Fitness Articles

Learn to Love Running

Meeting Your Goals Never Felt So Good

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If only there were two or three more hours in a day, then I’d be able to reach the bottom of my to-do list. But between children, work and juggling the needs of an elderly mother, there never seems to be enough time. And like many women, exercise is the first thing that gets pushed aside when I’m stretched to the limit—even if it’s exactly what I need the most to help me handle all the stress.

But I have to be realistic. My free time is limited, making a quick and easy fitness routine an absolute must. I was already walking 45 minutes each day so the next logical step was to simply pick up the pace and get done faster. I would start running.

I used to jog for fun when I was a teenager but that was decades ago. I knew my body had changed a lot in that time and I didn’t want to risk any injuries by simply jumping right in again.

Physical Benefits
Since running would be more intense than my regular fitness activities, I checked with my doctor to make sure it was safe for me to proceed. Am I ever glad I went! Besides giving me the green light, I learned so much from him that I couldn’t wait to lace up my brand new shoes. After shaking my hand and congratulating me on my goal, here is what he told me.

Running…
  • Fights the aging process by preventing the muscle and bone loss that often comes with age.
  • Reduces the risk of stroke, colon cancer and breast cancer.
  • Is a preventative treatment for people at high risk for developing osteoporosis or diabetes.
  • Reduces the risk of heart attacks by strengthening the heart, lowering blood pressure and keeping the arteries elastic and healthy. (An inactive person’s heart beats 36,000 more times each day—a sign that the heart isn't efficient.)
  • Raises levels of HDL, the “healthy” cholesterol.
  • Reduces the risk of blood clots.
  • Improves lung capacity and encourages the use of the other 50% of your lungs that don’t typically get used during normal activities and breathing.
  • Boosts the immune system by creating a higher concentration of white blood cells (lymphocytes) that attack disease.
  • Burns an average of 100 calories for every mile jogged, making it an efficient way to lose weight.
  • Significantly reduces mortality risk.
Psychological Benefits
Besides the physical, running has profound psychological effects as well, most notably the intense exhilaration and euphoria that many runners experience. This natural high (known as the "runner's high") comes from the release of endorphins, which pour into your system after exertion as nature’s way of preventing pain.
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • I don't like running but I will try for about a minute and that's it. I love to walk. - 12/9/2013 9:23:43 AM
  • I've always wanted to run but have never been able to. Now I am trying again....ran eight minutes last night with a 60 second break in the middle. I don't go very fast but once I can do 15 minutes I will work on speed...after that I will need to start using the incline on my treadmill because it is so hilly where I live - if I want to do this outside, hills are going to be part of it! - 9/3/2013 8:53:15 AM
  • I'm new to running. Training for a 5k in June - thru my health insurance. It's something that I've long to do... started and stopped a few times. Prayerfully, I'll catch on and stick to it. I look forward to the accomplishment of it all. Nothing beats a FAILURE but a TRY! Congrats to all who run and to those who try.

    - 4/17/2013 12:51:38 PM
  • I love my running started out could run for a minute than walk for 5. Now today I actually overtook other runners that was a milestone for me - 3/27/2013 6:00:32 PM
  • Thanks for the article, which taught me a few things.

    I transitioned from running on the treadmill to running outdoors with a group, and it's been fabulous. I'm now at a point where I can run 10 miles, and working out with the group has combined the best of social aspects with the best of solitude. - 2/11/2013 11:40:01 PM
  • i love running as well. I am not very good at it, and I cant run consistently for very long, but im great at the run/walk/run method.. I joined the Galloway Method of training in December and now the farthest I've run so far is 6 miles. I'm training for my first EVER half marathon in March. Also, Ive never run a 5k and my first 5k is Feb. 9th!!!! crazy, how far ive come! Good luck to everyone who is trying to run. you will love it, no matter how you do it! - 1/21/2013 2:28:38 PM
  • i started running 3weeks ago and i already feel the difference,it always changes my moods and clears my mind!!!i run every evening for the 30minutes except on weekends - 10/22/2012 6:14:56 AM
  • thank you for sharing... its true we have to make the time to workout...
    and i do love running but i cant seem to get past the two miles anymore at 4mph after slipping a disc...
    yeah i know.... it takes time but i am ready just not pushing hard enough...
    thanks again!!!!
    - 9/27/2012 7:29:04 PM
  • ABBYLYNN_1
    yay you! I just started yesterday and I cannot run very far at all yet but gotta start somewhere..good luck!..*S* - 5/17/2012 10:20:16 AM
  • I love running. I think it's so natural as far as exercise, and I love that (for me) it's solitary. Usually, I run on the treadmill - but outside is nice too.

    I did a 5km when I started, then a 10K, then a half marathon. I learned I hate races though... I like the solitary aspect of running, so running with a heard kind of defeated the purpose. - 3/18/2011 1:51:02 PM
  • Wow sparkpeople.com, good timing yet again. I've started on Sunday. I do a 5-min unit of running, 5 min walking, 5 min running... I try to go up 1 unit a week for the first month. My goal is to run 30 min straight some day. I am not giving myself a date as to when I have to achieve that, as this would stress me out, but I want to run at least twice a week no excuses! I did it on Sunday and Wednesday (2 units of 5 min) and the second time around I was much faster. Will see how it goes today... I am using runkeeper to track my progress (Username is Maruca) - 3/18/2011 5:22:28 AM
  • I have been working out for a while now and I have always HATED running! But here lately my husband has started running and so I have been trying to get into it! And today I finally reached my goal and ran 1mile without walking!! And I got the runner high that my husband talks about! I can't wait to run tomorrow now!! I'm so glad I read this on this same day!! - 3/17/2011 1:26:50 AM
  • Great article! Came at the right time too. I went out and did 2 miles today, 6 segments of running and 8 of walking. I actually enjoyed the running for the first time - I think because my legs are stronger and my lungs more fit, due to the aerobic DVDs I've been using. Thanks for detailing the benefits - this will motivate me to do it again and again! - 8/21/2010 6:50:04 PM
  • I like this "Problems and thoughts that might have been swirling around your mind disappear when you’re deep in the rhythm of your footsteps—you might even discover the perfect solution when you’re done with your workout". Sounds like a 2-in-1 shampoo - get a good therapy AND health benefits, too! - 6/17/2010 7:07:22 PM
  • Running & jogging are not synonymous. Jogging pounds my joints, but running does not. - 4/10/2009 12:40:35 AM
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