A running list of reasons why running is the best

A disclaimer before you read this article: I am incredibly biased towards the benefits of running. I am a runner, and I absolutely love it. My unhappiest days are the days I don’t get a chance to run. I could write a novel about all the reasons I love running. But to better convince those non-avid runners out there, here’s some reasoning to back up my claim.

Running is the best full-body workout you can do. It tones your legs, glutes, abs, arms — basically everything. And as a weight-bearing exercise, it also strengthens your joints and bones, reducing your risk for osteoporosis. Runners also sleep better at night. A survey by the national sleep foundation in 2013 found a correlation between running and the quality of sleep. Even runners who only ran 10 minutes a day reported significantly better sleep at night.

Running is also good for your heart. Most people will say, duh! If you’re exercising and getting your heart rate up, obviously you’re getting fitter and strengthening your heart. But not only is running good for your physical heart, it’s good for your emotional heart and soul. Running relieves stress and puts you in a good mood. If you’ve ever experienced a runner’s high, you can thank endorphins and endocannabinoids for that. Both chemicals are naturally produced by your body while you run. Ironically, one endocannabinoid called anadamide, which your body produces while running, was discovered when scientists were studying the mood-enhancing effects of marijuana. The only difference between marijuana’s THC and your body’s endorphins/endocannabinoids is that runners produce their happiness naturally (and legally).

I’ve been taught that the first step out the door is the hardest one. If you can muster up the energy to start your run, the rest is easy and you’ll be on your way to better physical and emotional health in no time!

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Audrey Miller is a writer for The Lorian.

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