7 surprising benefits of running

Running benefits you weren’t even aware of

We all know running is great for losing weight and boosting your fitness, but what about some of its lesser known benefits? From increased bedroom performance to being better at your job, here are seven of the most surprising benefits of running.

Improve your career

Want to improve your career prospects? Running is the answer. Research carried out at Rhode Island College found that exercise such as running boosts creativity and concentration by increasing brain activity for up to two hours after a workout. This means going out for a run in the morning really is the perfect start to the working day. A similar study into people in training for the New York Marathon found the planning and dedication required for running improve people’s ability to effectively set goals, organise their time, and stay disciplined.

Cure insomnia

If you have trouble getting enough sleep at night, running could be the solution you have been looking for. A study from Northwestern Medicine found that regular running can lessen and eventually cure insomnia. As well as helping people fall asleep faster, running also improves both length and quality of sleep. As you’d expect this is partly due to the tiring effects of running, but it also serves to relax muscles after the post-endorphin boost and helps to create more efficient energy levels amongst regular runners.

Alleviate depression

A review carried out at Harvard University concluded that cardiovascular exercise such as running can improve the mood of those with mild or moderate depression. This is because of the endorphins that are released when running, commonly referred to as the ‘runner’s high’. Even in cases of severe depression, exercise can be used as a training method to gradually alleviate the severity of the depression. This could even replace the need for the use of antidepressant drugs in cases where people respond particularly well to running.

Improve your joints

No doubt you’ll have heard that the high impact nature of running is bad for your joints, so you’ll be happy to hear the opposite is actually true. Although these injuries are common amongst runners, in the long run runners are in fact less likely to develop osteoarthritis in their joints. Weight loss associated with running is of course a big factor in this. However, running also helps to develop joint and muscle strength, and in the long run this helps to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis.

Improve your sex life

That’s right – running that extra lap could get your motor running in the bedroom as well. One reason for this sex life improvement the self-confidence developed by regularly running, in terms of both your body image and energy levels. Studies have backed this up. Research carried out by the Endocrine Society found that running can increase the production of testosterone in men, as well as decrease instances of hypogonadism, a condition linked to erectile dysfunction and a lowered sex drive. Libido also increases in men as a result of the weight loss caused by running, as a loss of abdominal fat means more blood is able to flow to the penis.

Slow ageing

There’s no miracle cure for growing older, but running certainly can slow the process down somewhat. Archives of Internal Medicine published a study which showed elderly people who regularly jogged were around half as likely to die prematurely from diseases such as cancer than those who didn’t run. As well as improvements in heart health, those in the study who were regular runners had healthier joints, were less likely to suffer from neurological diseases and infections. The older members of the study were only running for around 80 minutes a week, but this still left them better off than their sedentary counterparts.

Boost your immune system

Runners are generally less likely to become ill, suffer from viruses and infections, and take days off work due to illness. This is because of the immune system boosting effects of running. Running clears the lungs of airborne bacteria, halts the growth of bacteria through increased body temperature, and improves the circulation of protective cells throughout the body. However, overtraining can actually have the opposite effect on your immune system, so make sure you’re not overdoing it.

Now that you know some of running’s more surprising benefits, why not check out some of the more conventional fitness benefits of running?

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