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Running for Your Health – The Physical Benefits of Running

Concerned with your recent weight gain and the family health history, you’ve thought about dieting and exercising but just haven’t made the time. You’ve heard that running is good for you but will it take care of those issues on your doctors list of concerns.

Here are the top physical benefits of running.

1. Cardiovascular Health: Your cardiovascular system is made up of your heart, the arteries that bring fresh oxygenated blood and nutrients to the tissues and the veins that remove carbon dioxide and wastes from your body.

Running has been shown to make your arteries more elastic which reduces blood pressure. Lowering your blood pressure lowers your risk of stroke, heart attack and other types of heart disease.

The physical aspects of running also strengthen your heart itself. This will help to protect your heart from cardiovascular disease as well as making everything you do – from climbing stairs, shopping or playing with children – physically much easier.

2. Another important aspect of cardiovascular health is your lungs. Runners in general have much healthier lungs than people who don’t exercise.

Those healthy lungs mean more oxygen to your blood and vital organs. You will also develop more capillaries – those tiny little blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to each cell in your body – meaning physical activity won’t feel as difficult.

3. Weight Management: People engaged in any kind of physical activity have a much easier time managing their weight than their sedentary counterparts.

The weight game is basically a balance between calories consumed and calories burned. Simply put, if you eat more calories than you burn, you’re going to gain weight. And if you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight. It’s as simple as that.

Since running is one of the top calorie burning activities around – it burns more calories per hour than virtually anything except cross-country skiing, mixed martial arts and synchronized swimming – it’s also one of the most effective ways of managing your weight.

Besides, you don’t need any specialized equipment except for a pair of shoes and you can do it virtually anywhere.

4. Stronger Bones: Osteoporosis is a disease that wastes the bones as calcium leaches out faster than it is replaced. There are many complex processes at work in this degenerative disease, but lack of physical activity has been implicated as a contributing factor.

As an impact sport, one might think that running could cause more problems for bones than it solves but medical evidence paints a different picture. You see, the physical impact that running places on your body will cause your body to increase bone density in order to protect it.

So running can prevent and even reverse osteoporosis avoiding unnecessary and painful breaks and keeping you off medicine.

5. Diabetes: Type 2 Diabetes – and its precursor condition Metabolic Syndrome – cause many health problems in adults and, increasingly, in our youth. The body’s inability to manage insulin and blood sugar levels causes heart disease, circulatory problems, kidney failure, blindness and early death.

While diet has been shown to be a major factor causing the development of diabetes, lack of physical activity is almost always a factor.

Running as part of a physical fitness regime has been demonstrated to prevent or even reverse this terrible disease. Running as little as 20-30 minutes a day, 3 times a week can help keep your blood sugars and insulin levels in a healthy range.

6. Longer Life: Because running can prevent all of the above conditions, it should definitely be in your health management tool kit. Preventing any one of these life-limiting conditions makes running a sensible choice.

However, there’s even a better reason: running increases the natural production of human growth hormone (HGH). Aging takes away muscle mass and bone strength. HGH stimulates the production of muscle production and strengthens our skeletal system.