Fitness and Training

Health Benefits of Running

There’s a reason running remains a popular form of cardio: The health benefits — mental and physical — are numerous.

Even medical professionals are fans: “Running is how I find peace and relaxation. Although I’ve done multiple marathons, it’s really on the everyday runs that I see the most benefits emotionally, and it just keeps me healthy overall,” says Bryant Walrod, MD, a sports medicine specialist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

If you’re not running currently and you want to get started, Dr. Walrod emphasizes the importance of integrating the sport gradually into your exercise routine to build up stamina and strength — and avoid injury.

And if you have any health conditions, particularly heart issues, talk to your doctor before starting, Walrod adds. Learn what health perks running offers and why it’s a worthwhile addition to your fitness routine.


Running Builds Cardiovascular Fitness
One of running’s biggest claims to fame is its ability to boost aerobic or cardiovascular fitness, which the Cleveland Clinic defines as how well your heart and lungs can supply the oxygen you need to exercise at medium to high intensity. Aerobic fitness is often measured by VO2 max, or the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise.

A higher VO2 max typically is a sign of greater fitness.
Running, like other forms of cardio, forces your heart and lungs to deliver more oxygen to the bloodstream and muscles than they do at rest. The more you run, the more efficient your heart and lungs become.[3] This not only helps you run longer and faster but also makes everyday aerobic activities like walking and climbing stairs feel more effortless.


For example, a systematic review and meta-analysis of 22 trials found that running can help lower blood pressure in people with chronic high blood pressure (hypertension). However, the greatest results were from running at a moderate pace and lower volume (total running time or mileage)
In addition, a large-scale study that used data collected from more 55,000 adults over the course of 15 years found that runners were 45 percent less likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than nonrunners. Even running fewer than six miles per week was enough to lower risk, compared with not running.

Source: everydayhealth

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