10 reasons for starting to run

Improving your life overall is one of the many benefits of starting to run.

If you have already embraced the runner lifestyle, you know that running has changed your life for the better. I found out soon after I started running that it is not just an exercise or pastime, but a way of life. If you have not yet started running, you must join us.  Like I have said in previous posts, I am not a “runner type,” meaning that I don’t have the long lean body of what you would normally think of when you hear the term marathon runner.  But hey, we don’t discriminate, runners come in all shapes and sizes. While I will probably never win the New York City Marathon, that doesn’t stop me from training and competing in it. To give you some additional motivation, I have compiled a list of 10 reasons for starting to run.

starting to run - strong lungs

1. Improve lung strength

It is a scientific fact that runners have increased lung capacity. This is, of course, due to the heavy consistent breathing over the many miles runners run.  The lungs will increase their capacity as you start a marathon training program, or as long as you continue to run on a regular basis.

2. High blood pressure prevention

As you start running, your arteries expand and contract, and blood pumps from your heart to the rest of your body. This helps to keep your arteries healthy and keeps your blood pressure in a normal healthy range. That is unless you listen to talk radio or podcasts while you run.  I started listening to political news while running which turned out to be a bad idea. As I listened to the stuff these clowns and jokers in Washington were doing, from the idiotic legislation to the vast amounts of pork-barrel spending, I think it probably increased my blood pressure.  But whatever gets you out there running, do it. 99% of the time it will help to prevent high blood pressure.

3. Strengthen immune system

Believe it or not, regular consistent running helps to build up your immune system and overall germ tolerance.  This results in fewer illnesses.  I noticed that while I was training for a marathon, even though my body was sore, I wasn’t even sick.  My kids would get the flu or the common cold, but I rarely did.  I attribute this to the strong immune system I gained from a regular running program. Or maybe it was that I was breastfed till I was 96 months?

4. Weight control

When starting to run you’ll burn a ton of calories.  And what happens when you burn a ton of calories? Your body wants cheesecake. Wait, what? Well, mine does.  That’s the downside to burning a lot of calories is that you can fall into the mental trap, “I ran this morning, I can eat whatever I want.”  This is not necessarily true. Within reason, sure.  You will see this especially when training for a marathon or half marathon. Running does not give you a free pass to eat all the food, all the time.  But as long as you eat in moderation, a piece of pizza or cheesecake, or pizza cheesecake (ooh… I’m on to something there),  is a good way to reward yourself for a long training run.

starting to run - strong legs

5. Strengthen legs

Runner’s legs are strong. When you run 20 miles per week up hills, speed work, and long training runs, your legs are bound to get stronger. The more you push the boundaries, the stronger your legs get. When you begin starting to run, you’ll get stronger legs.

6. Increase bone density

The constant pounding of running on pavement puts stress on your bones.  To control this, your body naturally creates essential minerals and sends them to the bones when under stress.  This process makes them stronger.  You may think that the opposite would be true, but the body is an amazing machine designed to keep you running.

7. Increase strength in joints and overall stability

The same way your bones are strengthened, running increases the strength of both your ligaments and tendons.  Over time, you will discover that your joints will be able to withstand more mileage and even more uneven terrain.  The crazy thing is that when I take time off from running I find that my joints are achier than when I’m in the middle of a training program running every day.

8. Stress relief

Running increases the serotonin level in your brain causing you to be calmer and more relaxed. For me, a long run is a great way to get away and think for a while. Some of my best thinking comes from early morning marathon training runs. Give it a shot and see if you don’t have a similar positive result.

9. Boost confidence

It is a fact, running makes you more beautiful.  At least that’s what the man in the mirror tells me. When starting to run, your self-confidence will grow.  It’s a mixture of early morning dew and serotonin that just improves your confidence.  I dare you to go out and try it and see if you don’t feel like you have magically become more handsome.

10. Improve mental health

Along with the confidence boost is an overall improvement in your mental health.   Runners tend to be happy people.  You will find that as you adopt the runner lifestyle, you will feel better physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.  See you on the road.