Most people know that running is great for boosting overall fitness and losing weight - but they fail to recognize some of the lesser known benefits associated with this form of regular physical activity. Running not only makes you physically stronger, but it can improve your sex life, enhance your chances of starting a family, improve your performance at work, and even make you happier (particularly if you join in fun runs like the festival of running). Yet for all of these benefits - running can still hurt.
If you head off for a run after work today, then the chances are that you'll wake up tomorrow feeling stiff, sore, and inclined to spend more of your evenings sprawled on the sofa. The reason for this is that running is a high-impact exercise, in which every stride sends shudders of force up your ankles and shins into your delicate knees.
However, just because it hurts - doesn't mean it's not good for you - people still run when overcoming cancer! In fact, overcoming the pain with calf or knee compression sleeves, and pushing on through the discomfort can help you to fight off future injuries by strengthening the muscles and joints that lead to aching legs. Following, we'll address just some of the motivating factors and surprising reasons why you should be turning to your calf or knee compression sleeves, some fitness tech, and a pair of running shoes - instead of your favorite chair.
1. Running Makes You More Successful at Work
Running doesn't just make your muscles stronger so you can ignore those aching legs - it also helps you build your brainpower for more creativity, productivity, and efficiency at work. Scientists recently found that the same bodily processes responsible for helping to fuel the body during a run also help to improve learning and memory capabilities. A protein known as estrogen-related receptor gamma controls the way your body releases energy into the brain and muscles. The more you produce that protein through physical activity, the better you'll perform in marathons, and memory tests.
In the same vein, research conducted at Rhode Island College found that running exercise boosts concentration and creativity by enhancing brain activity for up to two hours following a workout. This means that hitting the streets first thing in the morning can be the best way to start your working day.
2. Running Improves Your Sex Life
It sounds odd, but running an extra lap, despite those aching legs, could help to keep you on track in the bedroom too. Part of this boost comes from one of the most obvious benefits of running - an increase in self-confidence thanks to an improved body image. However, studies have also found that running is great for upping your energy levels and removing the potential of erectile problems. Research by the Endocrine Society discovered that running can improve testosterone production in men, while lowering instances of hypogonadism. Libido in men can also increase thanks to weight loss, as a loss of abdominal fat means extra blood flow to all of the right areas.
If your plan is to start a family, studies have also shown that men who run long distances regularly can be more effective at reproducing. Scientists at Cambridge University discovered that those who ran faster were more likely to have higher sperm counts and stronger sex drives.
3. Running Makes You Happier
We all know the physical benefits of running, but the emotional benefits are regularly overlooked. If you're willing to strap on some calf or knee compression to bypass your aching legs, then you could find that a regular run keeps you smiling for longer, and helps you to avoid problems like stress, anxiety, and depression. According to researchers in Sweden, at the Karolinska Institute, aerobic exercise purges the blood of "kynurenine" - a substance that accumulates during times of stress, and has been linked to instances of depression.
If that's not enough to prove the emotional benefits of running, a review carried out at Harvard University also concluded that regular cardiovascular exercise can improve moods in those with moderate or mild depression. This is because running releases endorphins which work to alleviate low moods.
4. Runners Can Outrun Disease
One of the most impressive benefits of running - regardless of aching legs - is that regular cardiovascular activity makes you less likely to suffer from illnesses, infections, and viruses. Running helps to clear the lungs of airborne bacteria, while improving the movement of nutrients throughout your body - particularly if you're using calf or knee compression to aid circulation. Just make sure you don't over-train, as this can damage your immune system.
A paper published in 2009 actually found that running could help you fight off cancer. The Finnish study examined a group of 2,560 middle-aged men over the course of seventeen years, and found that the men who were most physically active were the least likely to develop cancer. Those who ran for thirty minutes a day exhibited a 50% reduction in the risk of premature death from cancer.
5. Runners Have Stronger Joints
If you're avoiding the track due to aching legs, then one of the most surprising benefits of running may be that it can actually improve the health of your joints. While you may need to be cautious, as joint related injuries are generally popular with runners - over time, runners will have a lower chance of experiencing osteoarthritis within their joints - thanks in part to the weight loss connected with regular activity.
With calf or knee compression to keep you stable, regular running will help to develop muscle and joint strength, reducing your chances of suffering from injuries, and ensuring that your body remains strong as you get older.
6. Runners Stay Younger for Longer
While there's no magical fountain of youth out there that will keep you shiny and new forever, running can certainly slow down the aging process and keep you feeling good for longer. The Archives of Internal Medicine even published a study that showed elderly people who jogged were half as likely to die prematurely than those who didn't run.
Beyond improvements in immune systems and heart health, the benefits of running also extend to healthier joints, fewer chances of neurological diseases, and a greater level of protection against infection.