It’s a new year, albeit a slightly odd start with what’s going on in the world at the moment. However, the New Year resolutions of becoming fit and healthy are still as popular as ever, but with gyms currently closed how can you become the fittest, healthiest version of yourself?
Well, you can run! Let me give you the ‘run down’ why!
Whether you’re the new running kid on the block, or if your 5K time won’t budge under the 30 minute mark, we all have to start somewhere. The benefits of running go deeper than physical fitness - your heart, mind and bones will also thank you for it.
1. A healthy heart
According to the American Journal of Cardiology, running is the best form of exercise for improving heart health. It helps reduce your resting heart rate and increases the maximum amount of oxygen uptake. All these benefits contribute to improving the overall efficiency of the heart.
2. Balance and stability
When running, your body is constantly stabilising your joints as you move, as well as cushioning each landing which can be up to 3 times your bodyweight! Running is essentially a series of single leg bounds repeated over and over very quickly, which when you think about it is an incredible act we ask our bodies to do. Never think it is ‘just a run’!
3. Mental health
Running can also reduce the symptoms of depression, can improve memory, alleviate anxiety and help you relax. I’m sure you can agree we could all do with these benefits, especially with all the uncertainty at the moment.
4. Healthy habits
Running helps you sleep better, increases creative thinking and reduces cravings for unhealthy food. If you’re exercising regularly, this will generally lead you to make better food choices which will inevitably contribute to achieving your health and fitness goals.
5. Fat burning
Running is arguably the best form of cardiovascular fitness because of how it increases your heart rate. This increased heart rate is because our muscles are constantly asking the heart to send rich oxygenated-blood around the whole body at a very fast pace. This requires a lot of energy which in turn burns more calories.
Here are a few other tools I recommend which you may find useful in your 'running arsenal':
- A phone armband. I have used A LOT and have found Quad Lock's is the best quality: https://www.quadlockcase.co.uk/products/quad-lock-sports-arm-band?variant=331078041618
- A decent head torch! Trust me the mornings and evening are darker than you may think and this could literall save your ankles, or your life! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Head-Torch-Headlamp-Resistant-Included/dp/B01MT38MXK
- Wireless earphones are great as they wont get in the way of that amazing arm drive you have! Here are my choice: https://www.beatsbydre.com/uk/earphones/powerbeats
The endorphin rush post-run is a real phenomenon and is healthy drug you should savour. Whatever your time or the distance covered, you should be proud and know that the run you’ve just been on has improved your physical and mental abilities.
Running should be a joy, not a demon we sometimes make up in our minds. Enjoy the process and look after your body & mind.