Is Running the best exercise?
Activities that human beings do, running is the closest natural process after breathing. Running is simple, adaptable and versatile form of exercising, which suits every body type, age and sex. Many kinds of exercise are effective for weight loss, but running scores high on quick and effective results.
In a 2012 study, Paul Williams, of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, found runners were leaner and lighter than men and women who did equivalent amounts of any other type of exercise. The main reason seems to be that people typically burn more calories per minute while running, than while swimming, riding a bike or anything else.
Running has tremendous after-burn effect
Doing any exercise regularly will help you lose weight, but only a few exercises will continue to burn calories even after you finish working out. High-intensity running, like hill repeats and interval runs can continue to burn calories up to 48 hours after you work out. This is because running uses many muscles and need more energy afterwards to recover. This is called ‘the after-burn effect’.
10 facts why running is one of the best exercises:
- Weight loss – combine running with a healthy diet to create a calorie deficit, this can help you achieve your weight loss goals quicker. A calorie deficit essentially means that you are burning more calories than you consume. So it’s important to fill your diet with lower-calorie foods that make you feel full.
- Boost to metabolism – running is one of the most effective ways to rev up your metabolism. Aerobic activity, such as running on a regular basis, can increase your metabolism, as it burns more calories for energy, compared to any other form of exercise.
- De-stressor – running can control stress and boost the body’s ability to deal with existing mental tension. It also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that helps moderate the brain’s response to stress, the sunshine vitamin. In addition brain releases a chemical called endorphins, which is behind “runner’s high,” a short-lasting, deeply euphoric state.
- Nature therapy – there is a strong connection between time spent in nature leading to reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. In a 2015 study, researchers compared the brain activity of healthy people after they ran in either a natural setting or an urban one. They found that, those who did a nature run had lower negative emotions, compared to people who ran in gyms or other urban areas.
- Community builder – there are many groups popping up in each city where runners meet up for a run. A whole new world of camaraderie and support is opened up for runners. Sports has always brought people together, running is just something which provides more time, creativity and opportunities to connect with like minded people.
- Confidence builder – one way running helps you build loads of self-esteem is by turning negative thoughts into positive ones. Running also boosts self-esteem as you gain more experience. With time you start running marathons and the feeling of euphoria and achievement at the finish line is unmatched to any other sport. Over time this feeling of accomplishment spills over into other areas, inspiring you to take new challenges and tasks in life.
- Meditative – running is a mental sport, no matter how hard you train, in the end it is your mental strength that helps you reach the finish line. Research has shown that a consistent meditation practice can help reduce anxiety, depression and stress. Lot of runners claim that running is meditative process where you concentrate on your breathe and keep doing the same for a very long time.
- Improves body posture – running is a great cardio exercise to get your body in shape. Combine it with strength and flexibility training and you can achieve maximum benefits. Running is very good for creating an upright, tall posture as it trims down your waist, strengthens your back, chest, shoulders, quads and calve muscles. It requires multiple muscle groups working hard and simultaneously, hence giving your entire body an overhaul.
- Cost effective – most of the other workouts have high cost to entry. You need some equipment or a dedicated area, like a pool, a bike, a gym and a six figure salary, to get started. But for a run you just need a good pair of running shoes. A good playlist and a friend could be an added frill, but other than this you are all set for health and fitness.
- Location agnostic – This has been the secret to my good health. No matter which city, state or country i’m in, I can always workout. You can run in hot or cold weather, in snow or rain, desert or plains, location will never a barrier in your fitness regime.
In addition to everything, it is one of the best ways to explore a city. You get to see places that a tourist guide will not take you to.
Running is therapeutic, it increases endurance, builds muscles for an optimal body fat composition, promotes cardiovascular health and improves overall mood. Combined with weight and flexibility training, running is an unbeatable sport for physical fitness and mental peace. A report by Harvard University compared the calories burned over 30 minutes, by people at three different weight groups, and they found similar results. Hence you don’t have to be a pro runner to start, just put on your running shoes and enjoy the runner’s high.