Run For Your Life

By: alexis

There are different reasons why people engage in running or jogging. Some run for health reasons, which means that they see running as a way to get physically fit. Others are more specific in their goals and motivations on hitting the road. There are runners who engage in the activity to lose that excess weight. Still, others see running as a means to release stress and tension.
There is another group of runners who enjoy this form of sport for the simple fact that they find it leisurely. Running can actually be a leisurely way of spending time with family and friends, or a way of meeting new acquaintances, and even starting new relationships. For the more serious, running is for sports and competition. To compete with other runners or joggers in a race gives them their natural high.

Whatever the reason may be, running and jogging are definitely beneficial to a person's well-being. A person who is into regular jogging or engages in a running program is bound to be physically fit. Running burns fat and enables a person to lose more calories per minute as compared to other forms of cardiovascular exercise.

Running also helps prevent muscle and bone loss that naturally accompanies old age. The pressure that is created on the knees and legs during running actually help strengthen bones, muscles and ligaments ---- provided that one runs in a proper manner. Regular daily tasks such as sitting in front of the computer the whole day weakens the bones unlike when one goes for a run. Regular, high-intensity exercises have been proven to encourage human growth hormone, keeping our internal anatomy from getting old fast while helping us to look young and vibrant.

The ability to resist illness is another benefit that can be attributed to running or jogging. Amazingly, it reduces the risk of heart stroke and breast cancer that doctors have made it a point to include regular running as a treatment option for those patients with early signs of osteoporosis, diabetes, and hypertension. The risk of heart attack is greatly reduced by running which lowers blood pressure and maintains the elasticity of arteries.

Running also aids in raising HDL or good cholesterol, reducing the risk of blood clotting, and promotes 50% of lung function that is usually not being used. Also, the immune system gets that needed boost from running by producing a higher concentration of lymphocytes or white blood cells that is crucial in fighting illnesses.

The list of the rewards you can get from running does not end with improved health but extends to psychological benefits as well. As if the health benefits of having a regular jogging or running program is not enough, there are also mental or psychological advantages and rewards to be reaped from running such as building your self-esteem and self-confidence, gaining an effective tool for stress management, the attitude boost, and the runner's high.

Running allows the person to have a sense of pride, empowerment and freedom due to the knowledge that his/her body is at its best and capable of climbing the uphill or clearing the obstacles on the way. The confidence-building and improved self-image goes hand-in-hand with losing weight. Running builds confidence like few other individual sports can. It allows the runner to defeat trial after trial, growing stronger and more sure of themselves with each stroke and stride. It allows a runner to literally climb hills, overcome mountains, and clear obstacles. It provides a feeling of empowerment and freedom that comes with knowing that your legs and body are strong and capable. Confidence is even more a product of running for those who lose weight and gain a better self-image through running. Indeed, a day's jogging can greatly reduce stress levels and tension.

In spite of the great benefits attributed to running and jogging, one must not overlook the fact that caution is needed in everything. Too much running may cause a person to lose a lot of fluids in the body more than what he/she takes in. This will result to dehydration. Dehydration will not only cause a runner to slow down but can also cause muscle spasms in the legs due to the depletion of essential electrolytes in the body. Muscle spasm is the involuntary contraction of a muscles in the legs that is which can last for a few seconds or may extend to several minutes, and is often very painful. Sometimes, it is called “charley horse.” The muscle does not simply relax by a mere wishful thinking. Deep breathing and relaxation exercises may help the muscle to relax a bit. More often than not, people actually contract other muscles in response to the pain of a charley horse, which can make the duration of the muscle spasm longer. To counter dehydration, one must restore the proper balance of water in the body. Stay away from caffeine in coffee, sodas, and tea. Caffeine is a diuretic. It makes you urinate more frequently than you usually need to.

Before you engage in a running or jogging program, be sure to consult your doctor to check on the condition of your health, especially your heart. Make sure your limbs are properly stretched to avoid any muscle injuries. Drink lots of water or other fluids to avoid dehydration.

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