Four Important Health Benefits of Running

People have known about the health benefits of running for a long time. It's a sport with many followers, and it's common for cities to have specific places to practice it.
Four Important Health Benefits of Running

Last update: 23 May, 2020

The medical community and those who practice this sport continuously praise the health benefits of running. It’s an exercise that has more and more followers and adapts to different circumstances. Almost anyone can practice it in different areas, including while on vacation.

The technical advantage of running is that it doesn’t depend on precise equipment, nor do you have to carry hefty elements to practice it. This ease of practice places running among the sports that are most recommended from the medical point of view; there are not too many excuses not to do it.

We can also refer to this sport as jogging, although there would be some specific differences. Either way, it’s important to understand that it’s about going at a faster speed than when we walk.

There are benefits of running associated with psychological health, and others that clearly affect the physical parts of the body. In this article, we’ll tell you about some of the positive effects of this sport.

1. Running prevents diseases

One of the benefits of running is the possibility of preventing certain diseases. That’s one of the reasons why many doctors from different specialties recommend this activity.

If we ask cardiologists, there will be few contraindications to consider when recommending this sport. Heart patients train their hearts by running; they make it more efficient, which lowers their blood pressure levels in the long term.

In addition, exercise forces the muscle to get energy from the surrounding tissues, including fat. Therefore, it’s useful for weight loss, which helps to control two important risk factors: obesity and hypercholesterolemia.

Two women running together to take advantage of the health benefits of this activity

Another source of muscle energy is glucose. When we run, sugar enters the myocytes -muscle cells- to produce energy and sustain physical activity. That glucose that leaves the blood causes the plasma values to decrease, and in turn prevents type 2 diabetes, or helps to control the existing pathology.

The immune system also benefits from running. Of course, it has to be a moderate and non-intensive activity, such as marathons.

2. Running creates stronger bones

If a person has the habit of running, their bone tissue will strengthen over time. The impact of the accelerated pace strengthens the bones and prevents osteoporosis. This is a key health benefit of running for women, especially when they reach the menopausal age.

With menopause, there’s a drop in estrogen levels that accelerates the loss of bone minerals. This lost calcium causes porosity in the bone tissue and increases the risk of fractures.

If a woman has practiced sports regularly before menopause, this will limit the loss of calcium. That will put her in an advantageous position to fight against the drop in estrogen.

3. The health benefits of running for body weight

Part of a weight-loss treatment consists of physical activity, and running is usually one of the recommendations for this. Along with diet, exercise is a key pillar to control our body weight.

Running burns calories that the muscle gets from fatty tissue. When we lose enough body weight, we can also use running to maintain our current weight by creating a balance between burned and consumed calories.

Weight loss is important to protect ourselves against diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. In other words, by losing weight we eliminate one of the risk factors for both pathologies.

4. Psychological health benefits of running

The health benefits of running aren’t just physical. The mind can take advantage of the neural changes that happen when we run to enter states of relaxation and happiness.

This effect is even stronger if we run outdoors, since being in contact with the outside world, getting sunlight and doing something we enjoy, increases the secretion of endorphins.

A woman running outside to boost the health benefits of her workout

Fatigue from physical activity also works as an efficient sleeping pill. Playing sports during the day can help you rest better at night.

We also can’t underestimate how achieving our goals can boost our self-esteem. Fulfilling our objectives and noticing improvements in the body contributes to making us feel connected to our interior and to what we want for our lives.

The health benefits of running are waiting for us!

The ones we covered in this article are just some of the health benefits of this exercise, but there are many others. If you were in doubt about whether or not to start this sport, there’s not much left to discuss. If you’re already a runner, then it’s best to continue with your routine and take full advantage of these benefits.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Andreu, J. Prieto. Experiencia deportiva, ansiedad y motivación en corredores populares. Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte 17.1 (2017): 51-58.
  • Díaz, JF Jiménez, and Joaquín María López. Nutrición deportiva avanzada. (2013).
  • Lee, Duck-chul, et al. Running as a key lifestyle medicine for longevity. Progress in cardiovascular diseases 60.1 (2017): 45-55.
  • Szabo, Attila, and Júlia Ábrahám. The psychological benefits of recreational running: a field study. Psychology, health & medicine 18.3 (2013): 251-261.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.