There’s a good chance you know someone who absolutely detests running. That may even be you.
The reasons why are convincing. Running makes you ‘dog tired’ and your legs hurt like hell when you’re finished. Plus, you sweat everywhere.
When you have to run, it feels like your chest is about to explode.
But there are a number of benefits that come from this activity, and you don’t have to run marathons either.
It makes you live longer.
This study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that just five to 10 minutes of low-intensity running per day was enough to reduce the risk of death from all causes (including cardiovascular disease), compared to never running at all. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the injury risks.
Still, the rewards that come from running are too great to ignore. Weight loss is another, but that’s obvious.
That’s why Black Men’s Health detailed the 3 significant benefits of running daily – whether you like doing it or not.
Running Can Prevent Cognitive Decline
Engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise can spur the growth of new blood vessels that nourish the brain, says David Linden, a neuroscience professor from Johns Hopkins University.
The long-term benefits of regular exercise, running included, can produce new brain cells through a process called neurogenesis. This activity can lead to improved brain performance while preventing cognitive decline.
Running Makes You Happier
It may not seem like it when you factor in the pain and exhaustion. But it’s true.
After a run, people often feel more relaxed and calmer. That’s due to the increased levels of endocannabinoids in the bloodstream, an effect that comes from exercise, said Linden.
Endocannabinoids are biochemically similar to cannabis but are naturally produced by the body.
Linden also added that exercise, including running, has “a dramatic antidepressive effect.” Exercising regularly “blunts the brain’s response to physical and emotional stress,” he said.
Plus, a 2018 study of over 8,000 runners found that 89% of them felt that running regularly made them happier. They said that it positively impacted their mental health and body image.
Running Improves Your Ability to Learn and Memorize Stuff
Daily aerobic exercises like running actually increase the size of the hippocampus, the region in the brain that plays a central role in memory and learning. As we age, our hippocampus can shrink which leads to dementia and depression.
This study showed that participants who engaged in regular exercise saw their hippocampal volume grow by 2%, which was enough to improve spatial memory and reverse age-related memory loss.
What’s more, studies like this one show why it’s a good idea to run before learning something. It found that participants who engaged in intense physical exercise like running were able to learn new vocabulary about 20% faster.