The benefits of running every day seem evident, to run regularly brings enormous advantages for any person. The benefits are evident to all: thinner and fitter bodies, higher resistance, improvement of cardiovascular constants, greater strength, agility, and flexibility, among many others. But recent studies carried out by prestigious universities around the world have gone further, showing that running brings a series of surprising benefits for the body, which until now were not associated with the practice of running.
Physical and psychological benefits
Physical benefits of running
When we are going to run, we increase our heart and respiratory rate.
Running frequently drastically decreases the risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases.
A scientific study conducted in 55,137 adults between 18 and 100 years of age, reveals that adults who ran with a certain frequency, compared to those who did, not had up to 45% less risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and also had 3 more years of life expectancy.
Psychological benefits of running
When we run, we generate more endorphins.
Endorphins are substances (neurotransmitters) that are produced in our central nervous system and produce sensations of well-being. Also, they reduce our feelings of pain and delay fatigue.
In short, endorphins “give us the batteries”, make us feel happier and feel like doing more things.
7 Benefits Of Running Daily
1. Running improves brain activity
A study conducted by the University of South Carolina found that physical exercise can increase the number of mitochondria not only in the muscles but also in the brain.
Mitochondria generate energy for the functioning of cells, so muscles whose fibers have more mitochondria, feel less fatigue and therefore have more resistance.
Similarly, the increased biogenesis of mitochondria in brain cells may also help to prevent fatigue, but it is also potentially capable of decreasing the risk of suffering from various diseases of the central nervous system and certain dementias, often characterized by scarcity in the function of mitochondria.
Additionally, this increase in mitochondria in the brain can help you think better or more clearly, according to Dr. Davis, co-author of the study.
Fortunately, it is not necessary to run marathons to obtain these benefits. Jogging for 30 minutes daily for a few weeks is enough to stimulate the formation of new mitochondria and thus improve the functioning of your neurons.
2. Avoid depression
There are many reasons why going for a run can help you feel better. But one of them is that moderate physical exercise stimulates the expression of a gene that has a significant antidepressant effect.
According to data from a study conducted by Yale University, mice that ran on their wheel 3 km every night for a week, had markedly increased the expression of VGF gene (among others), which had a significant antidepressant effect in comparison with mice that remained sedentary.
The identification of the VGF gene is one of the possible explanations of why physical exercise can function as an antidepressant, which until now was not very clear.
Besides, running increases the production of endorphins and certain neurotransmitters that promote the feeling of general well-being. Many people in the study mentioned having experienced a sense of “euphoria” when running, due to the secretion of beta-endorphins, which are natural opiates.
On the other hand, there is also scientific evidence that shows that the habit of running increases the secretion of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. These substances are neurotransmitters known for their essential and beneficial influence on mood.
3. Help prevent cancer
Did you know that one of the benefits of running, is that it can reduce the risk of colon cancer, breast, prostate and lung cancer, and that it can also increase the survival rate in people who already have cancer?
Colon cancer is one of the most studied types of cancer, in terms of its relationship with physical exercise, having made more than 50 investigations in this regard.
The results of these studies allow us to affirm that people who increase their physical activity, in duration, intensity or frequency, can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer by 30% or 40%, compared to those who lead a sedentary life, no matter your body mass index is.
The more active the person is, the lower the risk of suffering from this type of cancer. It is recommended to go jogging or running for 30 to 60 minutes daily; is just what is needed to make the most of this benefit.
As for breast cancer, something similar happens. More than 60 studies conducted in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia show that women who are more active and exercise frequently have a lower risk of breast cancer.
On the other hand, those who go out to run frequently can also reduce the risk of lung cancer. This has been demonstrated by 21 scientific investigations that show a 20% reduction in the risk of developing this disease in individuals who perform vigorous physical exercise.
Although it is not clear what the mechanism is, the studies carried out also showed that those who go out to run or perform moderate physical exercise can reduce the probability of suffering from prostate cancer, possibly due to hormonal changes, stimulation of immunity and antioxidant effects, among others.
Finally, physical exercise has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on people suffering from cancer. In a study, going for a run or walking increased the survival rate in women with breast cancer, also improving the feeling of well-being in patients and favouring the prognosis of the evolution of the disease.
Also, running may increase the survival rate among people diagnosed with colon cancer. People who started exercising after diagnosis had a lower risk of recurrence, and in this group, the survival rate improved.
4. Avoid arthritis
Although running has a significant impact on the knees and other joints, there is no evidence that running increases the risk of arthritis, quite the contrary.
People who run usually have less risk of suffering from this condition, according to the results of a study conducted in 75,000 runners.
Researchers at the University of Queens in Kingston, Ontario, dedicated to studying the causes of this effect found that those who run actually cause a smaller net impact on their knees, compared to those who walk.
When running, you need a smaller amount of strides to travel a certain distance. Although the force exerted on the knees is higher than when walking, as the impact is performed a lower number of times, this could favour the health of the knees in the long term.
In addition, some data suggest that the cartilage of the knee joint could be strengthened when running, which would also help to avoid arthritis.
5. Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects millions of people around the world. Recent studies indicate that going for a run helps increase bone mineral density, thus avoiding the lack of calcium that causes osteoporosis.
Research carried out by scientists at the University of Missouri has found that high-impact activities such as running or jogging have a positive effect on bone mineral density.
It should also be taken into account that the bones that suffer most from the stress of exercise are those that will be strengthened. In the case of runners, the legs and hips would be the bones that increase their density.
Dynamic exercises in which intense, high impact and multi-directional forces are applied, as in football or basketball, are also good options for strengthening bones and decreasing the risk of osteoporosis.
6. Avoid cardiovascular diseases
Do you think you do not have time to do an exercise that effectively improves your health? Well, look at this news: a recent study reveals that running only 5 to 10 minutes a day can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
A group of researchers conducted a study in 55,000 adults in the United States, aged between 18 and 100 years. A quarter of this group were runners, while the rest were not.
The study revealed that after some years, runners had a 45% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases and also had 30% less mortality from any cause.
And the most surprising thing is that those who ran longer, for example, more than two hours per week, obtained the same benefits as those who spent just a few minutes per day.
Running is a better option than walking because the health benefits can be achieved more quickly running, says Lee, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Iowa State University who conducted the study.
7. Prevents premature ageing
Running also helps prevent premature ageing of all tissues, according to a study whose results were published in 2011 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The research was carried out in mice and showed that the group of rodents that ran in their wheel for 45 minutes three times a week showed a higher amount of mitochondria in practically all their organs and tissues, in comparison with those that did not exercise.
After a few weeks, the mice that ran looked younger and more active than those that did not. This may explain why exercise is also able to reduce the risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure or colon cancer in humans, diseases associated with tissue ageing.
Even if you only meet the minimum recommended physical activity (30 minutes, five times a week), you will live longer. A study published in the journal PLOS Medicine found that when people started exercising, they lived longer. The smokers who decided to exercise added 4 years to their lives.
So now you know, going for a run two or three times a week, or maybe a few minutes a day can have a very positive effect on your health.