5 reasons to run
Run your way to a slimmer body, longer life and better moodBy Erin Phelan
1.You’ll lose weight
Running will help you shed pounds—simple as that. The number of calories burned depends on body weight and type, but a 120-pound woman who runs for 30 minutes at a comfortable pace (8 km/h) will burn roughly 230 calories.
2. You’ll boost cardiovascular ability
When we run, our arteries expand and contract roughly three times as much as they do when we are sedentary, which improves our cardiovascular system and makes our blood flow more efficiently. Running helps improve heart health in other ways: Studies show it increases HDL cholesterol (the good kind), helping arteries maintain elasticity, reducing plaque formation and lowering blood pressure.
3. You’ll slow the aging process
As we age, we experience muscle and bone loss. Running places demands on a number of muscles in the body, strengthening them and therefore better protecting the bones, which can help you fend off osteoporosis. As for “runner’s knee,” it’s a very common injury. “I sometimes see five to 10 a day,” says Dr. Chris Woollam, a sports physician with Athlete's Care and medical director for the Toronto and Mississauga marathons. “It can be caused by a misalignment of the knees, poor muscular development or bad shoes.” Rest the injury, make sure you’re running in proper shoes, then get back on the road. If the problem persists, see a sports physician.
4. Your stress levels will drop
Almost all runners say that nothing takes away stress like a good run. Running allows you to stay focused on a goal, and is said to release alpha waves in your brain, leaving you feeling relaxed.
5. Your mood will lift
Ever heard of the “runner’s high”? It’s no myth. John Stanton, president of the Running Room, puts it simply: “I feel great because I run. Runners sleep better, make better decisions about nutrition and start thinking like athletes.”
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Best Health Magazine, Summer 2008