Fitness: Eight Reasons Why Running Is Great For You

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Michael Ryan 1Michael Ryan of RnR Fitness, Tralee, on running…

Running is an ancient sport and has it origins as far back as 490BC when Pheidippides ran the first ever marathon as a wartime messenger for the Greeks.

It is a very primal and effective form of exercise and one to which we can all relate to. We all have, in one form or another, run to some degree in the past, whether it was as a child in the playground, participating in sports growing up or as a from of exercise you enjoyed in the past.

There have been many momentous occasions in the sport of running down through the years, from Roger Bannister breaking the first ever four minute mile in 1954, to Adebe Bikila winning the 1960 Rome Olympic marathon while barefoot to, Usain Bolt becoming the fastest man of all time, winning the 2008 Bejiing Olympic 100m Final in a time of 9:58.

However despite this, running is often overlooked and often lost in the mirage of the latest fitness “trends” and “modern concepts” that have emerged in recent times.

I believe it’s no bad thing to return to basics from time to time. Below is a list of 8 reasons to dust off those running shoes…

1. Reduces Certain Diseases

Running is the most effective cardio/respiratory form of exercise there is. It reduces your risk of heart attacks and stroke by strengthening the muscles of the heart and helping to reduce blood pressure.

2. Releases Feel Good Hormones

While running, your brain releases a feelgood hormone called Serotonin from the pituitary gland. It diminishes the feeling of pain and stress often known as runners high.

3. Slows The Body Aging Process

Running prevents muscle and bone loss, by releasing a hormone called Growth Hormone, which actually improves muscle tone and bone density. It helps prevents such diseases such as osteoporosis.

4. Better Night’s Sleep

Research suggests that those who run as a form of exercise sleep longer and deeper, than those that didn’t. A good night’s sleep, helps the rest and recovery phase of any exercise programme.

5. Primal Co-ordinating Movement

Running is a very primal movement. It helps correct and improve posture, balance and co-ordination, especially cross country running as you work to balance your body against the terrain

6. Improves Your Sex Life

Research carried out by Harvard University found that men who run at least 3 hours a week were 30% less likely to suffer from impotence than those that did little or no running, by increasing and improving vascular health.

7. Muscle and Endurance 

Running, especially over shorter distances, helps build leg muscle which includes your Quadriceps, Calves, Hamstrings and Glutes. Sprinting strengthens your abdominals and oblique muscles, while running with upper body resistance such as wrist weights helps strengthen your arms and upper body.

8. Fights Against Memory Loss

Some research suggests that running can help prevent and fight off memory loss, especially amongst the older population. Brain- Derived Neurotrophic Factor or (BDNF) is a neurotransmitter released in the brain when you run, which helps improve brain health, function and memory, as well as fight against depression.

• Michael Ryan is part of RnR Fitness: Qualified and Certified Personal, Trainers, Fitness Instructors and Sports Nutrition Consultants. See their Facebook page here

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