Five Weird and Wacky Perks of Running

Most runners are well aware of the many health benefits of running. Some runners have experienced amazing, life-changing transformations. However, there are some less well-known, wacky and weird benefits that are worth exploring.

A runner smiles during a race because running is so beneficial.
A runner smiles during a race because running is so beneficial.

1.  Running is a Peeper Keeper

Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the eyes are two windows you want to be able to see out of well. According to a 2013 research article published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, people who run at least five miles a day have reduced the risk of developing cataracts by 41 percent. Since cataracts are the leading cause of age-related blindness, this is another good reason to run.

2. More Miles, More Memory

Running gets us going in more ways than one. Running revs the brain and gives it the power to grow fresh grey matter. Growth led to new brain cells, which also led to enhanced ability to recollect memories and perform cognitive tasks. Running is thought to also potentially block age-related mental deterioration, even for those who get started running later in life.

3. Running Away from Ailments

While there isn’t a cure for the common cold, and we are all still feeling the discomfort and worry relating to Covid, scientist and marathoner David Nieman published a paper in 2019 examining exercise and diet and the effects of both on immunity.

Moderate running improves immunity, fight inflammation, reduce risk of respiratory infections and the flu and lead to stronger antibody response. However, Nieman cautions that extreme endurance training can lead to decreased immunity until your body recovers. Regarding diet, eat plenty of berries.

4. Running is Sunning

Vitamin D regulates our calcium and phosphate, nutrients we need to keep teeth, bones, and muscles healthy. The sun is the best source of Vitamin D. With many of us spending most of our time indoors, we are lacking this essential vitamin. Running outside is a great way to get the necessary Vitamin D along with all the other benefits running offers. Scientists suggest 10-30 minutes of mid-day sun several times a week, which should be a snap if you are a runner.

5. Cancer Curve

The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine published an investigation of physical activity and cancer incidence. Runners had a lower risk of 26 different kinds of cancer.

Similar findings were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Researchers conducted a 17-year study observing the health of 2,560 men. Those who ran for 30 minutes a day had up to a 50 percent reduction in cancer. For people who do develop cancer, regular exercise is beneficial and reduces mortality. Overall, studies show that runners live longer.

These are just a few of the benefits of running that might not make it onto other lists. Chances are, you feel the benefits of running every time you run, even if you don’t know them all by name.

If you are interested in improving as a runner or looking for guidance in the Jacksonville area, contact one of our experienced coaches at Personal Running Solutions Jax.

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