joints.
Finally power walking – carry some light weights and get out on a power walk, if you really push yourself here you can definitely get all the benefits that you get from running and especially great for the legs on an incline.
As always, any questions please do get in touch!