How run­ning im­proves your health

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page -

SCI­EN­TIFIC re­search has proven that reg­u­lar ex­er­cise (150 min­utes per week, which is about 30 min­utes, five times per week)— and run­ning in par­tic­u­lar—has health ben­e­fits that ex­tend well beyond any pill a doc­tor could pre­scribe. Reg­u­lar run­ning can help pre­vent obe­sity, type 2 di­a­betes, heart dis­ease, high blood pres­sure, stroke, some can­cers, and a host of other un­pleas­ant con­di­tions. What’s more, sci­en­tists have shown that run­ning also vastly im­proves the qual­ity of your emo­tional and men­tal life. It even helps you live longer. Here’s how:

Run­ning makes you hap­pier.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter run­ning, you ex­pe­ri­ence “run­ner’s high”—that rush of feel-good hor­mones known as en­do­cannabi­noids. In a 2006 study pub­lished in Medicine & Science in Sports & Ex­er­cise, re­searchers found that even a sin­gle bout of ex­er­cise—30 min­utes of walk­ing on a tread­mill—could in­stantly lift the mood of some­one suf­fer­ing from a ma­jor de­pres­sive or­der. And even on those days when you have to force your­self out the door, ex­er­cise still pro­tects you against anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion, stud­ies have shown.

Run­ning helps you lose or main­tain weight.

With reg­u­lar ex­er­cise, the burn­ing of calo­ries in your body con­tin­ues af­ter you stop. Stud­ies have shown that reg­u­lar ex­er­cise boosts “af­ter­burn”—that is, the num­ber of calo­ries you burn af­ter ex­er­cise.

Stronger knees

It’s long been known that run­ning in­creases bone mass, and even helps pre­vent age-re­lated bone loss. But chances are, you’ve had fam­ily, friends, and strangers warn you that “run­ning is bad for your knees.” Well, science has proven that it’s not. In fact, stud­ies show that run­ning im­proves knee health, ac­cord­ing to Bos­ton Univer­sity re­searcher David Fel­son in an in­ter­view with Na­tional Pub­lic Ra­dio.

“We know from many long-term stud­ies that run­ning doesn’t ap­pear to cause much dam­age to the knees,” Fel­son said. “When we look at peo­ple with knee arthri­tis, we don’t find much of a pre­vi­ous his­tory of run­ning, and when we look at run­ners and fol­low them over time, we don’t find that their risk of de­vel­op­ing os­teoarthri­tis is any more than ex­pected.”

Men­tal sharp­ness

Wor­ried about se­nil­ity? Work­ing out reg­u­larly will help you stay men­tally sharp. A 2012 study pub­lished in Psy­cho­nomic Bul­letin & Re­view con­cluded that the ev­i­dence is in­sur­mount­able that reg­u­lar ex­er­cise helps de­feat age-re­lated men­tal de­cline, par­tic­u­larly func­tions like task switch­ing, se­lec­tive at­ten­tion, and work­ing mem­ory. Stud­ies con­sis­tently found that fit­ter older adults scored bet­ter in men­tal tests than their un­fit peers.

Re­duc­ing risk of can­cer

Maybe run­ning doesn’t cure can­cer, but there’s plenty of proof that it helps pre­vent it. A vast re­view of 170 epi­demi­o­log­i­cal stud­ies in the Jour­nal of Nu­tri­tion showed that reg­u­lar ex­er­cise is associated with a lower risk of cer­tain can­cers. What’s more, if you al­ready have can­cer, run­ning (with your doc­tor’s ap­proval) can im­prove your qual­ity of life while you’re un­der­go­ing chemo­ther­apy.

Liv­ing longer

Even if you meet just the min­i­mum of amount of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity—(30 min­utes, 5 times per week), you’ll live longer. Stud­ies show that when dif­fer­ent types of peo­ple started ex­er­cis­ing, they lived longer. Smok­ers added 4.1 years to their lives; non-smok­ers gained three years. Even if you’re still smok­ing, you’ll get 2.6 more years. Can­cer sur­vivors ex­tended their lives by 5.3 years.

*All ma­te­ri­als are only for your in­for­ma­tion, and should not be con­strued as med­i­cal ad­vice. Where nec­es­sary, ap­pro­pri­ate pro­fes­sion­als should be con­sulted

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