Starting a running program is a great way to ease into increasing physical activity and jump-starting an exercise program. Research shows that just 30 minutes of running can have huge benefits on your short-term and long-term health. So it’s perhaps no surprise that running is strongly associated with many benefits for our bodies and brains. From better sleep to a healthier heart and improved mental health, the health benefits are extensive.
Here are five tips and benefits of starting a running program:
1. Weight loss
We all know that to lose weight, it’s essential to exercise. By adding 30-60 mins of moderate exercise three times per week, you will boost your metabolism, ultimately helping eliminate that unwanted belly fat. To maximize weight loss, try reducing your caloric intake by 200-300 calories per day and make sure to eat plenty of vegetables and protein.
2. Increased energy
Running increases blood flow, which carries oxygen to muscles. This allows them to produce more energy keeping you more alert throughout the day. It also stimulates chemicals in your body to keep you awake. Instead of drinking a cup of coffee, try going for a 20-30 min morning or lunchtime run to wake you up.
3. Improved mood
Besides giving you more confidence in the way you look, the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion found that exercising 30-60 mins per day three times per week increases endorphins (Dopamine and Serotonin) in the body, which helps make you feel happier. This can help reduce anxiety and depression.
4. Better sleep
There is nothing better than a good night’s sleep after a hard run. Research shows that people who perform 150 mins of exercise per week get a more restful night’s sleep. Rest is a significant and often overlooked component of a well-balanced exercise program. Eight hours of sleep will improve your metabolism and help your body recover from your training program so that you are refreshed and ready for your next run.
5. Progress to a more advanced exercise routine
If running a marathon seems like a daunting task, starting an easy running program of one to two miles a few times per week can help give you the confidence to increase your running frequency, speed, and overall time running. Before you know it, that marathon that seemed impossible may sound like your next bucket list item to tackle!
Preventing Running Injuries
No physical activity creates more overuse injuries than running. However, even those who may not be experiencing pain may have underlying factors that increase the likelihood of an injury happening in the future, and running injury can take the fun out of it! And there are things you can do to minimize the chance of an injury. ProActive Physical Therapy has developed a screening and injury prevention system tailored to the individual being tested. Our goal of being “ProActive” is to identify the risk factor and make the correct preventative intervention possible BEFORE the injury happens.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort from your exercise program or would like to visit a ProActive Physical Therapy Clinic for a free injury assessment or injury prevention screening, follow this link to schedule an appointment at any one of our many Tucson locations.