Studies show that any exercise can have serious long-term health benefits. Running long distances is one option among many, but there are several reasons you may want to start running further. Read the information below if you think you may want to venture into the world of long-distance running.
1. Calms the Mind
Although people may think that long-distance running is a very intense workout, the opposite is normally true. You can work at your own pace and use the time to take in your surroundings and think about anything weighing on your mind. Low-intensity workouts benefit the body in the same way that higher-intensity workouts do but provide the added bonus of calming your mind. Top-level executives like David Geithner of On Location train for marathons and other races as a way to unwind from the stress of their careers.
2. Helps You Explore
Avid runners get out and explore no matter where they are. Whether they are close to home or abroad, runners often see the world in a way that many others do not. At home, they have the chance to see their neighborhood and surrounding areas at a slower pace than they would in the car and observe things (such as new neighbors or buildings) that they may not otherwise have noticed. When traveling, you may notice a lovely cafe or restaurant off the beaten path that you would not have discovered if you hadn’t been out for a run.
3. Improved Sleep Quality
The majority of runners prefer to lace up their running shoes and head out in the morning. This raises your cortisol levels by exposing your eyes to bright light earlier in the day which in turn sets your internal clock to feel sleepy at your body’s optimal bedtime. As noted above, running grants people an overall sense of calm that is evidenced in their ability to fall right to sleep at night rather than tossing and turning thinking of tomorrow’s challenges. One other surprising benefit of running is that it can help fight insomnia as balance exercises (runners are continuously balancing on one foot often in uneven terrain) are proven to do.
4. Increased Lung Capacity
Running requires large breath intakes to power muscles to continue, which in turn works a person’s diaphragm more than it would at rest. This can be beneficial as you age because your body may need to work less than a nonrunner’s to breathe through workouts or even long walks. Additionally, it is highly possible that healthy muscles (resulting from frequent running) need smaller amounts of oxygen to function. This means running reduces the amount of oxygen your body must intake and carry to your muscles.
Any exercise you can fit into your busy lifestyle will no doubt add to your overall health and happiness. Long-distance running has a multitude of health benefits including calming the mind, helping you explore, improving sleep quality and increasing your lung capacity. If you’ve never tried it, why not give it a whirl?