June 4th is National Running Day, so lace up those sneakers and hit the road! If you’re already a runner, encourage a friend to join you on your next jog. If you don’t run, National Running Day is a great time to start. Here are just 5 of the benefits of adding running to your routine:
1. Increased Bone Density - As we age, we tend to lose bone mineral density (BMD). This causes our bones to become brittle and more susceptible to fracture. According to Pam Hinton, Associate Professor at the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology in the Missouri University College of Human Environmental Sciences, “Both resistance training and high-impact endurance activities increase bone mineral density. However, high-impact sports, like running, appear to have a greater beneficial effect.”
2. Increased Knee Strength – Contrary to what you may have heard, if you have healthy knees and are not more than 20 pounds overweight, running should not damage or weaken your knees. In fact, studies suggest that running at a moderate pace for about 40 minutes, five days a week, can actually help stave off osteoarthritis and strengthen the knees.
3. Healthy Cholesterol Levels – High LDL (“bad cholesterol”) is a major cardiac risk factor because it can get lodged in the arteries and cause heart attack and stroke. Running has been shown to not only lower LDL levels, but also raise your HDL (“good cholesterol”) levels, keeping your heart healthy and strong.
4. Better Mood – Running has long been known to flood the system with the feel-good hormones known as endocannabinoids, creating an effect commonly referred to as a “runner’s high.” This is hardly trivial considering the fact that, after some investigation, “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 disorder” (RunnersWorld.com).
5. Longer life – If you hadn’t already guessed from the above facts, runners can increase their lifespan by years. According to a 35-year study of 20,000 Copenhagen residents, people who run just a few miles per week at a moderate pace live an average of six years longer than those who do not (RunnersWorld.com).
So, if you want to add years to your life and life to your years, grab a water bottle and friend and take a 30 minute run on June 4th. And 5th. And 6th…