Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oh the Benefits of Running...

I'd like to start off with a simple question. Which one of these lovely folks would you like to be when you enter your twilight years?

Would you like to be in this man's shoes in the hospital facing a long list of complications?

Or would you like to be like this lovely couple, enjoying every moment of life?

Okay, I know that was cheesy, but my point is this: If you want a high quality of life in your later years, then you need to develop the right habits in your younger years and stick to them. I'm talking to everyone here, because everyone has later years ahead of them. It is a fact that most people who have good exercise habits in their later years developed them in their younger years and stuck to them.

In my schooling in the nursing program and in my job at the hospital, I have seen so many people in their 50's on their death beds with all sorts of health problems. If I were to interview each of them, I would be surprised if any of them could tell me that they have kept up a consistent, and well balanced exercise program for most of their lives.

So how can you ensure that you will still be out with your spouse and friends traveling the world, going golfing, shopping, skiing, etc.. when you hit your later years? Keep reading...

Just because I like you, I am going to tell you the secret. I would like to reveal to you what the fountain of youth is. Are you ready? RUNNING!!!

Do you have any idea just what running can do for you and your health? Well strap yourself down, cause your about to find out...

  • It lowers LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and triglyceride levels, and raises HDL (high-density lipoprotein) levels. Basically, it makes you less fat, sign me up please.

  • It lowers blood pressure and insulin resistance (which will help keep you from developing type 2 diabetes)

  • Greatly reduces the risk of congestive heart disease and failure

  • Increase's your libido

  • It helps lower stress, which does wonders for you and your body. Exercise is one of the top ways recommended by professionals to relieve stress.

  • It is a major anxiety reducer. Anxiety is often treated with medication, but many people choose to try exercise before resorting to prescription drugs. Running has an antidepressant effect on runners, reducing anxiety and increasing serotonin levels.

  • Runner's high!!! Running releases endorphins that make you feel good. Running can give you a feeling of happiness that lasts for hours.

  • Major confidence booster! You may notice that your clothes fit better and that your body is tighter.

  • It helps you reach goals. Finishing long runs or reaching goals builds confidence and helps you get used to success. Once you've reached the ultimate goal of finishing that race, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment you can't get from anywhere else.

  • Improves your Memory. Running can help your mind stay as sharp as your body. Running improves your ability to retain information as well as to perform problem-solving tasks.

  • It will help you decrease feelings of fatigue. It will make you feel more energetic. Being tired is one of the top reasons people choose to skip a run. This is a mistake, as running will actually have the opposite effect.

  • It helps you develop positive relationships. Runners who run with another person or in a group often make new friends and develop strong relationships with other runners which is very important for your long term health believe it or not. People live longer if they have strong social ties with others. People who run in groups help each other work out problems as well as reach physical goals.

  • It helps maintain the elasticity of the arteries which lowers your blood pressure. As a person runs, his or her arteries expand and contract more than usual, keeping the arteries elastic and the blood pressure low.

  • It helps maximize the lungs’ potential, as it keeps them strong and powerful. While deep breaths force the lungs to use more tissue, the 50% of normally unused lung potential is utilized.

  • It helps slow down the aging process.

  • It reduces the risk of stroke and breast cancer
Okay, I just need to put an end to this list so you can go on with your day, but the list truly is endless. These were just some of my favorite. When I think of what running can do for you, I always think of my 70 year old human anatomy teacher that used to come to school during the summer in his 5" long shorts and teach us like he was in his 20's.

He ran in many races, he ran to school a lot, and he even offered a certain amount of extra credit to students according to how much they could beat his time in a race that they would run in with him. This guy was as sharp as a tack and could probably have beaten me up. I want to be just like him when I get his age.

So lets all start the wonderful habit of running consistently, because I want to go skiing and hiking with you when I'm 90, not to your funeral.

There truly is a time when running transforms from a painful and dreaded torture into a wonderful and rewarding experience.

Running is not about who can run the furthest and the fastest. It is a place where we can escape our problems and enter into a world where we are invincible!!!


Kari said...

I go running at least three times a week and it still is complete torture every time, a necessity that must be endured. I know it's probably because I still have baby weight to lose, but still. It sucks.
I keep at it because of the health benefits, and how fast it helps me lose weight, and because I long to be a runner. But even when I was in shape, and went running, it was hard.

Devin said...

Keep it up Kari, as you do it more, you get in better shape, and it becomes easier. You can run farther, and longer. I run for a half hour every day (6 days a week) and it is getting easier and easier. I do belong to a gym that has awesome tv's attached to the treadmills, which totally takes your mind off the run and makes it 1000 times more enjoyable.

XLMIC said...

I want to be the second one! Yes! What I have found helpful for ME (now that I am pushing up on 50) is to focus on fitness as being fun…and as you said, an escape. It can feel like torture at times, but the little 30- to 60-minute snippet of 'torture' three or so times a week is WAY preferable to years of pain and discomfort brought on by a life that is not health-conscious.

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

love that runners high too!

Daniella @ Runner at Heart said...

I want to be the second one of course. I love to run so when I get to enjoy what I am doing and reap all those benefits it is the best of both worlds.

teenagetaste said...

This time last year I fell in love with running. It does wonders for the mind and the body! :]

indecisiveathlete said...

Love running! It is my favorite and I get so grumpy when I can't do it. I def want to be the old person that is still going strong at 90 and the helping decrease aging will be nice haha

iheartvegetables said...

Haha sometimes I don't feel like running, but things like this motivate me to keep going!

Darlene said...

Thanks for reminding me.

Courtney said...

Fun post! It's great to think about the long term benefits of exercise and running instead of just the day to day.

Rachel Page said...

You forget one more benefit, that is, improved sexual performance. I can personally vouch for this.

Devin said...

I did mention that it increases your sex drive, are you referring to something different?

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