With clear skies and good weather, there has never been a better time to consider some outdoor cardiovascular exercise. Running is one of the more popular forms of cardio, and for good reason. Just ask any runner why they run — it is extremely beneficial to both their physical and mental health!
We know that running can seem like a daunting task, especially to those new to the sport. However, with the right attitude and pacing, running can be a fairly easy and engaging form of cardio to pick up.
Fun fact: There are more runners than bikers, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you include cardiovascular equipment such as treadmills, running easily becomes the second most popular form of exercise, behind walking.
Seriously, what’s stopping you from lacing up a good pair of running shoes and having a go? If you’re looking for some reasons to get up and go for a run, keep reading.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
While you can run on a treadmill at home or the gym, why spend that unnecessary money when you can just run outside, get some fresh air, and enjoy your surroundings?
It’s actually been proven that running outside has additional health benefits that running indoors on a treadmill simply cannot provide. While outside, your body can absorb vitamin D from the sun, and your mind will naturally ease, releasing a stress-release hormone known as cortisol.
You will also be able to participate in races if you choose to run outdoors. Most cities organize marathons, half-marathons, 10Ks, 5Ks, and “fun-runs.” These are great opportunities to push yourself and work toward a goal. If you’d like to read more about the various races, check out Michael Capiraso’s articles about running races on Medium.
Additionally, running on different types of terrain can help improve your overall endurance. In fact, many runners prefer to run in cold conditions, as they sweat less and their hearts don’t need to work as hard.
Meet New People
Running can open up a lot of cool opportunities to meet new people and get involved in a community. You can meet new people at various races, if you choose to participate, or join running groups so that you can run with others.
Running with a group will help you improve your own running as you will get tips and feedback from your peers, and you may even push yourself to run further while with the group.
Looking to run with a group? Check out the Road Runners Club of America to find a group of runners that you can join.
Running on a regular basis can result in some seriously awesome side effects, especially for your heart. Here are five ways running can improve your heart’s health:
- Running will lower your low-density lipoprotein and will increase your higher-density lipoprotein, which are the healthier ones.
- Your weight will become healthier, which will ease the workload off your heart. If you’re looking for potential ways to lose a few pounds, running is one of the best methods of doing this. Alternatively, if you are looking to gain some weight, running could kick your appetite into gear.
- Build up your heart muscles. Yes, running will strengthen your heart’s muscles, making it so your heart functions more efficiently.
- Minimize the workload of your heart. As mentioned earlier, running will help ease the workload off your heart. Runners’ hearts typically have a lower pulse at rest, and therefore can pump more blood per beat.
- Reduce risk for heart disease. Running will reduce your risk for heart disease, and by some margin too. According to medical experts, running can reduce your risk for heart disease by up to 55%.
We also recommend taking a look at this article for more information about how running is good for your heart.
Run For a Charity
Most races will be associated with a charity or cause, and fundraise for them. By participating in these events, you’ll be helping out that cause with the money you pay to enter the race.
What’s more, you can raise money and awareness about the charity by getting sponsorships from friends and family members. Who knows, you may even inspire people to race for the cause with you!
You don’t have to participate in running events to enjoy the benefits — even a few minutes of running a few times a week can provide you with many benefits, both for your mind and body. Remember to stay hydrated on your longer runs and invest in a good pair of running shoes!