What does it mean to be a runner

You’ve probably heard that exercise is medicine. Well, it’s not just a saying; it’s the truth. Running has health benefits well beyond any pill you can take.  Studies have shown that running can help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some cancers, and a host of other unpleasant conditions. Running also is well known for stress relief, better sleep, and allows for a lot of socializing with fellow runners. Running keeps you looking and feeling healthy mentally and physically.

Running is obviously physically healthy. Mostly well known for losing weight, running has a big influence on everyone’s life. Running can burn calories and help in weight loss. Another bonus is that when you run, the calorie burn continues after you stop. Studies have shown that regular exercise boosts or the “afterburn” increases the number of calories you burn just after a tough exercise. (Scientists call this EPOC, which stands for excess post oxygen consumption.) It's kind of like getting a paycheck even after you retire.

Running also strengthens your knees, joints and bones too. Studies show that running improves knee health, according to Boston University researcher David Felson in an interview with National Public Radio. “We know from many long-term studies that running doesn’t appear to cause much damage to the knees,” Felson said. “When we look at people with knee arthritis, we don’t find much of a previous history of running, and when we look at runners and follow them over time, we don’t find that their risk of developing osteoarthritis is any more than expected.”

As well as the body build ups running also reduces the risk for many diseases such as Cancer. How you might ask? Running burns off fat and decreases the amount of hormones your body produces. Being overweight and inactive increases the risk of cancers that use hormones to grow and spread, such as breast and uterine cancers (Cancer.net). Running also improves the functions of the immune system which is used to fight diseases such as Cancer.

Running doesn’t just have physical benefits, it also has mental health benefits. If you run constantly you already know about the "Runner's High" which as all runners have felt, is that rush of feel-good hormones known as endocannabinoids which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed. For this reason, docs recommend that people suffering from depression or anxiety (or those who are just feeling blue) have plenty of time to run. Running is also known to help with lack of sleep.

Many studies have been taken on adults who suffer from insomnia which is a sleep disorder which is characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. A clinical psychologist and sleep researcher at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Kelly Glazer Baron studied a small group of women (and one man) who had received diagnoses of insomnia. The volunteers were mostly in their 60s, and all were sedentary. She then assisnged the volunteers either to remain sedentary or to begin a mild exercise on a treadmill. The exercise consisting of  four 30-minute exercise sessions a week on a treadmill continued for 16 weeks. Amazingly at the end of the 16 weeks the volunteers in the exercise group said they were sleeping much more soundly than they had been at the start of the study. They slept, on average, about 45 minutes to an hour longer on most nights, waking up less often and an increase energy during the day. Some also reported a decrease in stress or depression.

Studies have also show that most people run better when paired up with a workout buddy. Just like a competition or race, nobody wants to look slow or get left in the dust. In fact, being part of a team is so powerful that it can actually raise athletes’ tolerances for pain. This also has been a major raise in Self-confidence for runners due to the happiness and pleasure of doing good in a race.

Running may take dedication, pain, and sorrow but its all worth that after you reach your goal. Losing the weight you never thought was achievable or setting a school record for the mile is a achievement you may never forget. You'll live a much longer, happier, and healthier life. People will look up to you and idolize you. The funny thing is you didn't take a magic pill, use enhancing drugs, or surgery; all you did was run.


Allen, Jennifer Van. "6 Ways Running Improves Your Health." Runner's World. The Starting Line, 21 June 2013. Web. 27 May 2015. Runners world has great facts on running benefits and is written by real runners and doctors only

Blackwin, Kelly. "7 Ways Exercise Relieves Stress." ACTIVE.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2015. Active is also a great website that shows the health benefits of running. This osurce written by real runners and doctors contains facts only and can teach basics for running faster and with ease

Avnet, Lily. "13 Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 27 May 2015. The Huffington Post is an American online news aggregator and blog. It contains news from all around the world and is a recommended site to learn about current events, and more specifically running effects.

"Physical Activity and Cancer Risk." Cancer.net. ASC, n.d. Web. 27 May 2015. Cancer.net is a website that educates everyone about every specific cancer and its causes. This article tells how to prevent specific cancers by running or how to live longer with cancer by running

Neighmond, Patti. "Put Those Shoes On: Running Won't Kill Your Knees." NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 27 May 2015. This is an actual intervioew to clear up the myth if "Running damages the knees"

Reynolds, Gretchen. "How Exercise Can Help Us Sleep Better." Well How Exercise Can Help Us Sleep Better Comments. New York Times, 21 Aug. 2013. Web. 27 May 2015. Another great experiment which shows how effective running is and how its the main treatment for insomnia.

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