With the threat of germs constantly on our minds, more and more people are taking up sports they can practice outside the confines of a fitness center. Take a closer look the next time you’re out and you’ll notice your once empty neighborhood streets spotted with joggers out for a run at all times of the day.
Whether you’re looking to enjoy a leisurely jog or hope to crush last week’s sprint time, running is the perfect activity for our new, Coronavirus-plagued world.
In addition to being a mostly solo, and therefore germ-free sport, running has a long list of health benefits that have been long touted by medical experts. From boosting lung power to increasing lifespan to strengthening bones, regular bouts of jogging have been proven to do wonders for your overall wellbeing.
Not a runner? No worries, it’s an easy activity to pick up. Plus, the only equipment required is a pair of comfy (and well-cushioned) sneakers. And if you’re looking for pals to join in the fun, join our Tuesday Vital Run Group. Get details via our Instagram page or by calling us at (203) 428-4554!
Have a nagging injury that makes running painful? Check with a physical therapist (we have fabulous PTs in our office at Advanced Health Professionals). They’ll help you strengthen the muscles to blame for your problems and get you back to the track or on the road safely. Our fab PTs can also offer tips on the safest way to run.
In the meantime, check out these 5 health benefits of running. Then, tighten your laces and hit the pavement. On your marks, get set, run!
- Reduce the Risk of Germ Exposure. Running outside helps you avoid the risk of picking up germs from the gym. A recent study published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases found staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria responsible for causing one of the five most common causes of infection in every fitness facility that was tested. MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacterium, was also present. The bacteria were found most commonly on the weight ball (62.5%), cable-driven bar and CrossFit box (62.5%), and the handlebar of the treadmill (50%).
- Boost Lung Power. Did you know that your lungs are fully developed by the time you turn 25? After that point, they will continue to operate at their maximum capacity for nearly 10 years (as long as you’re healthy). As time passes, however, your lungs begin to slowly decline. According to an article published by Harvard Men’s Health Watch, we’ve lost close to a liter of our lung capacity by the time we hit 65. And it’s all downhill from there. Don’t worry, there is good news. Regular aerobic exercise like running can increase your lung capacity and help you to take deeper, fuller breaths. To get even more benefit, try boosting the resistance in your workout. Carry weights on your run, set the treadmill to an incline, or jog uphill.
- Improve Cholesterol. Keeping cholesterol levels in check can be tough, especially if you’re a fan of chips and ice cream. Don’t despair! It turns out that running is one of the best exercises for reducing levels of HDL (a.k.a. “bad”) cholesterol. Researchers of a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that long-distance runners showed healthier improvements in their HDL cholesterol levels than those who ran for less than 10 miles a week. Not a full-fledged runner? No worries. Lightly jogging for a few miles can have a similar, although not as drastic, an effect.
- Increase Self-Confidence. There are few better feelings than reaching a goal. Whether you’d be happy hitting the quarter-mile mark or want to place amongst the top 10 in your first race, setting (and achieving) a running goal can do wonders for your self-esteem. Since running can also result in weight loss, this reduction in BMI and pounds can further boost a person’s feelings of self-satisfaction.
- Boost Bones. You don’t need to be out for long to reap the bone benefits of running. According to a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, high-intensity running for 1 to 2 minutes in pre-menopausal women or jogging slowly for the same amount of time in post-menopausal women, improves bone health.