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The Health and Wellness Benefits of Running

people running

Running is one of the most popular sports that people take part in worldwide, and you might wonder why. Isn’t running boring, bad for your joints, and just plain difficult? We’re here to tell you that despite the sometimes not so great things we hear about running, it’s an extremely accessible activity with some wonderful benefits for your overall health and wellbeing.  

Did you know that running is one of the easiest sports to get into? All you need is yourself and a pair of sneakers. You can also run almost anywhere, from the road to the track, park to the trails, there are plenty of options when it comes to places to jog. Just in case you weren’t convinced that running can be done almost anywhere, in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdowns, a man in France decided to run a full marathon (26.2 miles), on his seven-meter balcony.  

Running has some incredible health benefits too. The “Journal of the American College of Cardiology cites that running could reduce your risk of death of heart disease by 45%. Have you been told that running is tough on your joints? “The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery” found that knee and hip arthritis is actually lower in active marathon runners compared to people that don’t run. Running also helps strengthen your bones, which is extremely important, especially as we age. 

We can’t talk about running without mentioning the positive effects it has on mental health. While running isn’t a cure for disorders like anxiety and depression, it can help regulate your emotions and boost your mood. How? Running increases blood circulation to the part of the brain that handles stress and mood, which means that going for even just a short run or jog can help temporarily improve your mood.  

It’s also a great way to get outside and meet some new friends! Runners are known for being a friendly and welcoming community, and most towns and cities have clubs and groups for people of all running levels. If you’re worried about staying motivated while running or find running by yourself boring, joining a running club is a great way of having a support system and meeting new people along the way. Here’s some info on how to find the right running club for you.  

As with most forms of exercise, there are some things to keep in mind before you head out the door for a run:  

  • Make sure you have a shoe designed for running. This will help prevent any potential injuries along the way. Your local running store is a great place to start.  
  • If you’re running early in the morning or late at night, reflective gear is helpful to alert any cars around that there is someone on the road.  
  • Eat a light snack or meal 2-3 hours before a run.  
  • Hydrate! It’s good to drink about 16 ounces of water two hours before running and at least 16 ounces of water after running. During the summer, it’s always a good idea to have some water on you in case of dehydration.  
  • While it’s always good to wear sunscreen, runners that are outdoors for a long period of time should remember to apply SPF before every run – especially in the summer months. 
  • Please consult your physician prior to running to ensure that this type of exercise is the right choice for you and your health.  

As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to the Friday Care Crew at our contact page