Thursday, June 7, 2012

Guest Post - Health Benefits of Running (not just Ultramarathons)


It's time for another UltramarathonRunning.com.au guest post, and this one is very timely given all the current negative articles in the press about the potential health risks associated with endurance sports. It's seems the media are keen to give people an excuse to not be active (whilst at the same time they broadcast warnings of the obesity epidemic!) That's my two cents, now here's Stacey's article...




Running is the basis for all physical activity. Not only will it help you become a better athlete in other sports, running can stand on its own and is a great exercise. Running has many great health benefits including weight loss, increased energy, improved bone density, better sleep and increased confidence. Here’s a deeper look at the health benefits of running:    


Weight Loss
When it comes to losing weight, running is one of the best things you can do. A South African study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in February 2010 concluded that your body burns fat at a higher rate during running than it does during cycling at about the same intensity. Because you have to carry all of your body weight with you when you run (opposed to sitting on a saddle), you get more of an all body workout. Running helps burn calories and melts fat and you can do it virtually anywhere.  


Increased Energy 
There’s a reason why the term “runner’s high” was coined. When you run endorphins are released into your brain which creates a feeling of happiness. So no matter how tired you are going for a run is the most natural way you can get a little boost of energy and a good feeling. 


Improved Bone Density
Move over milk, according to the U.S. Sports Academy, running is the most beneficial thing to you can to promote bone health.  Because running is a weight bearing activity it helps increase your bone density. The stresses and pressures it puts on your body are actually good for you because it makes you stronger. Be sure that if you are a beginner runner, you ease into it and listen to your body. 


Better Sleep 
Running and exercise in general has been said to help people fall asleep faster, get a deeper sleep and feel more refreshed when they wake up. This could be due to the fact that running is therapeutic.  Problematic thoughts seem to figure themselves out and running helps reduce stress in your life. A less stressful day means you’ll be able to sleep better at night. 


Confidence
Running is an individual lifetime sport. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and yourself. The more that you run, the more benefits you will reap and the more you will improve. Setting attainable goals and achieving them will help you build confidence that will carry into other parts of your life. By running, you will become more toned and fit. Stick to a running routine, invest in a healthy lifestyle and enjoy the short and long term benefits.  


Stacy Randall is a writer for the Nebraska Medical Center. She enjoys writing on topics in the health and fitness field. The Nebraska Medical Center is the largest healthcare facility in Nebraska and is known for its cancer (leukemia, lymphoma, etc) and heart treatment units as well as being the designated trauma unit 3 days a week.