Running is one of the most popular ways to fit exercise into your routine. In 2017 alone, nearly 60 million Americans participated in some form of running1.
While the most popular reason for running is pretty broad – improving general fitness, running carries a variety of long and short-term, mental and physical benefits. Some of these are intuitive and well-known, while others might be new to you!
It’s safe to say – running is good for you.
Now let’s examine the major ways in which picking up the pace improves your health and wellbeing.
1. Running improves cardiovascular health
Running is useful for your heart health.
High blood pressure is a common issue, which, if untreated, can lead to more serious problems, such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke2.
If you’re looking to decrease your blood pressure as a preventative measure, you’ll benefit from regular running. However, if you’re already suffering from hypertension, you should run at a moderate effort and a restrained volume3.
Another good metric of your heart and overall health is your resting heart rate4.
A 2015 overview of studies has concluded that running is effective in lowering resting heart rate5. A lower resting heart rate is associated with a lower cardiac risk, longer lifespan, and better physical fitness.
Essentially, if you run regularly, you’re a lot less likely to suffer from heart issues than anyone who doesn’t.
2. Running improves mental health, cognitive ability, and sleep
Running has many benefits for your brain and your day-to-day cognitive functioning.
While anecdotally, many runners participate in the exercise to reach the so-called “runner’s high,” which is an elevated mental state some people experience after vigorous exercise, running actually has many benefits beyond the short-term explosion of dopamine.
Runners report mental and emotional benefits from running – relief of tension, improved self-image, better mood, and improved self-confidence. A 2020 study concluded that running is a highly efficient tool in preventing and treating different psychological conditions.
To be more specific, running has been found to help maintain emotional stability and reduce symptoms of depression, including mental dullness7. Essentially, running makes your life more interesting!
But of course, running is not only a preventative measure for mental conditions – it helps you think clearer and faster too. Running, especially at high intensity, helps you create more connections between the nerves in your brain, helping you learn new things more easily8. And it helps your mind stay sharp for longer – so get really comfortable with the idea of running into old age if you want to stay mentally sharp for as long as you possibly can!
3. Running with an app helps create a habit of running
Running apps are more than just a fancy diary!
Running apps are an excellent way to build a habit of running. By providing accurate tracking, a clear timeline of progress that can be accessed at any point, and, in the case of some running apps like Joggo, providing helpful running plans that help build stamina and improve performance while helping people lose weight, they contribute to the growing number of runners.
A 2017 paper showed that apps are the most helpful and most heavily used by beginner runners9. This shows that to start running and become one of the millions of runners around the US, you don’t need a fancy smartwatch or even a running team that might not be accessible if you live in an area that doesn’t have one.
Another study found that the most factors of running apps that encourage fitness improvement are performance feedback and social feedback10. So if you’re really looking to get better at running – no matter what level you’re at – you’ll become more motivated the more you track your runs and share them with others!
An app that we’d like to shout out is Joggo. It’s a running app that not only focuses on tracking but also helps you set attainable goals that will help you become fitter, stronger, and a better runner. An excellent benefit of the app is that it doesn’t only focus on the running itself – it includes warm-up and cool-down exercises and emphasizes rest days, so you would run in a healthy way. Props to the exercise scientists and professional scientists that helped create it!
4. Running is great for your joints and bones
Your bones and joints will thank you for completing that run!
There is a common misconception among people that running is detrimental to bone strength and especially bad for the knees. Luckily, some recent studies have found that this is actually not the case!
While especially relevant for people at risk of or suffering from osteoporosis, running is a great bone-strengthening activity for anyone looking to keep their bones healthy for longer. In a study comparing various types of exercises, scientists have found that running is significantly more efficient at increasing bone strength than resistance training11. This concludes that running, which is extremely cost-efficient and doesn’t require excessive time or equipment, is an excellent way to keep your bones healthy.
As for the people that are concerned about their knees deteriorating over time – you’re in luck too. A 2017 study found that rather than making knees weaker and more prone to injury, running actually improves the flexibility and resistance of your joints12.
5. Running increases longevity
Simply put, running makes you live longer13.
It seems obvious on the surface – by running, you’re participating in an activity that directly improves your heart, lungs, and immune system, builds strength and endurance, and makes you feel better mentally.
If you’re taking care of your body, your body will thank you.
Luckily, there’s actually statistical proof linking running to a longer life!
In 2018, a review of various studies found that people who ran at any speed, distance, or frequency had 27% less risk of dying from any cause than their sedentary counterparts! The same review found that people were less likely to die of cardiovascular diseases and cancer (30% and 23%, respectively)14.
This is especially relevant to people that have cardiovascular diseases and cancer running in their families since running is a well-known prevention method for these diseases. There is also evidence that running may be protective against neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – which is also an excellent reason to tie those sneakers and go15!
Obviously, it’s not just the little jog protecting you from all those diseases and a shorter lifespan. A huge part of the longevity benefits come from the running lifestyle – maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking, and consuming light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol. However, as a runner, even if you do indulge in a bit of reckless behavior – you’re in luck since you’re still more likely to outlive your non-runner counterparts16.
Taking into account all the different lifestyles and types of running, on average, runners live around 3 years longer than non-runners17.
So if you’re still wondering if you should pick up running to enhance your health and get on your path to fitness…
Running isn’t just a fad or something professional athletes do to supplement their training.
It’s a good way to get into shape and increase the resistance and strength of your body.
And a great way to get into running is the Joggo app.
It offers elaborate training plans for everyone – from absolute beginners who have never run a mile to seasoned pros who want to enhance their training experience.
It can help runners reach the desired pace or target distance, manage their weight, and improve their emotional wellbeing.
By using personalized training, motivation, and education, Joggo empowers anybody to become a runner in their own right.
And the best part is that it comes up with a program specifically tailored to your personal needs.
By completing a short quiz, explaining your current fitness situation, and clarifying your goals, you can also get a personalized running training program that won’t require any guesswork – just switch it on and run!
Results may vary due to personal features. Always consult a professional for medical advice.