RUNNING IS THE NEW MEDITATION. This workout-spiritual coupling may sound oxymoronic since meditation conjures up the vision of a person sitting erect, stone-still with eyes closed. Most don’t associate meditation with running; yet, running allows you to be with the present. In an article to the Huffington Post, Jason Saltmarsh shared that once the physical self is worn out during runs, the inner self will surface, leaving the runner experiencing inner peace.
Running doesn’t only contribute to a strong and good-looking body. Perhaps unexpectedly, running also protects your mental health in a variety of ways. Let’s look at some of the areas where running benefits you, both physically and mentally:
Running for Ideas. Indeed, studies have shown that physical workouts enhance creative thinking. An investigation conducted at Netherlands’ University of Leiden found that those who work out habitually are more creative than their couch-potato counterparts.
Running to Sleep. A bunch of very bright people from Northwestern University’s Department of Neurology found out that physical activity enhances the quality of sleep. They took a group of sedentary adults with persistent insomnia, and made these folks exercise three days a week for 16 weeks. At the end of the research, these adults reported better sleep quality. Awesome!
Running from Depression. There are countless tales of how running fights and cures depression because of the feel-good brain chemicals – such as endorphins – it releases. Jessica Skarzynski had been suffering from anxiety for as long as she could recall. She started running to turn things around when her mum was diagnosed with breast cancer:
Running became my time to clear my head. It was almost better than therapy. And at the same time that I started to increase my mileage and really get into distance running, I was actually able to wean myself off of medication and therapy.
Running for Longevity. Life doesn’t have to be short. Not if you run. Over 1,000 healthy joggers and 3,950 healthy non-joggers were evaluated as part of the Copenhagen City Heart Study. And voila, the study found that people who are physically active have at least a 30% lower risk of death.
Running from Cancer. Get this. If you are physically active, you are least likely to develop cancer. Finnish researchers conducted a study with 2,560 men from Eastern Finland who had no history of cancer. Their findings? The more the men took part in leisure-time physical activities, the lower the risk of premature death caused by cancer. Wonderful news.
Running to Hear Better. You heard it right (pun intended). Exercise enhances circulation to the ear, delivering more nutrients to help preserve hearing. In one of his papers, Paul Loprinzi, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science in Bellarmine University discovered that women with higher cardiorespiratory fitness had better hearing function than less-fit females.
Running for your Heart. This is a no brainer. Activities that increase your heart rate are great for your heart, and this includes running. Do we hear you saying you have no time for your heart? Try accumulating physical activities in short periods throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. However, if you can spare some time to run, read this: running as little as 5 to 10 minutes a day may reduce the risk of death from heart disease.
Running to Breed. What is good for your heart is also great for your sex drive. A strong heart can effortlessly rise to the occasion – no pun intended this time – and increase blood flow, especially to the genitals. This increases sexual arousal. The more aroused you are, the more pleasurable sex is. And the more pleasurable sex it, the more you want to do it.
Running to Lose Weight. Need we say more here?
There is just a little caveat about running. In the same Copenhagen City Heart Study, it was uncovered that while moderate runners have lower mortality than the sedentary group, hardcore runners have the same mortality rate as the couch potatoes. Apparently, moderation is the key in running.