Why Run?

Photo Credit: Joe Mabel CC-BY-SA-3.0-migrated

Running is a high-impact exercise that can be exhausting and can cause injury. So why do people who want to get into shape run? People who run to stay in shape do so for a number of reasons, mostly because the health benefits outweigh the risk of injury. People who like to run to stay in shape burn more calories and work their heart and respiratory system harder than people who walk and jog. A runner can burn about 100 calories for every mile he or she runs. Walking, jogging and biking the same distance burns far fewer calories than running. Running 5 miles per day burns about 500 calories. Running does not require anything more than a safe place to run, comfortable clothes and a good pair of running shoes. 
If you decided to take up running to get into shape and lose weight, keep in mind that the important factor in burning calories and fat is not how fast you run, but how long your exercise. Running for 5 miles at a slower pace has a better overall health benefit in terms of weight loss, muscle strength and increased endurance than trying to set a personal record for the fastest time you can run one mile. Running exercises not only the muscles in your body, but your heart and lungs as well. Running can help lower your blood pressure, improve respiration and increase the flexibility of all of your major muscles. 
Runners often experience what is called “runner’s high” or a sense of euphoria associated with the brain’s release of endorphins when a person engages in intense exercise. The brain releases a chemical called betaendorphin in response to physical exertion. This chemical can cause the runner to experience a feeling similar to happiness and excitement. Balance your daily run with proper nutrition, strength increasing exercises and a balanced social life. 
After an invigorating run, you may not feel like eating. The chemicals released by your muscles and your brain may actually serve to suppress your appetite. It is important to balance exercise, rest and nutrition. Consume a high carbohydrate meal prior to running. Whole grain pasta or whole grain breads can help fulfill your body’s need for energy. Drink a glass of water and eat some fresh fruit and vegetables or drink a natural fruit/vegetable smoothie or juice following exercise. You need to replenish your body with nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, following an  intense workout. 

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