Thursday, June 7, 2012

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

It's time for another 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. 

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. 


  1. Great article, thanks! I need this as ammo for all those around me that continuously shoot me down because of my running.

    1. I agree, I'm sick of being told of the possible health dangers of being active, and yet I get shouted down when I remind them of the guaranteed health implications of sitting on the couch doing nothing!

  2. Hi,

    nice article. One thing I was surprised about is the "move over milk" ... Im sure the saying holds, but why is the milk included in any way? What the marketing machinery behing dairy hides is that studies show that milk actually induces a state of lack of calcium and thus reduces bone strength; so why the hell does milk always come up when its about these health issues?

    1. Thanks Andi, I think milk is always used as a stock standard dietary source of calcium and that's probably why it was used in this instance. You make a good point and it would be interesting to see the research on that topic as another potential article.

    2. Hey Andy, sounds like an awesome idea! This whole area is a good reason to get a blog going. If you need some hints at papers regarding this, I might be able to help out.

  3. Aside from walking, running is also one of the best exercise, though our body will be exhausted if we do the activity for a long time. Running can improve our stamina as well as our leg muscles but before we involve ourselves to this kind of activity, better yet to do a check up so that we can be sure, our body can sustain the activity.